Instagram’s New Work-Around Makes it More Twitter-Friendly

When Twitter began cracking down on which third-party apps and clients it would allow to use its API, photo-sharing giant Instagram was left out in the cold.

Instagram used to let its users easily find their Twitter friends and mention their handles in their photos, but these features were discontinued when Twitter cut off its API.

This meant that new Instagram users could no longer add all their Twitter followers with one button. It also made sharing a photo to Twitter and "@mentioning" someone whose Twitter username was different from their Instagram username cumbersome. 

But leave it to fast-growing Instagram find a work-around to the problem. As of Oct. 19, for photos shared to Twitter, Instagram now translates @mentions for users whose Twitter username and Instagram username differ, according to its blog.

If the @mentioned user has connected Instagram to Twitter:

  • The user’s Instagram username will appear in the photo caption.

  • The user’s Twitter username will appear in the tweet.

If the @mentioned user has not connected Instagram to Twitter:

  • The user’s Instagram username will appear in the photo caption.

  • The @ sign will be removed from the username when shared to Twitter.

What does this mean for PR pros? Well, for one, it shows that Instagram isn't content being an insular, photo-network smartphone app—it wants its users names connected to and seen across Twitter. This is good news for brands and users that want to spread their Instagram photos far and wide.  

Moving forward, it's safe to assume that Facebook's integration with Instagram will be rather seamless, considering Facebook is its owner. However, there will probably be a few more scuffles between Instagram and Twitter, as the photo network tries to further tap into Twitter's user-base. For now, users can enjoy easily taking photos and using Twitter together.

Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg

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