If I worked as a qualitative social sentiment analyzer (social media person who reads tweets about a brand to judge people’s feelings), I’d tell Instagram to start buying friends fast.
Why is the formerly-hot photo platform so uncool right now? A bunch of things happened at once in photoland.
- Instagram pulled its Twitter Card, so you can’t see Instagram media inline in Twitter anymore.
Don’t underestimate the onerousness of clicking that link.It’s working to drive traffic to Instagram so those all-important future ads can get pageviews, but overall people from Twitter are consuming less Instagramy goodness.
- Twitter released its own pack of photo filters.
- Flickr released some awesome new app & got a ton of mysteriously well-timed media coverage.
- Facebook announced ads would be appearing in Instagram.
- Instagram updated its ToS to allow user’s photo content to be used as ads.
All this conspires to make Instagram worse than useless (the Twitter card thing), and more like a Facebook-style frenemy.
If Instagram is an important social network to you, you might overlook all this. If, like me, you aren’t social there & just use Instagram as an awesomely-curated photo stream, you’re wondering what the point of keeping up a stream is, especially one that’s destined to become social advertising.
As I write, Wired is publishing things like How To Download Your Instagram Photos & Kill Your Account, and people are wringing their hands over Instagram’s various transgressions.
I don’t really care about the ToS; every platform costs something. The worst, to me, is walling off from Twitter. I don’t even filter my photos in Instagram; I use Camera+. So besides the ever-dwindling ability to spot some nice shots among all the fingernail photos, Instagram has less and less value to me as the week goes on.
Before selling out, the next popular revenue-free social platform should ask its users if they’d pay for premium to keep the service they love as-is. Let’s look for a business model that isn’t about selling user’s content. I think people are ready for it.