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Does Instagram really suck? Or do you just hate change.

July 2022 - Social & Influencer • Opinion

RIP Our Favourite Photo Sharing App. Or is it?

We caught up with our social media strategist, Danielle Dullaghan, to get her hot take on Instagram's new push for reels instead of photos. Here's what she had to say...
Dani, over to you...

Ok, so the inevitable happened, Instagram is going *mostly* video first - and that sucks if you’ve built a career as a photo-first content creator. 

The thing is, you only think you want Instagram to be a photo-sharing app, but actually, you don't.

Binge Bash Bosh

Subconsciously, as social content consumers we've been gravitating towards video, without Instagram really pushing it until now. The fact is, photo only content will never be as captivating to consume on social media as video. Photos don’t keep you on the app (...and videos probably won’t either, eventually - hellooo Metaverse). 
That’s why we binge Netflix, TikTok & YouTube. Video content is a lot more addictive than photo-sharing content. 

Social itself is addictive, this isn’t news. There are plenty of studies that show how likes and retweets affect the rewards systems in our brains - we know this negatively impacts our health and so a lot of platforms are getting rid of likes, dislikes or hiding them. So, what next? What is going to keep us on the platform? Addicting. Video. 

Not Everyone on Instagram is a Creator 

Most of the people on Instagram are not creators, but observers. We get so wrapped up in our own bubble. It’s very easy as content creators or advertisers to think everyone wants to see photos and while it is 100% true that some do (including me) the data and the power of TikTok tells another story. Two things can be true at the same time, but if I was Instagram, I’d probably make the same changes too. 

Let’s not hide behind “we want to see photos of our friends” you can still do this on Instagram, there will always be a photo sharing option, close friends stories and they’ve also added a favourites list so you’ll still see your friends content when it’s posted. 
Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, spoke out in a video posted on Twitter both defending and explaining the recent news.

The Key to Success? Innovation.

The slow death that is Tumblr, MySpace etc. Those that don’t keep up, get left behind. Just because we don’t like change, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen. Listening to the comments and feedback of users is one thing, but looking at raw data, competition and time spent is another. Not everyone speaks up, not everyone creates - most of us are just scrollers.

If Instagram doesn't change now, then who’s to say they wouldn’t follow in the footsteps of their old friends like MySpace and Bebo. Snapchat has slowly changed over the years, yet they’ve still got video/video storytelling content at the heart. 

What’s Next for Photo First Creators?

With all that said, it's disheartening that anyone who may have made a career out of photo-first content creation is now struggling to grow and reach their existing and new audiences - the only thing you can really do is to up-skill on video editing if you still want to thrive as a content creator on Instagram. 

Social media is new, content creation is new, social media influencing is new. This will not be the first or last time that creators are going to get thrown an axe and have to switch gears. 

Content creators are absolutely crucial to a platform's success - we saw this with the TikTok creator programme. Platforms need to give creators a dig out, help and guide them through this transition. 

The creator economy is not stable and who knows if it will ever be. If you’re a creator - accepting that you may need to upskill and adapt to the powers that be might be your only way to continue on the path of social influence.
Those who are willing to change will be the ones who come out on top, and yeah, that sucks. Change sucks. However, for every creator that can’t adapt to video, there’s another creator who’s watching Premier Pro tutorials on YouTube and editing reels. 

Important Note: Photography isn’t Dead. 

The art of photography isn’t dead, it’ll never be dead, but using Instagram to showcase your talent is. 

Lifestyle photography is not what’s hitting for people anymore (Shout-out to BeReal) but maybe there’s still room for an app to replace what Instagram was? 

Will all the algorithm changes be worth it? Who knows, Instagram doesn’t want creators to duplicate content on Instagram from TikTok. After-all, who wants to see the same things on TikTok as you would on Reels? 
Bring back Bebo, Facebook albums and digital cameras in nightclubs, anyone?
If you want to talk about what this means for your business, slide on over into our DMs.

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