THIS is a large part of why I have been reorganizing my online presence to move away from IG and to micro.blog and Wordpress. In a nutshell, Instagram says they are not focused on their original founding principles anymore and have moved to a position that will focus on video and messaging, thus allowing them to compete with rivals like TikTok.
Understanding their reasons, and ultimately it is their company, this means it’s less interesting to me as a platform. I don’t intend to stop using it outright, it’s still valuable to me to stay in touch with my circles there, but it does mean I have a more compelling reason to focus on a “publish here, syndicate there” model than before.
In the end, we are all subject to the whims of the CEOs and the shareholders to whom they are in turn subject to. If they choose to change their focus, we either change with them, or get off at the next stop. I’ll change for now, at least in the way I use the platform, and it comes at an interesting time, as I’ve been making some changes for different reasons that turned out to be serendipitous.
Over the last few years I’ve made a determination as to what my online presence will look like, independent of the options presented to me by social media. It’s part of my personal movement to make more deliberate choices and exert agency over my life. I choose what I want to share, and I find an outlet to do so, rather than taking what is offered.
I don’t have any heartache at this point with these companies using “my data”, though I am careful to not include much in the way of truly original creation in the things that they own. That being, I am not a professional photographer, so I don’t really care what they use the snapshots I post for, but since I do consider myself something of a writer, I don’t share original compositions on platforms I don’t retain some degree of control over. I understand why photographers are pissed about recent changes, and many of them have moved over to twitter, but seriously, that’s no guarantee of a better an outcome. Twitter has struggled to find it’s place in the new landscape, and they are never more than a board meeting away from a similar shift.
Ultimately all these social media companies are looking for a way to make a profit for their shareholders, it’s the whole reason they exist, regardless of what their carefully drafted marketing materials say about “bringing the world closer together” etc, etc. In some cases this means extracting more information from the user base to resell, in others its harvesting data about trends and movements in the marketplace. The market being the users. It doesn’t really matter in the end.
This will always be the case, and the playing field requires constant review to stay abreast of, but we don’t own it, and we cant control it, so we do the best we can.