Why I don’t like Instagram

On the Internet I have seen a lot of critics about Instagram. However most of those critics were not about Instagram itself but how people use it. Whether those critics are valid or not, I don’t care because I have a more basic issue with it. It’s about simply considering it as a photo sharing medium and how it technically works. I don’t like Instagram and I haven’t since the first time I heard about it. I think it was a little before it was bought by Facebook. I learned about it when reading about a photo sharing social network that was only available as an application for smartphones. Because there is no valid reason from a technical point of view for not providing a website, this was why I did not want to learn more and have had a very bad opinion about it from the start.

However I have come to change my mind. I realized how much Instagram was popular among the LEGO and toy photographer communities. Even though there are high quality LEGO photography on Flickr, I first realized there were lots of people behind great Youtube channels I follow who use Instagram a lot. I also stumbled upon great photographers posting their work on Instagram. I felt like I was missing something and regretted it. I finally registered on Instagram a few months ago but I still did not want to use it.

It’s only recently, reading from 100% Stuck In Plastic, I felt more and more I was missing something important. A few days ago I started using it: following people, uploading pictures. And I will most probably continue to do so on a daily basis because I am astonished how much people do toy photography on Instagram compared to Flickr. Now I fully realize how much I was missing. All that said it does not mean I like Instagram. It is certainly full of wonderful toy photographers but it’s its only quality. Though all its flaws, Flickr is still IMO far more pleasant to use than the crappy Instagram:

  • There is now a web version of Instagram but it is a shame: it is a┬ávery uncomfortable to use lesser version of the mobile app.
  • The amount of metadata you can link to your pictures is ridiculous: no EXIF, no real geotagging (with coordinates), no license.
  • Square images: since August you can upload pictures using rectangular formats but it’s only available when uploading a picture stored in your phone. I upload first my pictures to Flickr (from my computer) and then share them on Instagram. When sharing them from Flickr, Instagram still ask to crop them! So I’m stuck with adding borders around the pictures to be able to not crop them.
  • No apparent possibility to download full size images. I’m pretty sure a lot of photographers must be pleased about that but I’m not. My photos are all licensed under a Creative Common License. I want people to be able to download and reuse my full size images! The only way I found to download one of my uploaded photo was using the web version of Instagram and Firefox’s inspector tool to get… a 320x320px version of my picture. Oh and the original EXIF (along with the copyright and license notice I put inside) disappeared from the low res cropped image. I didn’t know it was possible to do worse than Facebook in terms of photo sharing.
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