After all the hoopla regarding Instagram’s proposed new terms of service where they essentially decided that they could use your pictures in their display ads, I decided that enough was enough and I deleted my Instagram account. Don’t get me wrong, I really, really loved Instagram and was a big fan of the way they made it really easy use and post pictures to Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, etc., however, I have gotten tired of the way some social media companies start off really well then periodically would change their TOS making their services less enjoyable to use. Facebook is rather notorious for doing this especially when it comes to privacy issues.
When Facebook acquired Instagram I had reservations about how the user experience would change. Even though I felt it was only a matter of time, I decided to continue using it hoping that Facebook would not mess it up. Then two things happened. First came the announcement users would no longer be able to post pictures to Twitter, only links. That was annoying, but I was able to live with than. Then shortly afterwords came the announcement regarding the use of users pictures in advertising. This is where I thought that Instagram had crossed the line and even though I was quite vested having started using Instagram when non of my friends even knew what it was, I decided enough was enough and I instantly deleted my account. And that is how it all ended…
Although sometimes I do think about it, I really don’t miss Instagram. I still think its a great service and all, but I am done with Instagram. I have now gone back to posting my pictures on Flickr. With Flickr, I pay the $25 annual service fee and I don’t have to worry about Yahoo trying to snag my picture. And now with the release of their new iPhone app which is very similar to Instagram’s, I can now continue taking Instagram like pictures and posting to Flickr, Facebook and Tumblr as I did previously. Thanks Merissa Mayer for getting things moving at Yahoo!
I don’t really want to go into an analysis of what Instagram should or shouldn’t have done, but all I can say is that one of the lessons to learn here is that social media can be fickle… and yet I also have a feeling that this issue is not going to go away. Even though Instagram initially claimed that the language had been misunderstood, then later they completely backtracked, I have a feeling that in some months from now, Instagram is going to do the same thing again but to a lesser degree. I suspect that eventually the vast majority of users will be willing to allow Instagram to ‘license’ their images, maybe for a small fee or something, but I think eventually we will see this happen.