Instagram and the Lost Empire of Images

I deleted my Instagram account last night.

I tell you this with some whiny hipsterism but I do so with valid reasons.

I have to say I’ve met a ton of really cool people on IG, digitally and IRL, and I got a rush out of people responding to my pictures, but for the last while I’ve been feeling cold about the process. I left because:

1. I was tired of people posting stupid pics. Last night I had three “sneak shots” in a row – the kind of pictures where someone posts a clandestine shot of some “hot” guy out in public. Not only is that a total invasion of sexual privacy, but it’s says a lot about the people I was following. What are you? Some construction worker on the side of the digital highway hooting and drooling over anything that walks past? Do you really have to overshare when you’re horny? Do you think I’m impressed that you saw a hot guy at the coffee shop? I SEE HOT GUYS EVERYWHERE – as do you! Stop being creepy about it!

2. People post pictures of their dicks; Instagram takes it down (#2 point in their Terms of Service: NO NUDES); people call their followers idiots for ratting them out and whine about the takedown. Seriously? You’re going to complain about a free service enforcing it’s rules on you? Seriously?!?

2. See this re: shots of food. Call me an egomaniac but I went on IG to see interesting and fun pictures. For the last month or so, not so much.

3. Same idea for self portraits. Handsome or not, you must have SOMETHING else you think is important or interesting other than you stuck in traffic making the Blue Steel face? No? Well then, we’re done here.

4. I’ve been neglecting other things… like “life”. I would post three times a day to even out my stats: morning, lunch and bedtime. Every 6 hours or so, that way my views were steady and people didn’t get “bored” of me posting 6-7 shots in a row (grrr…) At these times I would also look through my feed and find that an hour had gone by fast. As example, it took me close to 3 months to read Cloud Atlas where as I could have gone through it in 3 weeks. I was wasting *my* time.

And this final point, discovered when I hit the Delete button: Much like Facebook content, IG saves your pics when you ask to be deleted. And this line in the terms of service makes me feel like I’ve just provided Facebook with 1200+ images they can use for ads:

By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the Instagram Services, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content not shared publicly (“private”) will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Nothing is for free on the internet. And if it is, you should be wary of it.

I’m going to miss the energy I got from people liking what I did and said on IG, but I’ll be channeling it back into my own world, my own work and my own product. Here on DeadRobot Heavy Industries and Twitter*.

 

*yes. that was a joke.

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6 Comments

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  1. i never did bother with instagram, partly because the name annoyed me, but i just posted a food shot to flickr. while i appreciate some of the mcsweeney’s output, they do have a tendency to sneer at an awful lot of harmless or morally neutral activities simply because they seem to think that the wrong people are appreciating them, or appreciating them in the wrong way. this broadly overlaps with the usual complaints one sees online about the mythical creature known as the hipster – those odd animals that do and enjoy things that are entertaining and yet problematic because we’re afraid we might get lumped in with them, those awful hipsters, when a set of judgemental others pops up to dismiss all unsanctioned amusements.

    it often seems like some segments of our society cannot progress beyond schoolyard taunting. they have been cowed into avoiding racist, sexist and homophobic slurs, humourless ‘jokes’ about the disabled and the elderly are frowned on in decent circles, and all that those who would cling to tribal separations have to use as their weapons are blunt, hamhanded critiques about sandwich toppings, clothing styles and music genres. the passions we have are now the prime targets for sad, joyless idiots who can’t actually take pleasure in anything without looking back over their shoulders at their peer group to make absolutely sure that their cohort is in exact lockstep agreement.

    i’d find this sad if i didn’t find humans repulsive in nearly every way. i apologise for the derail, and the tangent i took was related to only a small part of your post. unfortunately, i’ve been seeing more and more of this divisive behaviour on some of the sites i visit, leading me to visit them less frequently. remember when being cool wasn’t a goal for most of the people on the internet?

    also, fuck you for making me search for the meaning of blue steel face. i saw about eight minutes of zoolander and it was shit, the kind of shit that i will rail about on the internet in hopes of making all its fans feel bad about themselves.

    1. I’m still making interesting content here and on Flickr and Twitter (I hope it’s interesting…)

      Doesn’t the fact that IG/Facebook has control over those fantastic drawings you made make you a little nervous?

      1. You make a good point. I feel less and less comfortable with posting artwork anywhere online actually.
        I have a whole sketchbook of portraits I’ve done this year that I’m not even bothering to scan.

  2. To steal a quote from the co-dependent character played by Carrie Fisher in “When Harry Met Sally”, You’re right, you’re right, I know you’re right.

    I wonder about those sneaky-pic guys (I’ve never seen a female do this) and how their lives might be different if they actually talked to the people who catch their eye rather than snap pictures of them from the shadows. I would feel totally violated if I were attractive and someone sneaky-pic’d me.

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