Chill out, what you yelling for?
Unlike the title of the song I pulled that opening lyric from, it’s not complicated.
Instagram hates photographers I’m convinced
— Inari NOT Briana . (@inaribriana) July 12, 2022
Instagram just doesn’t care about photographers. It’s not that Instagram hates photographers. It’s just that we aren’t an important part of their current business model. Yes, they started as a photography social network, but they’ve been telling us (both directly and indirectly) for about two years at this point that photography is not their focus. If you get my weekly messages you know that I’ve been talking about this for quite a while. I wrote about it here in January 2021.
Instagram is an advertising-based business, and to show (and sell) more ads, they need you to spend more time in the app. That won’t happen with still photography, so they’ve pivoted to video (to keep you there longer) and to shopping features (where they can more directly show you advertising).
If you’re looking to share and interact with great photography from other folks who value photography, the time to do that on Instagram has passed. I’m a big fan of Glass, which launched about a year ago and just announced that it’s expanding beyond folks with Apple IDs in about three weeks.
If you really want to do the Instagram thing, with the brand interactions, following along with the IG influencers and such, well… you have to play the game. It’s Instagram’s game. They make the rules. Right now, that means you need to be producing Reels and Stories. In the future, it might mean something entirely different. They will update their algorithms and features based on how they can make the most money.
I’m still on Instagram, but I’m honest about what it is. I don’t have any expectation that Instagram will cater to my needs.
Do you think that Instagram hates photographers, or have you embraced it for what it is (and isn’t)?