Instagram, I love you but you’re bringing me down.

Instagram, I love you but you’re bringing me down. What happened to you? Ever since you changed your algorithm, you haven’t been the same.

Whenever I go to my phone and see your bright pink logo I’m drawn to you, like a bee to a flower. But once your open and I begin scrolling through my feed, I feel that something is amiss. I used to spend many hours in your company, scrolling through beautiful photographs, being inspired by the creativity of my friends. Now as soon as I open you up, I become so disoriented, so appalled by the  busy interface, presented with photos that are hours and even days old, I immediately turn you off.

First lets talk about how you look. There is so much going on, I don’t know where to look. What happened to your sleek, simple layout that showcased the photographs you where designed to share? Why have you incorporated this ‘snapchat’ clone onto your interface? Where there really millions of Instagram users clamoring for this addition? I realize there is a big push to highlight video across social media. No, wait, let me correct myself, there is a big push by Facebook (your big brother), to prioritize video. It seems that simple photography is going the way of the written word; pushed aside in favor of the latest trend adopted by the pre-teen set. Because who doesn’t look better with a dog face or emojis plastered across their selfies?

Oh Instagram, how could you be enticed by the lure of video? You were designed to be a photo sharing platform. A place for photographers, both serious and amateur, to share their work. Isn’t finding inspiration from each other and connecting across the globe through our mutual love of this beautiful medium enough?

Because of you Instagram I have friends all over the globe. Some I have met in person, others I can only dream of meeting. Until that time comes, I assumed that we would always have you, Instagram, as our go-between. Now I’m not so sure.

The rise of toy photography as a photographic niche is due in large part to you! You made it possible for us toy photography nerds to find each other. By sharing our work, we encouraged others to follow. There was a sense of safety knowing that we adults were not alone, that there were others out there just like us, still playing with and photographing their toys. Instagram you made this community possible, you gave us an immeasurably valuable gift. I don’t want to lose what we’ve created playing on this lovely platform; but for the life of me, I can’t see a way out.

Instagram I love you, but you’re freaking me out.

In early June you initiated a new update; you said you wanted to curate my feed for me. I know you think you know me better than I know myself, but frankly I find that insulting. I know you mean well, I know you think you have my best interests at heart, but I can’t help but find your attitude over bearing and over protective.

My morning routine often began by scrolling through my feed, seeing what my friends on the other side of the world had posted while I slept. Now the thrill is gone when you present me with photos that were posted 12, 17 and 21 hours ago. Really? Is that what you think I want to see, yesterdays news? I know you told me that

“the order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.”

But what is this based on? How are you determining what I want to see? Is it based on my last 10 likes? My last three comments? Are you showing me the photos of the people who’s photos I value the most?

Considering how many times I find myself giving a particular photographers feed multiple likes, sometimes going back two weeks of missed photos, I can only think that you don’t know me as well as you think you do. I know you’re withholding photos from me, are you withholding my photos from my friends as well? The precipitous drop in likes, comments and new followers to my feed, suggests that you are.

Maybe I’m wrong, Maybe your right.

I know you think this new algorithm is going to keep me more engaged with you. At least thats what you told your friends the marketers and advertisers. But I have news for you, it doesn’t. I used to be able to scroll back to the photos I saw the day before and be pretty sure I saw everyones posts for the day. Now that you serve me a curated feed, I seem to only see a small percentage of the over 500 people I follow. Because I have to spend more energy hunting for the feeds I know I’m missing, hanging out with you Instagram resembles work, you’re not fun anymore. I grow frustrated easily, my time is limited, so I leave rather than stay. So much for your theory that I would hang out with you more.

Instagram, I love  you, but you’re bringing me down.

While you’re trying to impress your new friends, the marketers and advertisers, I think you should know, I’ve found someone else. My new friend G+ has been treating me very well and even my old friend Flickr, while not very flashy, has been showing off my photos to good advantage. I know they aren’t hip and cool like you; maybe you’re simply too good for me.

Its hard for me to turn my back on all the good times we’ve had together, but for my own peace of mind I’m going to take a break. I’ll keep checking in, hoping you’ll change back to your reverse-chronological order (or at the very least make it an option). I know you won’t miss me, because I’m only one of many core users, not an influencer, marketer or advertiser.

Instagram I hope we can part friends. We’ve been through so much together, so many changes; I feel like we grew up together! But this last change is too much for me. I hope it was worth it for you; I hope you got out of it what you where looking for. As we go our separate ways, I want you to know that I will always look back fondly on the five good years we had together.

~ Shelly (@xxsjc)

Feel free to leave your own comments about Instagram’s latest update below. 

PS – I will still occasionally post on Instagram, but I won’t be active their like I used to be. I’ve found a good social media home with the fine folks at G+. You can find me there, making new friends and continuing to grow a new toy photography community. Also my apologies to James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem for highjacking their lyrics to New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down. 

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6 years ago

Shelly, You have really nailed it. I feel the same way. My brother (@talking_tree) has invested many long hours and years into his community on Instagram and has a following over 150,000. Immediately after the most recent Instagram update his engagement hit a brick wall. It’s almost like they are forcing folks into using the new snapchat ripoff or lose engagement. We all knew this day was coming when Facebook purchased Instagram. Facebook has botched their own system. Facebook’s model has always been to charge the content creator for their work to be seen. Google on the other hand has… Read more »

6 years ago

You’re absolutely right Shelly! Welldone!

Four Bricks Tall
6 years ago
Reply to  Shelly

All the fun is gone indeed. I don’t even check IG every day anymore.

6 years ago

Excellent post Shelly. I only have rude words in my mind right now. I was active originally on Flickr. I liked it there and they liked me too, I got to their Explore from time to time, and they even endorsed me by picking one of my photos to their best-of lists. Then, nothing. It’s been two and a half years and I got nothing. It’s a bit of a luxury problem though, because I’ve had so much, but the silence is palpable. Instagram was an easy breezy fun place when I started a few years ago. I try not… Read more »

Brick Sailboat
6 years ago
Reply to  Shelly

Shelly, I’m sorry to hear about your breakup. I remember us talking platforms in the early days (OK, early days might be a stretch – it wasn’t that long ago!). To have a website or not – go where the people are – etc. I guess the discussion continues! I’m worried about Flickr – part of their slowdown is no doubt tied to the unfortunate downward spiral of their parent company, Yahoo. To top it off, Yahoo was just acquired by Verizon (officially by the start of 2017)…I’m not sure their gonna be a great cultivator of the arts. I… Read more »

6 years ago
Reply to  Brick Sailboat

There is an app called amino, which has loads of communities. The Bricks amino is a mix of inactive and ameturish content, and not much toy photography but there’s room for it!
Best part – it has a curated section, but posts are selected by actual humans, and there is still a chronological feed underneath the featured posts.

Doug Gary
6 years ago

Great piece and great pic, too, Shelly. You said it all and you said so well, as usual. Thank you. I really miss the ease of seeing the pics of those I follow. I also miss the frequency with which people saw and found my feed. The community has been sorely damaged. Let’s hope Instagram gets its act together.

6 years ago

A very good post Shelly! IG is like a timemachine that’s broken. Don’t know how much I miss but guess a lot. I’m going away a few days but will check up G+ when I get home
Hugs / Stefan

Leila @brickandmordor
6 years ago

Great post. Thankfully my IG feed doesn’t have ads yet, but there is something super lame about not seeing posts of people I’m following, and my posts not being seen. What’s the point? Is there an actual place to leave feedback/request stuff to the IG developers? As for G+, I created an account two years ago after your last rant, but haven’t done anything with it. Well, I did a few things, but quickly dropped it because I didn’t have time to manage yet another feed, and it was pretty confusing and overwhelming. (Three columns of STUFF on my G+… Read more »

6 years ago

Spot on, Shelly. It’s sad when people feel the need to tell us that they know us better than we know ourselves. At times it really does feel like work going through my feed because Insta has made it that way. Very sad. But I’m happy we’re connected on G+ and chats etc Oh and I reckon James would be ok board with this. He sounds like he knows what’s what.

Em @ snowingindoors
6 years ago

I totally agree, I had the same feeling about Flickr and I ended up leaving. I was gutted I’d made so many friends but the community aspect was being eaten away by all the changes and intrusive advertising.
I really hope that Instagram listen to feedback and rein in the changes they’re making. I have no problem with progress, but change for changes sake is ridiculous.

6 years ago

Well said Shelly..
I liked Instagram a lot, I still do. I was just hoping that this day wouldn’t come. I’ve been here for so many years, spent (invested) a lot of time and effort, so that I don’t want to go somewhere else. But then, maybe that’s what the Instagram is counting on..
Hope to see you back from time to time..
Oh, and, one more thing: break-up letters are out, you should’ve texted them :)

6 years ago

I tottaly agree with this, instagram change and not on good way
I follow 500 people more and now I lost them track

6 years ago

I completely share your concerns about the Instagram feed. Since the feed update I had very little motivation to check Instagram. I’ve never been fond of it and only joined because there was much more toy photography content there than on Flickr. But I managed to use it on a daily basis without too much frustration by using third party websites that allowed me to browse my feed on my laptop in a not too unpleasant way. Now I only check a few dozens pictures when I upload a photo or when I’m really bored and don’t know what to… Read more »

Foolish Lego
6 years ago

This is one of the reasons I’m not on social media that much (I’m only on twitter, and not that active)… i dislike the fact that other decide on your experience and there is nothing you can do about it when you dislike changes.

Foolish Lego
6 years ago
Reply to  Shelly

You’ve got a busy and engaged community over here already, so that’s already cool.
Thanks for following the comic, btw! New episodes are published every Tuesday and every Saturday… I don’t have a following system in place, but I will look into that and let you know!

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