Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I was an instagram fan.  I had been using it for some time, longer than most people I knew.  It was a clever app.  It did not improve your smartphone pictures technically, it actually degraded them technically, but it enhanced the ability of the user to communicate a sentiment visually, whether that sentiment was affection, excitement, or nostalgia.  The user applied a "filter," which is actually re-touching the image electronically, to communicate something along with the image itself.

Since people typically use their smartphone to capture sentimental moments, this clever little app was quite a hit.  I liked it, I recommended it to my friends and family (rare enough by itself).  I used it to control my iPhone's camera more than half the time I used the camera.  I had mechanisms set up to save my instagram photos redundantly, I even used it to stay in touch with my mother.

However, I don't know of anything that is worth a billion dollars.  I don't ever really know what a billion dollars really is like, it is a very abstract concept for me.  That doesn't mean I disapprove of the price tag,  I just can't really conceive of it.  The creators of this app deserved ample reward.  They did a great job with it.  For a long time my only complaint was that the app was exclusive to the iPhone.  I wanted my Android friends to have it as well.

Not long ago, they announced and released the Android version.  Cool.  We have a real community now. I told all my Android-based friends, and I began to search for, and found, various celebrities personal photo feeds, which was a fun way to stay in touch with them.  I was really starting to adopt it as a regular technological part of my routine.

Then, the sale of the company to Facebook was announced.  I deleted the app immediately and my instagram account very soon thereafter.

The same thing bothers me about Facebook that bothers me about Microsoft: taking advantage of user naivete and ignorance is a central pillar of their business model.

Wow.  One day instagram is a major presence in my life, the next day it is instagone.  What a world.