The Urban Dictionary defines “hipsters” as “a subculture of men and women typically in their 20's and 30's that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter”.
Tight jeans, thick-rimmed glasses, shaggy or androgynous haircuts are a trademark of this mainly white grouping. Hipsters yearn to be “effortlessly cool”. The label has its origins in the jazz scene of the 1940s and in the ‘50s and ‘60s you might have called them “Bohemians” or “beatnicks”.
Why does this matter to a blog that’s about PR and media? It’s about Facebook buying Instagram.
Instagram is a free smartphone app that applies a filter to a user’s photo to make it look vintage, shadowy or a faded pastel colour. Yes, it’s that useful.
Instagram is like an extension of an arm for a hipster, smartphones being a pre-existing part of the same limb.
Many people are wondering why Facebook would pay a billion bucks for a company with no discernible revenue stream and barely more than a dozen employees. A company that still hasn’t worked out how to moneytize its service.
It’s about engagement.
Instagram has 31 million users. They upload an estimated five million photos a day. All of those users have email addresses and have given away snippets of information to use this free service.
In a digital economy information equals money.
You still have to wonder if Instagram users are somehow a premium commodity.
Thirty-one million people is a substantial customer base to build on in anyone’s language, but a back of the envelope calculation puts the value of each of those users at a tad over $33 each.
Even the dialect of Facebook - where they regularly deal in numbers with strings of multiple zeroes - that's a massive chunk of change to reach pretentious tossers in thick-rimmed glasses and ironic slogan T-shirts.