The other day I wanted to post a photo to Gizmodo’s Instagram account. I had to log all the way out of my personal account, dig up the password for Gizmodo’s account, log back in as Gizmodo and post the photo. It made me wonder: Why doesn’t Instagram make it as easy as Twitter to move between accounts?
Instagram’s lack of flexibility might be frustrating to me, but it’s financially detrimental to someone like Tunji Afonja, who works as a social media manager for celebrities and athletes like Meek Mill and Antonio Brown. He often has to post images directly to his client’s Instagram accounts, making him one of the app’s power users who might juggle dozens of accounts with tens of thousands of followers. “We are losing many hours of productivity due to the lack of multiple account management, in app reposting, and other power features,” he told me. “Personally, I was on pace to lose over 20,000 minutes of productivity over the next year.”
Afonja dreamed of something like Tweetdeck for Instagram, which would allow him to quickly swap between accounts throughout the day. The problem is that unlike Twitter, Instagram’s API restrictions don’t allow third parties to create apps like Tweetdeck. So he built a tool himself.
igSpeedster jailbreaks an iPhone and creates what’s essentially a plug-in into the app, allowing users to easily manage multiple Instagram accounts.
igSpeedster also fixes a bunch of other problems with Instagram. It provides a more detailed timestamp (Instagram only labels photos “8h” or “3d” or 5w” which is pretty darn silly) and allows you to copy and paste caption information (it’s ridiculous that you can’t do that!). It even has a feature that allows you to click links in profiles (again, why is this not part of Instagram already?) and makes saving images to your phone easier.
While the jailbreak solution isn’t ideal, Afonja hopes it will help to get Instagram’s attention HI INSTAGRAM, ARE YOU LISTENING? “At this point it seems Instagram is not focused on power users,” he says. “We really are building this to get the attention of Instagram execs to drive change.” After today’s update adding portrait and landscape orientation, and a previous fix to improve resolution, both of which were requested by users, it appears Instagram is paying attention.
And why wouldn’t they want to make life easier for their power users? I can’t think of another tech tool that’s so widely embraced by huge media corporations but clearly not catering to them. Imagine social media managers at some of Instagram’s biggest accounts who still have to poke around on their phones to upload photos, going through the same incredibly clunky process to log out of their personal and into their brand. Then back out again at the end of the work day. And back in the next day. It’s crazy!
It might seem like multiple account management and some of these other features are really just catering to power users, but I’d offer that even regular folk like myself would be much more likely to set up a second personal account if it was easier to switch back and forth. I’d considered setting up a private one for friends and family to see photos of my new baby, but once I realised what a pain it was, I opted for an iCloud Photo Stream instead. See what happened there, Instagram? That’s a lifetime of photos being shared elsewhere.