Instagram Next

For a few reasons I haven’t posted on Instagram. This has given me an opportunity to confront the third service leg of Facebook’s social media empire. (I’m not really using Facebook’s social network or WhatsApp.) For now I’m leaving a few videos on Instagram but the pictures are archived here.

By not posting I’ve had an opportunity to reevaluate Instagram. Do I really want to feel obligated to upload almost every day? And since I haven’t amassed a large following anyway, is Instagram where I should post? Is Instagram’s timeline the best place to see photography?

I don’t know. But I’m thinking about all this.

Breaking Up with Facebook

In the spring of 2019, Elizabeth Warren promised to break up mega-tech companies such as Facebook if she’s elected president.

Facebook, of course, owns not only the world’s major social network, but also Instagram and WhatsApp. Exiting all 3 services is a challenge if you want to stay in touch with friends and family. But we should start somewhere.

I have a small Facebook footprint with only my name, no photos or other info. Not even a profile picture. I stay connected because I can only contact some people through Facebook. Instagram is extremely hard to avoid for a photographer. But I keep only about 20 photos on my Instagram timeline. The rest I archive on my photography website. I do not use WhatsApp, but instead use Signal.

Rethinking Social Media

I have been rethinking my use of social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

I should have done it sooner. It took the drip, drip news reports of social media manipulation during to 2016 U.S. election for it to really sink in. It reminded many of us social media consumes too much of our time and then the stuff we post escapes our control.

It hasn’t been easy to leave. I’ve used Facebook to stay connected to friends living around the world and other people I never see even if we’re in the same city. Over the last year, I was using Instagram more than Facebook because it’s an indispensable photography showcase. But I still had a problem with it aside from its tie in to Facebook. But I’ll elaborate about that in another post.

This is what I’ve done to migrate out of social media. I’ve deleted all my posts on Facebook, every single photo, including my profile picture. I’ve removed my personal information including my current city. My next step may be to deactivate my account and eventually delete it. I’ve archived my photos on Instagram and just have a few videos posted. I may start temporarily posting new photos to Instagram, then move them to archives on my website. I still use Twitter but much more sparingly and I’ve deleted older Tweets.

But I do want to maintain a public online presence, I just have to figure out what the balance is between losing the network effects of social media and maintaining as much control as I want.