It's a bit of a chicken or the egg dilemma -- are we such a visual generation because of all the photography and photosharing apps available to us, or do these technologies exist because of our penchant for showing rather than telling? Either way, Instagram doesn't care, as the wildly popular editing and sharing app recently surpassed 400 million users, which is 80 million more than Twitter. Yikes. Much of this growth has taken place in the last nine months alone, when 100 million new Instagrammers joined the platform. So not only is Instagram growing, it's growing really, really quickly.
Much of this latest spike in user numbers comes from Instagram's concerted internationalization efforts. In a blog post announcing the milestone, the app noted, "Our community has evolved to be even more global, with more than 75 percent living outside of the U.S…Among the last 100 million to join, more than half live in Europe and Asia. The countries that added the most Instagrammers include Brazil, Japan and Indonesia." At only five years old, Instagram's rapid expansion has been consistently impressive, validating Facebook's decision to spend $1 billion acquiring it just 18 months after its launch.
Particularly promising is Instagram's appeal to younger demographics. Whereas parent company Facebook seems to be losing its popularity among teens, Instagram has no such problem, especially with younger reality shows (thanks, Kardashian-Jenner clan) making frequent use of the app. Snapchat, another highly visual platform, has also reported strong numbers, though nothing quite as impressive as Instagram (yet).
In spite of the notable marker, Papa Zuckerberg remains rather unimpressed. He's previously noted that "he doesn't think about a service as a real business until it gets to a billion users," which means that Facebook was apparently nothing more than a sneeze for the first several years of its existence, but hey -- baby steps, right? In any case, congratulations Instagram! May you continue making our lives look cooler than they are.