So…let’s talk about Instagram, including the LATEST December 20, 2012 advertising policy retraction. I’m sure that you knew I was going to blog about this. I hope that my words and thoughts resonate with you and generate discussion as the social media arena works its way through this bump in Instagram’s road.
I am pretty sure that I heard the social media world come to a screeching halt when Instagram’s announcement about the updates were made.
However, many people already deleted their accounts in, what I consider to be, a premature knee-jerk reaction. Instagram made a statement and made it clear to us. Two days later, they responded by saying that they were going to address users’ concerns and clarify confusion. They sent a signal that they were definitely listening. Isn’t that the way social media, and communication in general, should work? Yes, they are a business. Yes, they are monstrous. Let’s also remember that Instagram is only just over two years old. The business is a baby (even though they are now owned by Facebook) and they are learning. They are learning how to push the envelope and they are figuring out how far is too far. I think that the Instagram team is learning a very large lesson here.
I don’t think that Instagram tried to do anything sneaky, as a lot of people are claiming. They are a business. They want to monetize. We all knew that they were going to make money at some point, right? We use their free app. We use their free filters. They store and share our photos for free. That is not a lucrative business plan. I’m sure that the co-founders of Instagram did not create the app based on the idea that it would be volunteer work. Of course they want to make money. HOW they make money is a different story, though.
Instagram never promised to be free forever. They either have to generate revenue off of our photos, off of advertising, or off of our money. I think that there would have been outrage with any suggested alterations simply because people don’t like change. We’ve seen this happen many times when social networks have made noticeable progression. Either the social network backs down and works to appease its users, as I strongly think that Instagram is doing, or people get used to the change.
January 16, 2013 is somewhat far away when it comes to social media, which is when the new policies will become effective. There is a lot of time for users to think about what they want to do going forward and I genuinely don’t see any cause for alarm. Instagram listened to the users and has reverted to its original terms of service for advertising. People might still be angry with the whole issue but, as far as I’m concerned, this is the way things now work in the online space. Changes will be proposed, people will react and then the business can decide its next course of action.