Is Adam Mosseri on the edge of a bad decision?

“Instagram is No Longer a Photo Sharing App.” What alternatives are out there? ©Heathcliff O’Malley
07/05/2021
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Many decisions in life are dictated by fear; few, dictated by love. Whether they are driven by data or driven by instinct, all decisions though will come at a price.

Instagram was born in April 2016, released as a Windows 10 Mobile app, after years of demand from Microsoft and the public to release an app for the platform.

In the constant struggle to remain relevant with the constant introduction of new features—all copycats of other apps—similar and confusing like the 15-second video sharing trying to compete with Vine, then expanded to 60 seconds; then IGTV, another similar video section of Instagram—same, same, but different—to then copy TikTok with “Reels” released in November 2019. All this to another video section or “Stories”.

Like all Facebook platforms, fighting furiously to stay “on the top” and poorly catering to the needs of all, becoming a confusing and frustrating babbling of algorithms, changes, new features copied from Snapchat, TikToc, YouTube, giving a general sense of disappointment to the users that bring life to the app.

Adam Mosseri says that the popular app is no longer a photo-sharing app, but will shift to entertainment, video, and shopping.

“We are no longer a photo-sharing app,” Mosseri says bluntly in a video posted to Twitter. “The number one reason people say they use Instagram, in research, is to be entertained.” Instagram will “lean in” to the entertainment trend and video. Mosseri says that TikTok and YouTube are “huge” competitors to Instagram, and notes that in order to stay relevant, the app must evolve. “And so people are looking to Instagram to be entertained, and there’s stiff competition, and there is more to do and we have to embrace that,” he continues. “And that means change.”

This is where I believe that Mosseri is wrong. Simplifying and creating their own path—instead of copying all apps into one—should be the way to go. 

Instagram was born as a platform to share photos and creativity. Yes, the addition of video—possibly only one all-encompassing video experience—is definitely the way to go, but disregarding still photography and amazing photo editors feels much like a slap in the face.

instagram logo old to new
Instagram was born as a camera, an instamatic camera that was their logo, perfectly describing what the app was all about.

Another change dictated in fear, and not in love of the Instagram platform and its users, is the testing that involves showing users more recommendations in feeds that may not be directly related to accounts that are specifically followed. This is absolutely not the way to go. Instagram is striving to be an inspirational platform and not another copycat of YouTube as PetaPixel noted “this shift would make Instagram theoretically function similarly to how YouTube manages its “home” page.”

Mosseri says that Instagram’s goals moving forward are to “embrace video more broadly” beyond its IGTV, Reels, and Stories integrations (here again the useless subdivision of video distribution). He says that Instagram wants to focus on more full-screen, immersive, “mobile-first” video experiences over the “square photo-sharing app” that it has been since it was founded, hence killing the very foundation of Instagram.

All these decisions—I would say “bad” decisions”—will come at a price, but no matter what, the infinite power of Facebook will come to aid and keep the new “Insta-Youtube-TikTok-Snapchat” app above the competitors.

There is are spectacular apps, free from algorithms, that are there just waiting for your creative masterpieces and be a pure form of inspiration like VERO (vero.co) with their claim to “support artists with the creative freedom to realize their vision” or 500px (500px.com) where forms of monetization are available.

Mosseri’s fear of the rise of TikTok has Instagram worried as it pivots to be more like its copy, and less like what Instagram should be.

Here some comments that you might have missed:


Bro, stop thinking that everyone wants to be an influencer or even follow influencers, and be “entertained” I just use ig primarily to connect with my friends and family, not to see only famous people. Stop trying to be like the other apps. Every update is getting worse and worse


You’re not TikTok, and people use Instagram BECAUSE it’s not TikTok. The problem with apps these days is they’re all trying to be like each other and driving people away. Y’all never learn or listen.


This sucks. We love pictures. And why won’t Instagram work on having real customer service? Do you realize how many spammers run free harassing us and how many of my friends have lost their accounts or had them hacked and can’t get them back?!?!


Instagram is NEVER going to have what Tiktok has in terms of video, algorithm, interactions, because you guys CONSISTENTLY undermine what made your app great in the first place. Just say Instagram hates photographers, illustrators, all non-video artists + regular users


 

Is Adam Mosseri on the edge of a bad decision
Is Adam Mosseri on the edge of a bad decision
Is Adam Mosseri on the edge of a bad decision

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