I keep toying with this article, and I am not quite sure if it is completely finished or not. The internet is littered with pro and negative articles on Instagram at the moment. Anyway, here are a few of my thoughts. The images I have added are completely unrelated and come from a recent shoot in Phuket. Enjoy, feel free to comment…
Instagram is being re-branded and will now be known as ‘Instagram from Facebook’. As Instagram is already owned by Facebook, I see little changing with the platform. By now, most photographers will have realised that the stakes have changed when making a post, and the visibility of each image is determined by an ever-changing algorithm. Chasing likes, fake profiles and influencers are all bringing the topic of Instagram to the boiling point. The question is, should you remain with IG, or look for something new?
Silicon Valley is portrayed as an industry run by geeks in jeans, who want to make the world a better place. In reality, the internet is run by large corporations with the mindset of a tobacco merchant. The internet can be harmful and addictive, affecting sleep, relationships and self-perception. However, it is a great tool for advertising. The longer you are on Instagram, the more money the corporation makes. It is clearly in Instagram’s interest to increase its addictive qualities.
Your Time = Their Profits!
I arrived late to Instagram, and my following is embarrassingly small. It takes a lot of effort to keep up with trending hashtags and to maintain a fresh and innovative feed. With the use of hashtags, groups such as National Geographic pick the best images to ‘feature’, if your photo is chosen by one of the popular pages, you can expect thousands of likes. Yet most of the time, it is these popular feeds you will be competing with. How do your photos stack up against a collection of images curated daily by a professional editor?
While It is hard to stand out on Instagram, it is high-quality feeds that make the platform worth viewing. As photographers, we can improve our own work, by viewing the best photos captured by other people. At the moment, Instagram remains one of the best places to do this.
There is a way fight against the addictive qualities of Instagram. I have recently deleted a host of social media applications from my phone. This has restricted the time I can spend on each platform, as I can only log on when I am at home on my desktop.
Secondly, I try to curate my feed. There is an incentive to follow thousands of people, in the hope that some of these will follow you back. However, it is impossible to actively engage with such a large community, and with a busy feed you often miss seeing the photos you are interested in. A well-curated feed consistently provides high-quality images, and takes a short amount of time to review. A smaller feed also provides greater opportunities for meaningful interaction, which is something that the algorithm (apparently) favours.
Instagram has its faults, but it is still the premier tool for connecting photographers. I am a remainer (but only just).
Take Care and Keep Clicking, Chris