Why I love, but won't buy, the Instagram camera

Socialmatic/Promo image

I'm a huge fan of Instagram. I use it every day (@ChrisTackett) and think it is one of the most entertaining and addictive social networks, so it was no surprise my jaw dropped a bit last year when I first saw this design concept for an Instagram camera. Well, today I learned that Polaroid has joined forces with Socialmatic to turn it into a reality!

I should be thrilled, but to be honest, I'm conflicted. On one hand, I'm remembering what Jaymi previously noted, about how Instagram can lead to more consumerism due to the many accessories and photo products one can purchase and this is a perfect example. But on the other hand, INSTAGRAM CAMERA!

Socialmatic/Promo image

I really do love Instagram. I've written previously about why I think Instagram was worth Facebook's billion dollars. I've used it to cover Hurricane Sandy disaster relief, New York Fashion Week, World Environment Day and other events.

I also love the idea that someone can mock-up some pie-in-the-sky dream product design, throw it on the internet and in months or a year or so be unveiling a real life product to the world. And green or not, I still think the Instagram camera is a cool idea.

But despite all of that, I think the Instagram camera may have been a better ideas as a vaporware design concept than a real product.

Why?

Well, as Lloyd has written about a number of times, what makes a smart phone so useful is how many devices and tools it replaces. You can do so many things with an iPhone, for example, that you don't need to carry around (or even own) things we used to require, like a calculator, voice recorder, GPS, video camera, still camera, etc. As cool as it is, what the Instagram camera tries to do is return us to the idea of single-use gadgets. Instagram on my "old" iPhone4 works great. No, I can't print my photos using my iPhone 4, but the app within the phone model works well for what I need. iPhones aren't green in the sense that they still use a lot of rare earth metals and are hard to repair, but they are great at being multi-function devices.

"Living green" is not always easy, but a lot of the time it is not that hard. Know what you need, use what you have and recognize when things are not worth the money or environmental impact. This seems like one of those times.

What do you think?

Tags: Consumerism