But it would be a serious strategic error to assume that Instagram is primarily about filters. Instagram is a massively successful photo-sharing social network that offers filters as a nice touch. Twitter implementing filters will probably hurt Instagram as much as Windows hurt OS X by introducing translucent window chrome in Vista.
Amen! It is easy to write this move off as a power tussle between facebook owned instagram and twitter. However, even if it is, it feels like twitter has released a sub par product, which does not help it in any fashion, given the recent spate of decisions it has made to move everything in-house.
However, this move is at odds with the very essence of twitter. 140 characters to represent what you're doing was powerful as a concept to design. Now, twitter is share everything, from here, and it is inching closer to becoming just like facebook, which makes twitter that much less useful to me.
Twitter explained filters and how to use them to the world on their blog post.
Poor UX - It is one thing for twitter to own its destiny (because let's face it - facebook no like twitter). However, you do so by releasing a great product. It takes 8 taps for a twitter user to post a twittergrammed picture. How does the user see other twittergrammed pictures? Well, there is no clear mechanism yet. instagram is successful because it is designed to make the process of taking, posting and seeing pictures easy and a little fun. twitter does not do any of that. It is almost a checklist move.
I am not predicting the "fall" of twitter. Far from it, this move is going to make them even more money, assuming they are looking at this content and making products to make money out of it. However, it has made twitter less useful for its users, which in the long term is bad!
On a related tangent, what twitter, instagram, facebook et al are doing , with these walled gardens of information that is being commercialized is a poor paradigm for the web, which started and ran as something that was meant for collaboration, for information sharing and for openness. We, the users of these products need to figure out what we want in the long term and reward people making those right choices.