My Facebook feed (a free service I use from time to time, which you may be aware allows me to maintain social contact with my friends – with, of course, a backdrop of adverts that I can choose not to click on…) has been awash with rampant anger regarding Instagram’s now aborted plan to sell your family album. You know, the ‘family album’ of some people you met in Thailand that you have so carefully protected from intrusive eyes by placing on a public social network in full view of the world.
Personally, I rarely post photos of my holidays or social events on Facebook and I don’t use Instagram. I am still a prolific Facebook user; using it for my fairly active social and travelling calendar. I have, however, always been of the opinion that being forced to look at other people’s holiday photos, or even worse ‘crazy nights out,’ ranks somewhere between drinking a pint of crème de menthe and enjoying a botched surgical procedure. It is showboating on a hyper-local scale – surely the opportunity to ‘go national’ with these snaps would be a bonus to these doyens of self-aggrandisement?
The ire for this Instagram news is at first glance understandable – these are my photos – how dare you use that photo of those 4 girls I know posing as Charlie’s Angels (every thirty-something woman I know has such as snap – fingers as guns) for your own gain. First thing – take a step back off your soapbox Annie Leibovitz. Start by looking at your photos. Can you honestly say that they are of the quality and subject matter that would make them the kind of photo that the masses would be clamouring to see – that Instagram will want to profit from? There are plenty of other sites and social networks you can use to share your photos – use them. Pay for it, if it means peace of mind.
The internet can be an incredible thing but we have become so used to accessing content for free (remember the outcry when the pantomime villain in charge of News Corp (I forget his name – Lucifer or Baal, I think) announced a paywall for some of his news sites) that we simply fail to recognise that these are businesses – not altruistic projects. Consumer choice is still key – if you don’t like the rules of engagement find another game. Instagram gave a date at which these measures would occur. Vote by turning off or sticking with it past this date. For god’s sake, please stop clogging up my Facebook feed with complaints – it’s distracting me from the display ads that I have yet to click on…
And in the current backdrop of legal tax avoidance, is this really such an issue? This is simply a free service that you can use to inflict your horrible, horrible pictures of your kid’s nativity, or even better your dinner – now in sepia if you wish to make it look like a very old dinner, onto an audience that cares not. I would argue that the frankly horrendous moral bankruptcy coming from Google, Amazon and those plastic bean peddlers Starbucks is far more worthy of our incandescence.
If you don’t like it – don’t use it. I’ve not had a Starbucks Gingerbread Latte this year and my god, do I miss it. I also miss the bargains I get from Amazon, but I will stick to my guns. The one thing we always have is choice. Instagram – who at the time of writing has u-turned on the decision – seem to have listened to the outrage and are reassessing, even though this issue pales into insignificance on the scale of corporate immorality, and yet we still we use Google. Well 90% of us at least. It’s good to get angry, but be consistent. We have bigger fish to fry.