Instagram: Already Over a Million Pics?

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If you’ve been following me on Twitter or Facebook, you must have seen me tweeting links to vintage-looking pics of places, people and things I find interesting during my day. These photos are coming to you courtesy of an iPhone app called Instagram. The app caught my eye long before it launched, and thanks to its visually engaging nature, it wasn’t that difficult to predict quick success.

According to several published reports, Instagram now has over 200,000 members. On Silicon Valley-centric Q&A service Quora, when someone asked if more than 750,000 pictures have been uploaded to Instagram, co-founder Kevin Systrom said that the “true figure is far north of that.” According to a report in the New York Times, the service has been seeing about a photo uploaded to its service every second.

My own enthusiasm for the app aside, the two-man company based in San Francisco has its work cut out for it. For now, the service has the tinge of an early-adopter hit, as reflected by the popularity amongst SF-based bloggers, news media and a demographic generically known as hipster. But there’s potential for this app to become something larger — perhaps a visually driven social network.

In many ways it’s the right product at the right time; wireless broadband is booming and smartphones like iPhones (and iPod touches) are everywhere. More importantly, as a society we are feeling a tad nostalgic. The success of Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire are but two signs of the national wistfulness for lost eras. Instagram is riding that wave; can it stay on?

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