Instagram is getting old. While the social network that focuses on sharing pictures might only be four years old, that is plenty old in the tech world where a company has surpassed infancy after just a few months. However, a lot of discussion has been going on around Instagram for their growth, yet some have been wondering what that growth is actually doing for the photo-sharing network in the grand scheme of things.

Instagram is owned and operated by Facebook, though the company let’s Instagram operate freely without any over-the-top control or executive action. The company still has its own management team, and that team has been focused on ensuring that more users are staying active on Instagram. That’s why Instagram has introduced email notifications, which it is calling “Highlights.” The goal of ‘highlights’ is to let users know about what they have missed, without actually requiring them to get into the app, and get active in the traditional sense.


While it won’t allow anyone to interact with others on the social network without signing into their account on a mobile device, it will give them the chance to connect with a few users who haven’t been active, but really would like to be active. That though might be the biggest problem facing the company to this point. Instagram is having trouble getting the masses back involved with their network, despite the fact that user numbers continue to grow each quarter.

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That really lends something to the argument that it doesn’t matter as much about total number of users, or even monthly active users, given how quickly those figures can skew and change. It’s something that social networks like Instagram, and even Facebook have to think about, even as Twitter has appeared to be the biggest target of user-based criticism for their slow growth and depressing monthly active user counts.

If Instagram believes that they can get users back and re-engaged them with ‘highlights’ then it’s facing a long and challenging road over the course of the next year or two. Instagram isn’t the infant that it once was in the social networking world, so it will be interesting to see how the social network responds to the amount of challenge and friction that it receives. Especially given the fact that Instagram is going to have to compete with a recently upgraded Flickr, that is housing a significantly larger number of photos than it ever did before.