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Open letter to Instagram users: stop it, right now

Instagram has risen in popularity since its launch, but as more teens flock to the photo sharing site, behaviors are changing for the worse. We must insist that certain behaviors cease immediately.

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All hail the Instagram

It’s no secret that I love Instagram, and if you follow my personal account, you know my life is filled with domestic animals, foods, fabrics, travel, and shopping. You also know that since I finally caved and gave in to the almighty Instagram, that I use the photo sharing community every day and it feels a lot like Twitter in 2009 in that it is more private, smaller, and more intimate, but the network is experiencing rapid growth, even though it has been around for nearly three years, timed perfectly with the rise of the visual web.

We opined a while back that teens are leaving Facebook for Instagram for two primary reasons: laziness (preference of pictures over reading actual words), and privacy (their parents are now on Facebook, not Instagram). Because of this, much of the culture of Instagram is shifting toward teen behavior, and today we must insist that teen behavior be left to the kids.

What Instagram users must stop doing immediately

What is most appealing to Instagram is that each image is expected to be a photo taken by that specific person at the location and timestamp on the actual upload. What we must insist Instagram users stop doing is cheating. What do we mean by that?

First, we beg Instagram users as a whole to stop changing their location, even though Instagram lets you fudge the GPS and say you’re in Paris or at a club downtown.

Second, we beg Instagram users to stop finding pictures on the internet and sharing them – the joy of the community is that we’re all sharing pictures in real time of what we’re seeing and experiencing, and showing the unique nature of each of our lives.

Third, we beg Instagram users to stop acting like teens and posting funny quotes and internet memes on Instagram. Show us your neighborhood, your office, what you’re doing this afternoon, or anything that gives us insight into your life, rather than pandering for likes and follows by posting memes and unoriginal works – keep it original. It sounds cliche, but we must insist.

If these three things cease immediately, Instagram will be a better place for it, and maybe we will all be able to eek an extra year or two of utility out of the photo sharing community before it turns into MySpace circa 2010.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. LesleyWeberLambert

    December 12, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Amen.  I HATE the internet memes and stolen images.  No fun.  Boo.

    • AGBeat

      December 12, 2012 at 11:05 am

      @LesleyWeberLambert right? I see them and think, “gee, THAT is what you’re doing right now? I find it hard to believe you’re actually holding Tard the Grumpy Cat at this moment and he has letters hovering over him…”  -Lani

  2. ToddWaller

    December 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Because I was asked to, https://instagram.com/toddwaller

  3. beachtowne

    December 13, 2012 at 10:33 am

    A counterpoint: As a “digital native” Lani, I think you’re overlooking the very nature of the internet. Instagram was “built” by kids, and is still mostly dominated by kids. They don’t care what you think, anymore than the kids on 4chan do. You kind of sound like a senior citizen complaining about “the music, which is just noise.”
    I don’t do Instagram, but I am active on twitter and I find the memes/4chan/hax0r/anon/lolcats/bronies/1337 subcultures fascinating, and fun to learn about and observe.
    Kids on Instagram enjoy sharing things that they have found and enjoy, how is that so different than older people sharing pictures of their meals, travel and shopping? In case you have not noticed, most kids out there can’t afford fine dining, travel or high end shopping. And most of them consider this behavior to be passe and gauche. They may be on to something.

    • bobwilson

      December 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      @beachtowne spot on. described my kid’s actions and mindset to a tee.

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Social Media

Instagram flaunts new features, including a decked out desktop experience  

(SOCIAL MEDIA) It’s been a time of exciting product and feature announcements for Instagram with additions of Collabs, fundraisers, and desktop posts on deck

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Instagram displayed on a desktop

It’s been a time of exciting product and feature announcements for Instagram on both mobile and desktop.

Collabs Feature

“Collabs” allows up to 2 accounts to co-author a post or Reel, both sharing joint ownership of what is ultimately published. The post or Reel will show up equally on both users’ feeds with the same amount of engagement numbers, but combined, including comments, view numbers, and like counts. This is initiated through the tagging screen and the invited account will have to accept the offer before the collab can be complete.

Examples of adding a co-author in Instagram Collabs feature

Fundraiser & Reel Features

Instagram was quick to jump on the short-form content trends taking the social media world by storm. With the rise of TikTok, the Insta platform that was originally focused on static photos added Reels, along the same wavelength of short 15, 30, or 60-second videos, though the competitor has now expanded with the option of 3 minutes. Even so, Instagram is taking the time to improve music-related features within the Reels section of the app, adding “Superbeat” and “Dynamic.” The first adds effects to the video matching the beat of the chosen song, while the latter offers unique and interesting ways to display the song’s lyrics on screen. In addition, they are beginning to test the option to run fundraisers on a post by clicking the + button in the top right corner of the interface.

Examples of Dynamic for Reels feature

 Desktop Feature

FINALLY! Instagram is now realizing just how many users truly enjoy the desktop experience. If one were to compare the platform on the mobile app vs. desktop, they would see the slew of differences between the two with the desktop interface looking like the 1st year Instagram was even introduced. Functionality is no comparison; they only just added the ability to DM on desktop last year. As one can see, there is an extremely limited experience on desktop, but Instagram is now rolling out the ability for users to post from their browsers. Catch us enjoying posts on the big screen!

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Truth Social: Trump’s long-standing battle against Big Tech backfires

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Truth Social is an example of how a new platform, though necessary to keep competition alive, can prove to be fallible before it succeeds.

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Man holding iPhone with Truth Social app download page up, as well as the stock market and Trump in the background on computer screens.

Former President Donald J. Trump announced a new social media platform, dubbed “Truth Social” last week. The platform has since been the recipient of cyber attacks by hacker collective Anonymous and the Software Freedom Conservancy has accused the Trump Media and Technology Group of violating the terms of their software agreement.

The circumstances plaguing Truth Social provide a small (if nuanced) look into the rigors of creating and sustaining new social media platforms in the modern-day. While expanding the number of social media platforms available creates more competition, this platform, in particular, raises some questions about the wisdom of investing in a service that creates an ideological echo chamber, as well as demonstrating that not just anyone can run a social media site.

There’s no denying that this new entry into the world of social media is off to a rocky start. Cyberattacks just hours after Truth Social’s test run left the site in disarray, with fake user accounts for Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump appearing at various stages of the launch. Truth Social’s hosts eventually took it offline, and the sign-up process is halted for the time being.

Woman holding iPhone showing Truth Social's feed.

Truth Social also has some interesting rules regarding user interactions on their platform, including a non-disparagement clause and the assertion that users can be sued for the content they post, Time reports.

“In addition to terminating or suspending your account, we reserve the right to take appropriate legal action, including without limitation pursuing civil, criminal, and injunctive redress,” says one section of the Truth Social terms of use.

This clause is in stark contrast to the ethos behind Truth Social – a platform that, according to the press release, was “founded with a mission to give a voice to all” and “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.”

The disparity in messaging versus reality is an understandable mistake, as much of Trump’s mindset was most likely impacted by criticism levied against him on mainstream social media when he had his accounts – and anyone in the same position might reasonably make the same call. However, restricting users to agree with one set political ideology is a perilous precedent to set. Echo chambers aren’t particularly conducive to longevity.

iPhone showing Trump's suspended Twitter account.

The Trump Media and Technology Group also violated the terms of their open-source software of choice when they uploaded the pilot version of Truth Social. According to the licensing agreement associated with Mastodon – the software company TMTG used – users must have access to the source code for the product in question (in this case, Truth Social).

Since the initial users of Truth Social did not receive that access, the social media platform is at risk of permanently losing its rights to the code.

While some of these pitfalls feel proprietary to Trump insofar as his high-profile battle against social media is concerned, the truth is that any development of new social media entries will be messy and fraught with obstacles. Truth Social is just one example of how a new platform – something that is absolutely necessary to keep competition alive – can prove to be publicly fallible far before it ever succeeds.

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Instagram Collabs: New feature fosters the ability to co-author content

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Instagram is rolling out a few updates, including a new post format called Collabs, giving users a new way to co-author feed posts and reels.

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Instagram stock images of collab feature.

Instagram is rolling out a few updates, including a new post format that many can benefit from. Called Instagram Collabs, this latest feature gives users a new way to co-author feed posts and reels. This isn’t the first feature Instagram has rolled out to promote collaboration between users, but we think it will be a beneficial addition!

How to use Instagram Collabs

Using Collabs is very similar to how you tag someone on Instagram. You can start by choosing to create either a reels video or feed post. After recording your video or taking your photo like you normally would, you head over to the “Share” screen and select “Tag People”. On that screen, there is now an “Invite Collaborator” option!

By choosing to invite a collaborator, the account you add will be able to share your post to their profile grid and their followers. Additionally, the names of all the collaborators will appear in the feed post or reel header, but before their username shows up on your post, the collaborator will need to accept the collaborator invitation first.

Keep in mind, only public accounts can be tagged and there is a limit to how many tags you can use. You’re able to tag up to 20 accounts, including the number of tagged users and collaborators.

Instagram stock photo of how to use new feature, Collabs, with iPhones showing the sequence of how to add a co-author.

Benefits of Instagram Collabs

Collabs makes it quicker and easier for everyone to share content on the platform. From local artists working together on a project to businesses working with high-profile influencers to promote their brand, content is shared instantly. Gone are the days of screenshotting or using third-party apps to repost that same content on your profile.

Along with making sharing easier, the feature makes it clear and simple to give credit where it’s due – all authors are given credit. When it comes to branded sponsorships, instead of adding hashtags or brand tags that can become cluttered, along with the user, the names of brands are neatly displayed in the header. Before this feature, it was a little difficult to distinguish a regular tag from a business, but with Collabs, that is no more.

And last, but not least, collaborators will all share views, likes, and comments. By sharing engagement signals, content creators will be able to maximize their reach and businesses will have more transparency with their customers.

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