The new Instagram is not the old Instagram and it’s fine?

During my Summer vacation, I’ve saved a few articles in my reading list on the topic of Instagram, and this one by Taylor Lorenz really says everything there is to say about the changes happening on the app:

People think that bringing back the “old” Instagram design, or a chronological feed will somehow recapture the magic of using Instagram in 2014. It won’t. That time is gone and the internet and culture have irrevocably changed. Most importantly, how and what we want to share on the internet has changed. 

We don’t want to express ourselves the way we did in 2014. Our notions of social norms, privacy, and what constitutes entertaining content are different now. Reverting Instagram into some old format would make it harder for us to express ourselves and connect in modern ways.

Exactly. The same way food pics mostly disappeared from the main Instagram feed and are now being shared — I think — via Stories only, the old Instagram feed is probably a thing of the past too. Bringing it back would certainly make a lot of people happy, but for how long before users realise that it doesn’t really please them anymore?

I deleted my Instagram account in December 2019, but I understand the feeling: people are witnessing big changes in the app they used to love and are blaming these big changes for their newly found lack of passion for Instagram. There is definitely something there, and most users are mostly right about this. But I think the truth leans more towards the fact that these changes happened precisely because of a lack of passion from users in the first place. The way we use the app changed before the app itself. It’s a little like we can be saddened by the closure of a book shop, and complain about the way the city will never be the same without it while we never really bought anything there.

I also find it pretty rich that the most vocal users complaining about these changes are celebrities that were most popular when Instagram was the old Instagram: Kylie Jenner? Kim Kardashian? What is this? 2015? I know it’s completely different but it somehow reminds me of Steve Ballmer complaining about the lack of a keyboard on the new iPhone.

I keep thinking about a line from of my favourite songs ever, The Vent by Big K.R.I.T.:

The radio don’t play the shit I used to love, or maybe I’m just growing up.

Another article I saved on the same topic was from BuzzFeed, and this one is a real gem: Unfortunately, I Am Too Pretty To Quit Instagram, written by Steffi Cao, Kelsey Weekman, and Katie Notopoulos, where they brilliantly explain why people won’t quit Instagram despite the recent and upcoming changes coming to the app:

Every post is a “drop.” Everything is a “reveal.” And even if most of what we will consume is ads for Flat Tummy Tea and recycled TikToks, it doesn’t matter, because it was never about other people in the first place. The world needs to see my hot girl brunch, so I must soldier on. Instagram taps into a core narcissism that has become too socially acceptable — this ass is a product, and I will serve it with pride. Look at my hot friends. Look at my makeup. Look at my little outfits. Who the fuck are you people?

[…] we can’t let go of the idea that there’s an audience for us on our make-believe podiums.

This article was a true joy to read, highly recommended.