My slow goodbye to Instagram
13 Jan 2013
For the past two years or so I have been using Instagram. I am now leaving it. My way.
It is worth noting, both for the sake of accuracy and that of history, what I mean by "using Instagram". I do intend to have this entry up for a while, ideally until such a time when few people, if any, will remember it in the same way as they remember that singing kid in the late 80s who had a massive hit and then disappeared forever. We're all certain he grew up to be a healthy, well adjusted adult. But I digress.
Instagram was, and still is at the time of this writing, a collection of fairly different things:
- A piece of software on my mobile phone allowing me to take photographs in the space/time of a few taps, and edit them to a aesthetically pleasing result in record time
- A system that not only saves the resulting photos on the local device, but also uploads it automatically to a remote server.
- A URI broker for the photos uploaded on that remote server. When I take a photo with instagram, instagram immediately creates a URI for it, which means I can point at and talk about that photograph.
- A social network giving me access to the streams of photographs from anyone I deem interesting (mostly and not-so-coincidentally my friends already on other digital social networks); lightweight interactions around those photographs: likes and comments.
I loved instagram, not for any of those features in particular.
- Other applications I installed on my phone make it easier to take good photos, and take them fast.
- Other applications would be even more seamless in synchronising my photos and documents locally and remotely, and even on other devices I choose.
- As a URI broker it does the job, but ultimately I prefer crafting and managing my URIs myself - hence owning and hacking on my own site.
- And finally, there are and were so many digital social networks and applications vying for my attention, almost all of them offering a steady stream of updates from people I somehow care about and interactions in the form of snippets-based conversations and gratuitous morale-boosting reinforcement.
… But the combination of those four features was brilliant, and it was what made Instagram "work for me".
And yet I am leaving Instagram. Not so much because the company managing the service acted like foolish jerks in their belated quest for a viable model for their business. It was almost coincidental. It was time.
My decision was not motivated by anger. And it did not feel quite right to just delete my account, safe in the knowledge that unlike many other such services, Instagram had graciously let me access and backup all my data, through the years.
I could have let it fossilise. stop using it. Leave my content there. Read only. I chose to let it rust.
No more coating. No new content. I still use the application, albeit less often now that it has moved away from its prominent location in the "home screen". I still look at photos my friends take, but I have started unfollowing on instagram the people who double-post onto other services I also consult, such as Flickr. I let it rust. I make it rust. Every time I use the application to scroll through its visual stream, I take a few extra minutes to delete 5 or 10 of the photos I took in the past two years; at semi-random, but I tend to keep the photos that I, or that my contacts, liked a lot.
The sheen of always new is turning into the patina of old and curated. 140 photos remain, to this day. Soon it will be crumbling away to near nothingness. And then one day I will simply stop using it, cast away the application. Perhaps I might (try to) delete my account. Perhaps I will leave it there.
Les hasards de mon emploi du temps m'ont retrouvé à la maison un peu plus tôt que d'habitude. Et pour une fois, aux fourneaux à 18h30, à cuisiner à la fois une casserole d'Oden et une poêlée de spaghetti con gamberini e rucola, les mots doux de Jamie Oliver et Yuko Fujita étalés sur la table de la cuisine.
… À suivre
Helping explain photographic exposure and camera settings. By drawing a bucket.