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Instagram Co-Founder Thanks 100M Active Users For Company Success

By Joann Fan , Feb 27, 2013 09:23 AM EST
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Instagram launched in October 2010 and in just a little over two years, the photo-sharing site has hit 100 million users. This announcement comes just weeks after it began to release active user stats in response to claims that it is bleeding users (the result of a change in its Terms of Service that would allow the company to put ads on its site and to commandeer users' photos for commercial uses such as in ads).

According to a blog post by Instagram co-creator Kevin Systrom, the company's first office started with no insulation and two people working at rented desks. The first time he got a peek at Instagram's potential, Systrom said, was during a San Francisco Giants game against the Philadelphia Phillies. They used Instagram to check in and share the users' experiences — people are visual, and using pictures to connect users has been a winning combination.

And it is all about the connections people make with each other: Systrom mentions a couple who was introduced by a mutual friend over their shared interest in photography; they bonded over Instagram and began dating (they're still together). Mission Bicycle "has amassed nearly 50,000 followers as they share the photos from their daily work of making beautiful bicycles by hand," he wrote, and Sightglass Coffee shows photos from its harvesting fields in El Salvador and Ethiopia.

"Images have the ability to connect people from all backgrounds, languages and cultures," Systrom continued, "They connect us to aid workers halfway across the world in Sudan, to entrepreneurs in San Francisco and even to events in our own backyards." Rather than taking credit for Instagram's success, Systrom credits the users and the community for the company's success.

Conversely, Twitter hit its 200-millionth user last year, AllThingsD reports, but it accomplished that over the course of six years. Now, with Instagram growing steadily, the microblogging service is following suit, tweaking its interface to put more emphasis on photo- and video-streaming. It might work; Twitter probably regrets not buying out Instagram when it had the chance, but it's adapting.

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