How Instagram has changed
(and not for the better)
Initially Instagram was limited, beautifully limited — only people with iPhones could use it, you know- those people that cared to pay a premium for something that was beautiful and would deliver results. I can remember those days when my feed would deliver well composed, well exposed photos that made me smile. There was a real community and we would comment and follow because we wanted to. I even met people through our shared love of taking photos and exploring, ostensibly Instagramming.
I remember going on Instawalks or Instarides purely with the aim of creating an interesting series of photos to share with likeminded people on this lovely platform. The buzz of getting appreciation from these people I respected was great, it was a little cherry on the day… social currency that meant something.
Then came the opening to Android, a spread of various cameras of varying quality, but more essentially users that were perhaps less those that you’d consider to be creatives. Follow lots of filtered photos of beer, lots of all the less thoughtfully curated shots. Now I am not suggesting for a moment that every iPhone user is a fantastic photographer, many are not, but generally it’s fair to say they *tend* to care more about aesthetics.
The biggest regression in quality came as Facebook pushed IG out to its huge user base, so everyone you are friends with on FB wanted to be your friend on IG, it’d be impolite not to right? Wrong. If you want Instagram to be a curated space that delivers decent and interesting photos from all over the world the biggest single mistake you can make in curating your IG feed is accepting all the people you are friends with on Facebook as friends— you will quickly find your feed polluted with not-very-good-photos. Maybe that’s ok? Maybe seeing a repetition of what you see in Facebook is just fine? Maybe the crappy video was just a great addition that was needed because of Vine?
I’ve tried curating backwards, but IG doesn’t really want to give access to the tools I want to do this effectively and gets annoyed if I unfollow too quickly, to make things worse the network is jammed with not-very-good-photos. I wonder if it may be possible to reclaim my Instagram, or if it may be better to just kill it and quit?