Facebook Killed the Instagram Star

WTF, Instagram?

Written by Lord Lansdowne

When Facebook bought Instagram, the first thing they said was that they were not going to change it one bit. Well, they lied.

Although you had probably heard that Instagram had added video capabilities to their service, your first experience with one of the videos probably went something like this: suddenly, as you're scrolling, a photo animates, starring dressed-up teenage girls screaming "WE'RE HAVING FUN, DAMN IT, THIS VIDEO PROVES IT" and even before you found the volume button, you asked yourself, "WTF, Instagram?" (and not, possibly, why I am following teenage girls on Instagram).

The beauty of Instagram was that it was just photos, a guilty pleasure I quietly indulged while at lunch. And while I am surprised Facebook decided to add the feature to Instagram and not, say, to their own Facebook app, they already have millions of users sharing photographs, video was a natural extension. Those that will want to adopt video, will.

I also get that adding video to Instagram was a way for Facebook to compete with Vine, Twitter's video sharing service that's gained significant popularity.

Yet, the problem remains: Instagram was a place for photographic mementos, a captured moment. Photos sometimes just happen, while all the videos so far have felt forced. It's like giving airplane wings to a boat. Yes, airplane wings are very important, but in this case, the boat was fine just the way it was.

Threre's also the problem that Instagram can't remove this feature just because it 'breaks' Instagram's philosophy. You'd need an helluva backlash like when Instagram changed their rules on its users. And I'm certain that backlash won't be there, and this is why:

The reality, of course, is this: a lot of you take some really boring photographs and then you post them for the rest of us to see. Honestly, how many Starbucks cups have you photographed? Your feet? Yourself? Your car? (And yes, guilty as charged.) But we accept them as a part of Instagram and move on to the next photo, hoping for something a little more creative than what you're sipping right now.

Videos won't be much different. We will accept these animated moments of someone's life and even indulge listening to their agonizing voice while they do something remarkably dull. In a way, that's what Instagram has always been: a documentary of just how mundane some people are. Video will simply add sound and motion as you slurp your next Starbucks cup, changing nothing of what we already knew.