First thoughts on Instagram

Instagram makes me feel the world is doomed.

I signed up as part of my daily light painting project. I expected to find some kind of stripped-down, mobile-friendly Flickr. It quickly became apparent that I was wrong. While it's become difficult to find an audience without resorting to it, Instagram has no respect for photography.

  • Portraits must be cropped to be shared...

  • ...even though the orientation is locked in portrait mode.

  • There's no fullscreen view, icons and social vectors are always apparent.

  • User engagement through captions and comments is ham-fisted and tiresome.

  • Most users are drifting through thousands of followed accounts.

  • These are just direct observations, otherwise I'm sure the list would go on.

This app does not care about art or communities. It's a deliberate scrolling machine. It fosters competition between creators. Users are not intended to question nor engage in anything really, but only to browse endlessly through somewhat eye-catching visuals, and become replete on the muffled echo of appreciation tingles.

The broad picture is, content barely matters for Instagram, because their prior concern is getting people hooked. The whole design speaks to it. This is one of the most violent cases I know of the overbearing weight of media. And I'm beginning to surrender.