Twitter and Facebook may be the behemoths of the social media world, but startups Instagram and Tumblr enjoyed a very agreeable year in 2012, give or take a few banana skins along the way.
Despite dark forebodings amongst some pundits that the social media bubble was set to burst (success stories always seems to attract prophets of doom), Instagram’s stratospheric rise since its humble 2010 launch is an inspiration for every forward-looking content manager, social media manager and community manager.
Instagram’s TOS disaster was just a wobble
The heart-stopping wobble induced by its change in terms of service in December has turned out to be nowhere near as bad or as enduring the as the New York Post story which broke it implied. AppStarts data does show a somewhat alarming dip in Instagram users in December, but it was entirely transient and rallied back to normal levels within days.
The bulk of 2012 turned out to be very promising for a startup initiated by such a tiny team. Following Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition in April, Instagram’s user numbers had sailed passed the 100 million mark by the fall. It’s set to be one of the first social media startups with a profitability plan very soon – not bad for a firm that hasn’t even reached its third birthday yet.
Tumblr’s road to commercial fame and fortune
Meanwhile, Tumblr has capitalized on its original quirky hipster leanings and addictive animated GIFs to build a very niche base into a now-huge community. Offerings that began as popular blogs (like “StuffHipstersHate”) have now attracted big book deals, a trend which suggests that Tumblr is well on course to convert its distinctive content into a decidedly commercial venture.
Today, its contributing artists have influenced pop culture visuals and contemporary fashion alike and some, like writer Kellie Oxford, found their careers hugely enhanced courtesy of Tumblr. 2012 saw the company introduce a range of monetization mechanisms along with its first analytics platform. It looks like CEO David Karp was right all along when he claimed Tumblr was an online talent pool and a means to franchise discovery, a brand which more and more people would happily to pay to be part of.