Death of Instagram

The two co-founders (who made Instagram the great platform it is today) have just left (apparently over disagreements with Facebook).

What does that mean for us photographers? Let us start to build our own platforms!


1. Renaissance of photography blogging

If you upload your photos to Instagram or Facebook (Facebook owns Instagram, and thus you can consider Insta-Book as the same thing) — you are already “photo-blogging”.

A blog is simply a web log (weBLOG) of your activities on the internet. In the early days of blogging, it was just like having a public diary on the internet. You shared what you did that day, your reflections of the day, photos you shot, things you experienced, etc. In the early days of blogging (and photo-blogging), it was mostly for yourself– you did it as a way to consolidate memories, to reflect, to highlight the happiest parts of your day, etc.

Then when social media came along, with likes, comments, followers, etc– it started to morph into some strange popularity contest. I still remember in college, your popularity and “worth” was determined by how many “friends” you had on Facebook. Now– our self-worth is quantified via how many followers we have on Instagram.

If you are uploading photos to Insta-Book, you are already photo blogging. So — why not just do it to your own website, blog, or platform?

2. Create your own (open source) blog

WordPress.org (the open source framework) is the best blogging platform. You can blog about your day by writing, uploading videos, audio, photos, whatever.

What are the benefits of blogging via wordpress.org? Simple:

  1. You own the platform, information, and content– which means you can easily archive, access, backup, download, share, or delete your content.
  2. You don’t have annoying advertisements all around your photos, audio, video, text, content, etc.
  3. You are an owner, not a social media slave. If you have a large following on Insta-Book, you are a slave to the platform (digital share-cropper).

3. What does a crack dealer and social media platform have in common?

“Don’t get high off your own supply.”

I don’t think Insta-Book (Instagram + Facebook) is going away anytime soon.

This is the funny thing– all my friends who I know who work at Facebook barely use the product themselves. They use Facebook messenger, but never really check their news feeds. They like to use Instagram, but don’t really post too much.

In hip hop and rap music, there is a concept of “not getting high off your own supply”. This means, if you are a crack dealer, you don’t smoke crack– you just sell it. You make the big bucks, but you don’t use your own product– because obviously, you will become addicted and probably die from it.

So this is what I think social media, Facebook+Instagram is — a crack dealer. And what does crack do to us? Make us insanely addicted and dependent on the substance (for social media– the substance is external social validation, and “crowd-sourcing” our self-esteem). I’m sure if you did an MRI inside the brain of a social media-user and a crack-user, you might get similar brain-signals/hormone-dependencies.

Of course, this analogy isn’t 100% fair. Social media won’t kill you, crack cocaine will. But perhaps too much dependence on social media will kill your soul– your artistic soul, and will kill your self-esteem. If you depend on others to augment your self-esteem via likes, followers, comments, etc– you become a slave to the opinion of others.

The solution? Cultivate your own self-esteem from within yourself. Easiest way to do this is deleting Instagram and Facebook– or just stop using it.

4. Who doesn’t use social media?

This is what I’ve found fascinating–

Look at what successful people DON’T do, or DON’T use.

For example, Elon Musk doesn’t wear a watch (all the pseudo-rich and insecure folks wear expensive watches). Steve Jobs didn’t let his kids use technology or iPads at home. JAY-Z, Kanye West, Dr. Dre (biggest rap moguls) don’t have an Instagram or social media — or use it.

Really really rich people don’t wear fancy brand-named clothes– they prefer their privacy.

Lots of smart tech folks are stopping to use Gmail or Google products. I wonder what they know that the rest of us don’t know?

5. Be an owner

“Until you own yourself you can’t be free. Until you own yourself, you can’t be me.” – JAY-Z

Don’t be a slave, be an owner.

If you use a “free” product, you’re the product. You’re the slave.

Let us become the new owners in this brave new digital world. Let us control our content– by creating our own photo blogs, platforms, and websites. Practical tools:

  • Photo blogging platform: wordpress.org
  • Website domain hosting: bluehost.com or 1and1.com
  • Laptops and files over cloud-based devices.

6. Listen to yourself

This is all my opinion. You own your own opinion.

You can dictate however you live your life, and whatever products you decide to use. But I want you to challenge yourself–

Why do I use social media, and could I thrive MORE by not using it?

ERIC


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