Instagram Invite May Indicate Physical Printing Service

Instagram has sent out mysterious invitations for a December 12th event in New York City. Although the message to “share a moment” with Kevin Systrom and the rest of the Instagram team is veiled enough, there’s another layer of intrigue: the invitations are physical, printed on paper, and came through snail mail. Other versions of the invite were apparently actually printed on pieces of wood that were specifically cut to be ready to hang on a wall.

Instagram paper invitation
Image credit: TechCrunch

Instagram is a haven for hipsters, but it’s unlikely that Instagram went to the expense of printing up and mailing these items just because it’s ironically cool. However, it is entirely likely that this points to Instagram rolling out some kind of printing service so that its throngs of users can have physical copies of their filtered photos of food, feet (is that still a thing?), and friends.

There’s certainly a market for it. The digital revolution made it incredibly easy to take, save, edit, and share photos, but along the way most of us lost the knack for physically reproducing those photos and hanging them in our homes and offices. Ironically--and not in that annoying hipster way--many younger consumers who don’t remember a time before digital cameras have an affinity for those physical items. It’s refreshing to have something tangible in your hands, especially when it comes to photos of loved ones or cherished memories.

Instagram wood invitation
Image credit: TechCrunch

There are plenty of services that offer digital photo printing, but not all of them are worth the money, frankly. Further, printing at home is expensive, especially when you're trying to produce something of a sufficiently high quality. It’s more appealing for most consumers to just order prints and wait for them to arrive, whether through traditional USPS mail, or FedEx or UPS, or an Amazon drone copter.

But we’ll have to wait until December 12th to find out the full story.