Brand · Product · Review · Social Media

Instagram: At least it’s not as bad as Snapchat

Ah Instagram (IG)… it makes our mediocre photos look slightly better with their array of filters. Anyone can be “artsy”. I’m not quite sure why I even signed up for this app in the first place? I attempted Twitter too and failed at having engaging posts that weren’t laundry lists of my life. The app has drastically changed since I first joined in the tail end of 2012 for APO Nationals photos on a horrible LG Virgin Mobile phone! The premise is that you take photos and “instantly” share your photo “gram”. IG used to have a strictly square interface, where users would use apps to fill in the background with negative space to bypass the limitation to upload landscape or portrait shots. Nowadays they have copied Snapchat basically feature for feature (aside from the range of wild overlay masks i.e. flower crown, dog mask, face swap) allowing me to consolidate and delete the latter.



I’m no expert or superuser in Instagram or social media just to throw that out there. I just have my most recent feed plugged on the side of my blog, which was a serious pain to set up in the wordpress plug-in interface. I’ll just leave my link if you want to peruse below.

  • Filters – the first signature feature, they used to only have a few illustrated with the tree but they’ve expanded so much! Can’t forget those borders too. HINT: most social media pros use professional cameras to upload their photos… and no filter.
    • Classics filters: Lo-Fi, Nashville, Inkblot, X-Pro II
    • Current favorites: Claredon, Mayfair, Hudson, Charmes, Earlybird
  • Built-in basic photo editing – Brightness, contrast, highlight, shading, luxe, sharpness, 3×3 grid to get your thirds cropped, etc…

    Bleh hate the flat looking logo.
  • Editable drafts and info box – in the past they did not allow you to edit your posts! I was never that popular haha so I would always make sure to type my first comment on the desktop version, which would default as the pic info.
  • Userinterface > Snapchat (SC) – In my opinion, it’s better. I abhor the disappearing chat messages! That drove me crazy. Also SC frequently froze / crashed on me for no reason. At least I can message my groups of friends in peace!
  • Any size / Multi-photo upload – huge deviation from the original format of content, but it allows people more flexibility. Then again it takes away from the truly “instant” portion of the brand.
  • Hashtag and location feature – I truly enjoy browsing other people’s public photos
    Old logo that I found charming…

    when I go to an event (concert, dining out) or place (park, landmark) and compare what other people captured for their experience.

    • It’s a shame they got rid of the map feature… I know I was probably one of the few people who used it. They allowed you to view all the places you’ve taken photos and geo-tagged. I don’t even travel that much! For 98% of people they would have a cluster in their hometown.
  • Following people with similar interests – but not adding them as a friend on Facebook (compromising personal data).
    • I wish there was a feature to privatize some photos rather than your whole account, but I suppose that’s what the direct messages on IG are for
  • Follow/Unfollow method accounts – Admittedly it may be one of the most “effective” free ways to grow your following using this unscrupulous tactic.
    • I have NO respect for any brands that resort to this as the growth is not organic.
    • Take a look at the exhibit below, is this normal to have this much noise and virtual foot traffic? The unfollows are so high because they realized I’m not going to follow back the spam account OR they are waiting for me to follow back so they can unfollow me to make it look like they have a great ratio.
  • Sting of Rejection by people you KNOW in real life – Along a similar VAIN (hah I know it should be vein, but seriously Instagram is great for VAIN people). Due to the nature of not automatically “friending” someone you will notice that some people are simply full of themselves and will not follow you back.
    • You’ll realize you’re not as interesting as you thought you were, even though you may feel like you have quality content on your newsfeed.
      • Awkward situation – even if you see or talk to this person regularly you will wonder why didn’t s/he follow me back?
        • Better yet, when that person thinks you’re not monitoring your account s/he will unfollow you after following you.
      • But Hanna, aren’t you guilty of this too?!
        • I never said I wasn’t vain too! I usually check people’s feeds and comment/like. I tend not to follow people back if they are not active. (Post once every few months/year.)
        • Then again if you are too active that also drowns out other posts from people. There’s some individuals that post 10 pics all at once.
    • As you can tell this has happened to me repeatedly. I think in the beginning partially it was because I was using the username Lemonachi, which was my attempt at avoiding adding those numbers or other identifiers. However, anyone with working EYES (which you would need to use this app) could see I had a pic of myself for the image. Alas people didn’t know who that was and the situation improved slightly when I changed it to Amazing_Hanna as it is currently.
  • Endless SPAM bots/ fake accounts / inappropriate comments – My account is public so if I post a photo and tag it with something that is very popular such as #love it draws in the spambots like crazy asking “Do you want more followers?!”
    • Difficult to keep up with reporting these accounts and comments
  • 3rd Party Scams/Promotion Tactics – Pay to “Get TONS of Likes, Thousands of Subscribers”, Automated tools to grow base for businesses
    • If you want any semblance of a usable newsfeed, don’t do this. You are sacrificing that to gain followers who will most likely not even engage in your content.
    • Anyone heard of MassPlanner / Later or other 3rd party websites that let you manage your newsfeed for a premium and program liking and managing people you follow and like. I’m sure they have other stats available.
  • App Memory Hog – One of the largest culprits of inflating my phone memory usage. The standalone app itself is only a harmless 58.4mb. However, after a month or so of heavy use the app caches unnecessary info and balloons up to over half a Gigabyte!
    • The only “remedy” to this dilemma has been painstakingly deleting and reinstalling this app. I often question if this is even worth it, as there’s no (free) web support (from 3rd party apps).
  • Punishment for Inactivity – I had an extended period of inactivity for  ~1.5 years when I had been building up my IG account as a Nature and Scenic shots focused feed. During that period:
    • I lost 50+ followers that I never regained
    • I had to start from the ground up to build up my social media presence again and it has never regained back to the same level of activity
      • Of course I don’t have NEARLY as much time to fritter away testing out social media strategies and no desire to spend $ on such services
Circa 2013 Newsfeed, mostly nature/scenic
  • #Hashtags are no longer as effective!
    • Several articles point to the trend where using # method of popular tags doesn’t have the same effect as it did a few years ago with the influx of users. It just tends to get lost among all the other posts, and you should include them all in your first post as the half life is extremely short.
    • Also what’s with the POPULAR hashtag posts at the top?! I guess that may be useful but most of the time when I search it’s not the best quality. They just happen to be images from people who are “instafamous” who normally get hundreds if not thousands of likes anyway.
    • Most famous people don’t even use hashtags since they don’t need to.

Well this turned into a half review and lecture into silly social media games. Oh and in the future I can also review its parent company Facebook! I’ll leave you with this eloquent summation of social media struggles: A Proustian View on Being Unfollowed

Now let’s sum it up with my verdict.

Rating: 3/5 ★★★


One thought on “Instagram: At least it’s not as bad as Snapchat

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