Thoughts on Instagram’s Latest Shift

Maybe you saw this petition circulating, maybe you haven’t. If you missed the news lately, a LOT of folks are enraged at Instagram for turning itself more into TikTok. And, to be fair, I and many others miss the days when Instagram shared photos and art over videos.

However, I have a lot of other thoughts on Instagram’s latest shift. So let’s share those thoughts here.

First, my opinion has shifted since my original Instagram account got hacked by a crypto-bro. If you asked me about this petition BEFORE the hack, my thoughts would be very different than they are now.

As of now, here are the bullet points I want to hit…

Instagram (and Facebook) Are In Crisis

Oh wow, what a shock, a company that’s losing members every day is trying desperately to change its platform by copying what the new big boys are doing.

Let’s face it – the most significant reason Instagram is changing its algorithm to favor videos is that people, especially young people whom these businesses want to cater to – are switching away.

And I don’t blame them! I left Facebook in 2019 because I saw what its algorithm did to radicalize the politics of older people, and its algorithm was draining my business. I left Facebook with the thought, “Screw it! Let the boomers wank among themselves and scream their politics into the void. I’m going other places to protect my art and space.”

Instagram had not been too big of a leap to make, though. Most people who followed my old Facebook page moved to Instagram to keep up with me. That, or they just fell out of touch because they didn’t use any other platform.

EVEN THOUGH MY BLOG IS FREE TO READ.

Excuse me, I had to get that off my chest.

But yes, Instagram was not an enormous change at the time. I had been using the platform since before my Facebook exodus, and just kept using it.

Then my Instagram account got hacked.

Thankfully I had backup accounts. And I was able to recover half of my old following within a week. (If you’re interested, I can write a post about that experience for anyone who might find themselves in a similar pickle in the future).

But that hack was a wake-up call. Up until then, I saw slow, if any, growth on my page.

And the wild thing is – when I reposted some art from the old account onto my new page – the posts on the new page got more traction!

This tells me that Instagram’s algorithm – however it’s structured now – does not care what time you post or what hashtags you use, or what your follower count is!

This revelation should not have taken me getting my old account hacked to come to this. But it did.

However, I did notice something else when I began posting on the new account, and that is…

Instagram REALLY Wants To Be TikTok Now

I think this is a stupid idea. Because if all apps look and operate the same way, then what would make customers want to use them? And if your answer is “well the people who use the apps make them different!” That’s wrong. The audience who uses TikTok wants TikTok functions. They deliberately use TikTok because it’s not Instagram.

Likewise, people use Instagram because it’s not TikTok. They use Instagram for the features that make it Instagram.

I got on Instagram way back in 2018 to post my art. Not videos. Instagram didn’t have the capability to handle videos at the time. So I posted photos of my sketchbook drawings, paintings, table set-ups at comic conventions, and photos of new books I made.

And guess what? People LOVE that stuff!

But now, Instagram is having an identity crisis. Why? I think it’s for a few reasons.

  1. Instagram wants to be a shopping network. Why else would they focus so hard on business features, making you buy ads, and showing you businesses you’re not following?
  2. Its parent company is freaking the f**k out. Turns out that pivoting really hard into the metaverse when the tech is not there yet is a really bad move. And so they’re trying to salvage themselves by making Instagram more like its competitor, TikTok, to draw in the crowd that left their bread-and-butter platform, Facebook.
  3. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” Which is exceptionally stupid and something a window-licking business major would say as part of their finals project. Again, if all apps looked and operated the same way, what would make a person want to use them?

So What Can Be Done?

Well, there IS that petition demanding that Instagram return to its old days of chronological feeds and photos. To be honest, I would LOVE it if Instagram did that. I think that would be more of a creative challenge than making videos.

Plus, not all artists want their faces on their profiles. For a lot of reasons. I learned this morning that deepfake porn is a thing, and – surprise surprise – the people who get deepfaked into porn are women who don’t consent to it. I DO have the concern that if more social media platforms are demanding people show their faces in videos, then deepfake programmers will start exploiting people more frequently. And knowing that Instagram’s parent company is vying for metaverse tech, it’s a hop, skip, and a jump to conclude, “Oh! Maybe this company wants Instagram to be more video-oriented to make face recognition and deepfaking easier in the metaverse!”

We already know that Mark Zuckerberg’s ethics are garbage. So I wouldn’t be surprised if this “face recognition into the metaverse” train of thought is something he wants to use and exploit for profit.

To that end, I can’t tell you what to do with your Instagram account. But here’s what I will do.

I’m Going to Slowly Transition Away from Instagram

What will I use as a substitute?

…What is this blog? Chopped liver?

I will be posting here more frequently. And if you miss posts here, I’m posting on Ko-Fi and Patreon, as well. I DO have a TikTok, but I don’t post on there as much as I post YouTube or Twitch streams.

I am sad and disappointed that it’s come to this with Instagram. And yet, who knows what will happen in the future?

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

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