The Problem With Instagram



In case you live in a part of the country that lost power yesterday (not unlikely - we had a bomb cyclone here and many people lost power), let me fill you in - Instagram went down for about 8 hours yesterday.

I do actually go days without posting to Instagram, but I was in the middle of uploading a photo when Instagram went down.  Lots of people on the internet freaked out and didn't know what to do with themselves (I know this because I visited Twitter to confirm that it was actually down).  Some took the opportunity to perhaps ponder how dependent we have become on social media.  What if Instagram went down forever?  Lots of insta-celebrities would be nobodies once again, and many modern bloggers would lose their main source of income.  But for someone like me, who has enjoyed writing for so long and has spent the last couple years trying to bring old school blogging back, when I contemplated Instagram being lost forever, I was most saddened by the thought of all those lost words, lost stories - not lost Instagram stories, but lost stories from my life.

And that has made me rethink how much writing effort I am putting in on Instagram.

Yesterday reminded me that Instagram is not bulletproof, and it's not my website.  It could go belly-up tomorrow, and all that insta-effort that countless people have put in will have been for nothing.  And maybe that can be said of any online effort, even blogs, but blogs seem somehow more sturdy.   The time spent here seems more sturdy somehow, more real, more thoughtful, than anything I've done on Instagram.  The form of media does shape the content.  And I do wonder if the "instant" in Instagram means I'm spending too much time on a platform that in the end doesn't encourage depth in the first place.

And despite the best efforts of some of the accounts I follow, it really doesn't encourage depth.  I follow some who write long, well thought-out posts on Instagram, but if I'm honest I don't often take time to read them through on that platform.  I really appreciate a good quote, but I'd like to hear the quote with some more expansive personal thoughts even more.  And I can enjoy pictures just as well on a blog as on an app.

All that to say, I want my blog to get the best of my writing, and I want blogland to get the best of my browsing time.  I'll still pop on Instagram some, but I'd like to be on there less.  There is alot of noise on Instagram.  I'd like to take my effort back to an online space that encourages slow reading, that encourages more thoughtful posts, and more thoughtful reading. A platform that despite all the "blogging is dead" alarmism, still feels pretty sturdy to me.

 (The gorgeous, winter wonderland aftermath of our bomb cyclone!)

Did Instagram go down for you yesterday?  

(Also, I fully recognize there are many other problems with Instagram, and many good things too, so if you have other thoughts, please share!)


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Bekah said...

I knew something had to be wrong with it, because REALLY popular people had zero likes on posts from hours before. Thankfully I was so busy working yesterday that I didn't really have a chance to be froze by it. But I say a hearty YES YES YES to everything you say here! (My post for tomorrow talks about my thoughts on much of these same things, and I'd written it before I read what you said.) Old school blogging FOR THE WIN!

Amanda said...

I have IG deleted from my phone at the moment, so I didn't notice it was down. And I don't personally spend too much time writing on there anyway, but I agree with you that blogging feels more real than IG or FB, more permanent. Semi-related, do you do chatbooks? You could always go through and print out your favorite IG photos and captions into a book. That way you have it if it ever goes down forever!

Natalie@She Builds Her Home said...

You bring up so many good points! I am on a social media fast right now and deleted the app all together for right now, so I had no idea! But I think you bring up so much to think about on how much we are really putting into a platform that at the end of the day isn't really ours! I think ever since instagram introduced stories, it seems like majority of the people I follow mostly only post stories, and rarely actual posts which cuts down on the meaningful content even more, I feel like!

Elizabeth said...

I didn't notice this post initially. I agree with you completely on wanting to save my best thoughts for my blog. It actually annoys me when people say they have an "Instagram blog." IG is supposed to be for quick snapshots of your life and it has turned into something completely different. Sometimes I store up some photos to use later, but I have to stop myself from trying to do something to get more "likes." It's turning into something ugly, that I think you touched on. And just like with Blogger, there are so many different accounts now that it's harder to find interesting people who are just in it for "old-fashioned" photo-sharing. :) I try to keep IG about images of life and my blog about my thoughts and plans. Also...my elbow hurts from scrolling through IG! Sometimes I have to enforce a fast just to let my joints recover. Cutting back is a good thing. But I have also discovered a lot of cool accounts lately. I just don't really depend on it for a high or social interaction.

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