MYSTERY: Instagram Founder Kevin Systrom Has Posted Only One Photo This Year

Kevin Systrom breaks his Instagram fast

Photo: Kevin Systrom, Instagram

Last week, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom accepted the award for Founder of the Year at the Crunchies in San Francisco.As he accepted it, dozens of people raised their iPhones and Androids to Instagram the moment.

But Systrom didn’t. In fact, he hadn’t posted a photo on Instagram all year.

He broke his monthlong photo fast last Saturday when he posted a picture celebrating the birthday of his girlfriend, Nicole Schuetz. That’s pretty sweet, if Systrom is making an exception for Schuetz.

He hasn’t posted a photo since. In the past, he’s typically posted a photo every two to three days.

So, what’s up? Why did he slow down?

We didn’t get a chance to ask Systrom about his photo abstinence at the Crunchies. A Facebook spokesperson suggested nothing was amiss, telling us that Systrom has been otherwise active on Instagram—for example, by liking and commenting on photos.

Since that’s a boring explanation, we’re left to come up with one on our own. Here are a few theories about why Systrom has been so silent:

  • Systrom may just want to understand what the Instagram experience is like for users who only view photos. Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann did something similar, when he deleted his account and started over to get a feel for what using the service was like for brand-new users.
  • Could Systrom be secretly testing something new—something he can’t share publicly with the world yet? That would be exciting, obviously. His photo blackout came right as Twitter was prepping and launching Vine, a service for sharing short video clips which some are saying could be the next Instagram.
  • Or maybe Systrom just got bored with Instagram. We’d understand that, too.

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