You were mad enough when you thought Instagram was going to use your photos for ads, so it stands to reason that you might be a little ticked Instagram used them for a year-end roundup, right? Well, last week Facebook may have forced its little photo-sharing app to piss everyone off with a new terms of service policy, but today Instagram is celebrating its users with a Big Important End-of-Year post looking "at the history-making events that have defined this year" — at least as far as photo-filtered news days and the Facebook marketing team are concerned. But still, here are the top ten big-event photos of 2012, as highlighted by the official Instagram post:
1) Severe freezing in Europe (February) by @nicholaschallis
2) Independence Day (July, duh) by @eliotpierce
3) The Running of the Bulls (July) by @et__
4) The Olympics Opening Ceremony (July) by @aeongjoemirth
5) The final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour (September) by @sweetjohn
6) The World Series (October) by @digitalmarker
7) The annual trip to Mecca (October) by @eam503
8) Hurricane Sandy (October) by @jerseyboy422
9) Election night 2012 (November) by @pauloctavious
10) 300,000 protest government in Buenos Aries (November) by @edubasabe
Those are the "notable events of 2012," according to Instagram, and you'll notice that actual big news events of the calendar year are missing. This may have less to do with pissing off all the photographers who don't want Instagram shilling their work than with the reality of this year: Instagram isn't for news. The app was definitive during Sandy, sure. (There are at least five Instagram pictures we still remember vividly from that night.) But it gets used the most during holidays, as Thanksgiving showed us, and as Christmas (and its guns) showed us yesterday. If you somehow avoided everyone snapping pictures of their presents, their discarded wrapping paper, their cat, their cat playing in wrapping paper, their grandparents, and then, finally, their dinner this Christmas, we don't know how you did it.
But really this is a way for Facebook to rub it in Twitter's face that their service is better-fitted to look back in a year in the life. While most of us turn to Twitter during the newsiest times of the year, when it comes time to reflect on those moments Twitter is almost entirely useless. Most things on Twitter are lost in the ether a few days later — unless you want to dig up your entire past. So, after a $1 billion investment and without selling pictures for advertising, at least Instagram can use your pictures to make you feel as good (or bad) as you did about your Facebook Year in Review. You aren't mad, are you?