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Why I Can't Trust Instagram Anymore

Not to be overly dramatic (which of course means I am)… but a little part of my heart broke with the last Instagram update. It’s right next to the part that broke when my brand of toothpaste decided to change flavors. It’s not unlike the mass broken-heartedness and public outcry caused by New Coke. C’mon people… marketers talk about brand loyalty like it’s the secret sauce to success. Every business wants loyal fans. Doesn’t it go both ways? What about fan loyalty? And user loyalty?

I’m sure that of the 10 million+ users on Instagram, there are equally as many reasons why people use it — whether it’s the community, the filters, etc. For me I will not lie, up to now it’s been iPhonography all the way. It was a way for me to dust off that art degree and create! What can I do with these images? How can use a filter or combination of filters to capture exactly what I want to express through pictures? Can I create a body of work that hangs together?

In a few short months, I dove in and was happily swimming around in the deep end. I have ongoing projects around certain techniques. Yes, with staged photo shoots sometimes. And certain filters and/or filter combinations.

The problem is… Instagram took away some filters. Gotham. And Apollo. And decided, seemingly unilaterally to “change” Early Bird!!!! Can you hear the artist’s disgust? Sure, the change may be subtle but for people to whom nuances are important, it’s enough. It’s enough to realize that I can’t trust that what is there today will be there tomorrow. I can’t trust that I’ll get the same effect that I got yesterday next week with the exact same filter.

Um… hello?!?!?!? So much for iPhonography. In the offline world of photography that would be like taking away someone’s camera or lens and saying, “Here use this one. We think it’s better.” WTH? I’m all for innovation and product improvement… but why couldn’t they add rather than taking away?

So much for a body of work that hangs together. So much for my creative process.

Am I whining? Maybe. So thank you, Mom Crunch for giving me the platform to vent. But I argue that this “incident” is a great example for what not to do with your brand — both personal and professional. Your community, your users, your followers count on you for a certain something — just like I counted on Instagram for a certain experience. What is your responsibility to your fans? How can you reciprocate their brand loyalty?

A few months ago, I shared why I loved Instagram. And why it was going to be tough for me to switch to another platform. Well, IG just gave me the golden ticket. It’s been fun, y’all. Thanks for all the fish. See ya on Streamzoo.

If you upgraded and regret it, here’s how to reinstall the old version. At least, for now.

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