Instagram Was Good Until It Wasn’t

Do you remember back when Instagram first came out? It was not social-focused like it is today. It was photo-focused. And I totally miss that.


A good start

I recall how at first, Instagram helped a thing called iPhoneography take off. Around 2011, smartphone cameras were getting seriously good enough, and at the same time being super convenient, that people started using them instead of traditional point-n-shoots.

Instagram was a wonderfully simple app. It did one thing and did it well: quick photography. There were three basic steps:

  1. Take photo
  2. Edit photo
  3. Share photo

Pretty simple, huh? But there were some special features about those basic steps that made all the difference.

First, you could take only square photos – gasp! How limiting! At first, I found this to be suboptimal, something I had to tolerate. But as I was “forced” to practice making 1:1 ratio pictures more and more, a change began to occur. I found the limitation, lets now call it focus, sparked my creativity. It made me think of framing photos differently than the 4:3 ratio I was used to on my “real” camera.

Second, the editing specialty was probably the biggest shiny thing it had going. You could use filters! Sometimes this seemed like a gimmick. But sometimes I found it to actually help photos look better. At the time, smartphone cameras were passable but not very good. Filters helped overcome this deficiency in picture quality, like a simple mask. Plus, they also spurred on creativity.

Third, sharing your snaps on Instagram to a feed dedicated to photography was, for any shutterbug, a sweet dream come true. Somehow, Instagram had just the right, simple mix of social features (comments, likes) without being a noisy soul-sucking Newsfeed like Facebook. And there were no ads!

A bad end

Like all social media, as Instagram grew, so did it rot.

Instagram seemed to flourish with photographers in the beginning. Beautiful pictures and love-of-photography, much like beloved Flickr or yore, were prominent.

But then came the Brands. And the selfies. And the celebrities. And the ads. And the self-promotion. And Stories. And, worst of all, the Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg. Then the guys who founded Instagram could take no more and left their creation. Need I say more?

Instagram promoted photography. Until it promoted celebrity.

Instagram was the new Flickr. Until it was the new MySpace for photos.

A bad trend

I’ve lamented the souring of Instagram. I’ve tried to enjoy it regardless. But it didn’t work out. I deleted my Instagram account in March. And I don’t miss it.

I’m not the only one put off by what became of the once cool photo sharing site.

I found this great Washington Post article about one of Instagram’s creators who became disillusioned with it and quit! Check it out:

Quitting Instagram: She’s one of the many disillusioned with social media. But she also helped create it.

Future focus

What will become of Instagram now? The recent F8 conference, where Facebook prognosticates itself, gave more details about Mark Zuckerberg’s so called “pivot to privacy.” And as a matter of course, Instagram will see some changes.

But will they really be for the better? One can hope, but it’d be a fool’s hope after all the years of Zuckerberg’s privacy violations. Maybe Flickr, in the hands of SmugMug, will be a better choice.

For now, I’m posting my photography to my blog here in the Gallery.


Do you still use Instagram? Do you like the photo aspect or the social aspect more? Comment below or write me. Thanks for reading!

11 thoughts on “Instagram Was Good Until It Wasn’t

  1. I still use it but find it very frustrating! I’m hoping they decide to change it so we can’t see how many likes people’s photos have. Hopefully that will aid its return to quality of photos rather than social following, etc… 🤞🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point, Liz! I saw chatter online that maybe photo like counts would be turned off or diminished in some way. That would certainly be interesting. I’m not sure how that would affect things. It’d be great if quality of photos rather than number of likes was what really mattered. People can even buy likes! Some are fake. Thanks for your comment, take care.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I believe they’re trialling is in Australia at the moment so hopefully something positive can come out of it! Likes are almost pointless in this day and age because you can buy them and people just hit the like button for the sake of it. Hopefully without that integrity and return to Instagram 🤞🏼

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I still use Instagram predominantly to promote my business. But other than that, I do not hang around Instagram much because it can be very distracting. But apart from that I think that some Instagramers really put out a lot of value and helpful content. So it always depends on what you are looking for.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I still use instagram for business purpose, and I’ve deleted my personal instagram for about a month now. Definitely not looking back. I do agree it depends on how you use it, but after weighing out the pros and cons, I decided that it doesn’t bring any values in my life. The funny thing is, I was so addicted to it, and I’ve tried many times to get away from it (deactivating, reactivating..and so on) I never succeeded. On my last attempt, before I deleted my account, I simply realised how good I feel when I’m not on it (I’m not comparing myself with others, or getting distracted throughout the day).

    I did end up creating another account just to stalk some people with great contents, that’s about it. Facebook is still deactivated at this point..and I’ve never felt better in my life !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve gone back and forth on my social media usage. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes not. I think I’ve deleted Facegram for the last time. I understand many people still like it and find good ways to use social media, although I wish more people would delete. Glad you are keeping it under your control instead of letting it control you! Sounds like you’re on the right track. Thanks for chatting with me. Take care!

      Like

    1. IG was a gem, then Google+ with photos began well and had promise and…yeah. Sad trombone. That’s when I owned a MacBook and used Aperture…again, sad.
      I just checked out Bokeh. My first impression is, wow! I will check it out more and might make a pledge! Great link share!

      Like

  4. I quit Instagram and Facebook at the same time over privacy concerns, and now I share photos on my blog instead. I do miss the early Instagram. Simple photo sharing and commenting was such a nice way to connect with people!

    Oh, and I backed Bokeh! It has good potential. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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