Instagram reaches 100 million active users

Instagram, the photo-sharing social network, has reached 100 million active users.

The company now surpasses 100 million users each month, marking another huge milestone for the two-and-a-half year old company, milestones that include being downloaded more than 1 million times the day it was released for Android and being sold to Facebook for $1 Billion in cash and stock in April 2012 in what is the largest acquisition to date.

The 100-million mark announcement comes at a good time for the social network, as news outlets including the NY Post had recently reported that users were abandoning the service in large numbers after the company announced changes to the terms of service in December that led many to believe the company was giving itself the ability to sell user photos to third-party companies, a charge Instagram denied. According to the Huffington Post, the 100 million mark means that the company has seen an 11.1 percent increase in active users in 40 days.

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systom announced the news with a blog post on Tuesday. In the post, he tells the story of realizing during a 2010 NLCS baseball game in San Francisco why Instagram would be huge. Systrom and co-founder Mike Krieger, at the time the company’s only employees, could hear the sounds of the game while working from their office. Curious about how the game was going, the pair turned to the service they had created to see if it would give them a glimpse and of what was happening at the stadium.

“With a few quick commands at his terminal, my co-founder Mike’s screen filled with images of the game: the bullpen, dugout, concession stands, cheering fans and a panoramic view from somewhere up high,” he wrote. “In a matter of hours, the people in that stadium had recorded moments in time through Instagram and allowed us to tune into an event while we sat a half a mile away, working—winter coats and all.”

With the experience, Systom says he realized the human desire that a photo-sharing service like Instagram could address.

“We understood the power of images to connect people to what was happening in the world around them.”

Systom addressed the impact Instagram could have for small businesses, mentioning an independent bicycle manufacturer that had gained more than 50,000 followers by posting photos of their hand-made work, and a local coffee business that posts photos from their farm grounds in El Salvador and Ethiopia.

The 100 million mark means that Instagram is now more popular than ever. Small businesses seeking new ways to find new customers may want to explore making an Instagram channel part of their online community.

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