Is Instagram repeating its own mistakes and moving towards its end?

Feb 7, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Is Instagram repeating its own mistakes and moving towards its end?

Feb 7, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Have you ever heard of an app called Burbn? It has nothing to do with real bourbon, but it used to be the name of one of the most popular apps today: Instagram. They started off as an app for location check-in and developed in a direction that brought them worldwide popularity and millions of users. But are they still moving in right direction? This video from DigitalRev gives a short overview and predictions about the future of Instagram. What do you think? Is Instagram still moving in right direction?

YouTube video

In 2009 Burbn, the predecessor of Instagram was quite a different app. They offered image and location sharing, check-in, making plans etc. But the founders realized people used it mainly to share photos, so in 2010 they decided to switch focus. Instead of having an app that offers too many things, it came down to just one: photo sharing. Combining the words “instant photo” and “telegram” gave the name all of us know well: Instagram.

Unlike Burbn, Instagram took off instantly. In the first few hours after release, it gained almost 10,000 users and the sudden popularity crashed the system. Over the next days at weeks, the word of the new app spread like a forest fire, and the number of users kept on rising.

But what made Instagram so popular? Why did it stand out from the competition? Well, first of all, it focused on one thing – and did it right. It was all about photo sharing, and it was made fast and easy. Then, you could follow anyone: your friends, celebrities, people from all over the world. Something like Twitter with photos. Another key to Instagram’s success is that they started off just when phone photography started to be viable. And of course, there are the popular filters for photo enhancement. They were in the right place at the right time and did the right thing.

Many celebrities made Instagram profiles, which brought plenty more users to the app. One single image – Beyonce’s maternity photo – has over 9 million likes. Justin Bieber had 50 million followers before deleting his account. Those are some big numbers.

However, in April 2012, Facebook stepped in. They bought out Instagram for $1 billion, and at the time it was still a start-up employing only thirteen people. Facebook being Facebook, they began the efforts to monetize the company. That’s when ads and boosted posts began popping out in everyone’s feed.

After Facebook failed to buy out Snapchat in 2016, Instagram suddenly got some very familiar features. And we know Facebook likes to copy get inspired by features of other social networks. As the number of Instagram posts fell between 2013 and 2015, and Snapchat rose in popularity, all of a sudden Instagram got a feature of “Stories”. Now it seems they fell into the same trap as they did when they were still called Burbn – they are again offering too many things to too many people.

Ever since my friends started making profiles on Instagram, they started talking me into doing the same. They would say “It’s a network for you, it’s about photography”. I tried it out, realized I already spent too much time on social networks, and closed the account. I reopened it relatively recently, and I was surprised how much it has changed. I think this network came from being a photography sharing community, to being a big bunch of ads and a playground for targeted marketing strategies. And I hate the direction in which they are moving. What about you? Do you still use Instagram? Do you think it will survive?

[Instagram Is Repeating Its Own Mistakes! | DigitalRev In-Focus]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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15 responses to “Is Instagram repeating its own mistakes and moving towards its end?”

  1. Aaron Mello Avatar
    Aaron Mello

    It is becoming overwhelmed with bots: irrelevant comments, emojis, follow then unfollow multiple times. I’m just a small essentially hobbyist photographer under a personal brand but even building a decent following is proving difficult.

    1. @sauvedp Avatar
      @sauvedp

      This. And it’s funny how many mostly new users I talk to are completely oblivious to this. They think all the likes and comments they get are legit. They tell me I’ve ruined their IG experience once I disclose the truth because all they see now is spam. But that confidence they got before “knowing” is what kept them posting and that’s why IG will never do anything about it. Sucks. And if you use Instagress, you suck. For me, I now use it as a repository of shot breakdowns for myself to reference at a later time or… if some legit viewer happens to come across it, he or she can hopefully get some value from those breakdowns.

      1. Aaron Mello Avatar
        Aaron Mello

        It’s hard to get genuine engagement, followers without using hashtags, it’s a catch-22. I put 30 relevant tags on all my photos but just get bombarded with nonsense. I’ll average 5-6 new followers with each picture but within a day or 2, those have now unfollowed. Part of me wants to just ditch the app all together.

  2. Nazmi Ahmad Avatar
    Nazmi Ahmad

    I’ve used instagram before it was bought by FB. Now it’s slowly becoming FB 2.0

    1. Duane Emmerson Avatar
      Duane Emmerson

      I have to agree with you, some of the content leaves a bit to be desired.

    2. Dunja0712 Avatar
      Dunja0712

      FB 2.0 -> exactly. :)

  3. tree hugger Avatar
    tree hugger

    Instagram’s new features slowed Snapchat’s growth, so from that perspective, it’s heading in the right direction.

  4. Niklas Möller Avatar
    Niklas Möller

    I’m using it but not a lot. In my opinion it is as you said: Getting a sales platform kind of. Although there are still a lot of great pictures (because that’s what gives you interaction on your posts) and that’s why I stay there for now. But it’s true… ads are coming in and really getting annoying.

    1. Dunja0712 Avatar
      Dunja0712

      I was really surprised by the change when I returned to Instagram. I also don’t use it a lot, and even when I do, I quickly get annoyed by the ads, sponsored posts and “people you may know”. Totally like Facebook.

      1. Aaron Mello Avatar
        Aaron Mello

        The “people you know” really is JUST like Facebook – it’s people I’ve X’d out multiple times, people I don’t want to associate with or just are not interested in. The “based on likes” is a totally flawed system, how is someones personal page of their kids, dogs, etc similar to photos I’ve liked of actual composed photography?

  5. Ricky Avatar
    Ricky

    Great article, and I agree 100%, I’m growing very frustrated with social media like Instagram and Facebook, you can’t turn a page without it trying to advertise or push some new gimmick at us. Just like Twitter, I’m starting to see this once great idea starting to fade.

  6. Margaritas Ante Porcos Avatar
    Margaritas Ante Porcos

    Instagram is clogged with too many distracting features, bots and sponsored posts. Things we loved about instagram few years ago are still there but overwhelmed by even more things we don’t like and don’t need. And it doesn’t feel like it’s connecting people anymore. It’s all about making even more money for Mark Zuckerberg.

  7. Lisbona.photo Avatar
    Lisbona.photo

    im having the problem that way to much photographers use Botservices, why i cannot take my comment section serious.
    Its really bothering me.

  8. Kryn Sporry Avatar
    Kryn Sporry

    Not sure what to think of the article. It seemed fine right up to the last paragraph where the author in one paragraph states what’s wrong with Instagram, and it seems rather spiteful.
    Now as for Instagram, I think they’ll stay. The reduction of users may be due to the increase in users of tencent’s WeChat. If so then that doesn’t mean instagram becomes less popular, it means something else becomes more popular.
    Another consideration may be that the instagram generation has grown up. As we age, gimmicky social platforms simply stop being interesting.

    1. Dunja0712 Avatar
      Dunja0712

      I tried not to be nasty, but I suppose I didn’t find the right tone (sometimes it’s difficult when using a second language). :) Anyway, I still do use Instagram (although very rarely), but the mixture of Snapchat and Facebook was really an unpleasant surprise when I reopened the account. It’s just a personal opinion, as I am not really a fan of Snapchat, and Facebook annoys me with all the ads.

      And it has something to do with growing up, you said it well. When we were younger, Instagram was “the thing”. I think kids today use Snapchat more, so Instagram implemented their features to attract younger generation. It’s probably good for them, but I don’t know if that’s good in the long run. We’ll see, I’m curious to follow their further development when today’s kids reach our age and some new social network replaces Snapchat. :)