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April 14, 2024

Twitter to enter the world of photo filters

By Catie Paul | November 15, 2012

Have you ever wished that you could both filter and share images on Twitter? According to employees, Twitter plans to introduce its own filter technology in the coming months, which will allow users to share altered images without relying on popular photo-sharing sites like Instagram.

Now that all smartphones come equipped with cameras, photos are extremely easy for anyone to take at a moment’s notice. As people take more and more photos, they want to share them with friends and family, or send them as part of a message. The result is a growth in popularity of photo-sharing sites, such as Flickr, Facebook and Instagram.

Twitter has made its fame by providing a venue for users to share up to 140-character snippets of their thoughts; in fact, the company has grown so large that it now processes nearly a billion of these missives every two days.

The site is also very popular among advertisers because it allows companies to reach people through their smartphones. Twitter’s growing use and popularity has pushed them to try to stay in competition with other social networking sites.

Earlier this year, Facebook purchased Instagram for $715 million, a drop from the original price of $1 billion due to the decline in Facebook’s stock. Instagram was founded in 2010 by two Stanford University graduates as a way to stay connected with friends using a photograph format.

The Instagram app can be downloaded for free from iTunes and Google Play. Its popular filters that alter images currently make the photos look as if they’ve been taken with 1960s Kodachrome or 1890s sepia tone film. After adding the desired effect, a user can post the photo to Facebook, Twitter or Flickr, and can check in on Foursquare.

After the Instagram purchase, Twitter also wanted to get in on the craze. The search started for a way to provide photo filters unique to Twitter’s platform.

For a while, Twitter considered purchasing their own photo-sharing network. Eventually, however, executives decided that the cost to purchase such a site wouldn’t be worth the services it would provide.

It would be more cost-effective to simply build their own filters. The goal was to remove the intermediary step of uploading the photos to Instagram and then transferring them.

Twitter refers to some of its users, generally celebrities or media personalities, as V.I.T.s, or Very Important Tweeters. According to sources inside Twitter, many V.I.T.s indicated that they would be happy to see the addition of filters to the site where they already have a large following.

Sophomore Burcu Atay, an avid Tweeter and Instagram user, agrees that Twitter’s new features would change her user experience with the social media sites. “It’s hard to go back and forth through the applications,” she said.

However, Atay’s willingness to abandon Instagram entirely would depend on the quality of Twitter’s filters. She has a preference for the darker filters, and would only switch over if she believed Twitter would produce better shots.

While Twitter may have decided to create its own filters, the actual storage of photos is carried out by Photobucket, a company they signed a deal with in June. Nevertheless, Twitter has begun to store images on its own servers as well.

Twitter has also been contemplating other tools to add to its site, such as a video-editing and uploading ability. This would keep users from having to go through third-party services like YouTube.


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