Breaking up is hard to do

Dear Instagram,

We need to talk. I think it’s time we had a break.

It’s not me, it’s you.

You’ve changed, and I don’t think I can continue in this one-sided, overbearing, controlling relationship anymore.

What happened Instagram? What changed you? Things used to be so good between us.

Why can’t you see you torture me
You’re already thinking about someone else
When he comes home
You’ll be in his arms and I’ll be gone
But I know my day will come
I know someday I’ll be the only one
Descendents – Hope

You control who I can see. Thanks to the algorithm you forced upon me, you control who I see, when I see them, and where I see them. That’s if you let me see them at all.

These are my friends, friends you introduced me to, and now you’re doing all you can to drive a wedge between us. They probably wonder if I still care about them. I do. But you’re stopping me from seeing them so I can’t let them know.

You control who sees me. Thanks to the ShadowBan, you stop me from meeting new friends. You used to encourage me to meet new friends? But now you’re stopping me.

And because of your algorithm, you control where, when and even if, my friends get to see me.

Candy coated promise
And candy coated lies
I don’t know what you’ve been told
But we’ve heard it a million times
Down By Law – The King & I

And now there are the Ads, ads that you leave lying around for me to see. Telling me what music I should listen to. Telling me where I should visit. What I should watch. What I should eat. You’ve even told me I should think about buying new makeup. What are you trying to tell me?

I keep telling you that I don’t want to see them. I keep telling you they’re not relevant. But you won’t listen to me

Instagram: It's not me, it's you.
“It’s not me, it’s you.”

You haven’t listened to me in ages.

Algorithm, ShadowBan and adverts? Really? That’s not the Instagram I knew. It’s not the Instagram I feel in love with.

I think it’s time we had a break.

I need to know that I’m appreciated again.

We need to see other people. Actually, I’ve already started seeing someone else.

But you probably don’t care about that do you?

You stopped caring about me ages ago Instagram.

And I’m not the only one! Instagram, I love you but…, Life after Instagram… , Instagram, WFT?


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  1. Breaking up is hard to do. There is no question about it. I still find myself dropping in everyday and liking a few photos. I try to leave comments hoping that will help interaction on my own photos, Ive even contemplated creating a few stories thinking then IG will notice me. But ultimatly I don’t think anything I do will create a better user experience.

    Im actually grateful that my online experience has tanked, its forced me to find interesting opportunities in real life. Im creating more in the studio, creating opportunities to show my work at cafes and I even entered an online contest.

    So while IG has become the dysfunctional friend I don’t have time for, my creative life has never been healthier. Maybe there is an upside to this trend towards a sales platform and away from a social platform? Even so I miss what we had and what Instagram used to be.

    I’ll see you on the other side Brett!

    • brett_wilson

      I hope this negative experience has the same effect on me!
      Unfortunately, Instagram has sucked the life and motivation out of me. That’s why I need a break, I need to be re-energised and reinvigorated. I’m sure some time away, and some time with an encouraging, supportive friend will do that! 🙂

  2. Oh, Instagram. You used to be so awesome. It makes me sad to see the slow implosion of what was once the go-to platform for creatives. There was a lot to enjoy in its heyday, but alas, it got too corporate and forgot about the all-important user experience.

    I’m thinking of breaking up with IG myself as well. I find that I only use it out of obligation these days, and am frustrated by all the same things you are.

    I’m worried about the Verizon acquisition of Flickr too, and suspect that that platform will be the next to see many of its users jump ship (if they haven’t already).

    • brett_wilson

      It’s really sad. I still look back with fondness at the salad days on Instagram; making new friends, discovering new artists, my first feature on brickcentral, being contacted for commissions and submissions etc. Good times, really good times.
      I too felt an obligation to soldier on, an obligation to friends made and to the platform that once gave me so much. But the more I give, the less it gives back these days; less interactions, less likes and less followers. I’ve never been one to base anything I do on the numbers I have, but when they start to dwindle, of course I start to think it’s me. Maybe it’s something I’m doing? Or something I’m not? Being made to think it’s all my fault is just another sign I’m in a bad relationship!
      So yes, it’s time for a break. Who knows, maybe I’ll be back? But for now, I just need some time away.

  3. I tried Ipernity for a brief while a few years ago, but nope. 500pix, nope. Tumblr, nope. Imgur, nope. Facebook, not really, nice otherwise but not a photo sharing platform. That goes for Twitter as well. Instagram, well, I still kinda like it but the engagement is vaning for the aforementioned reasons. Flickr, I find myself visiting it less and less, I don’t really know why. G+, I hated the amount of spam, but I’ve been told it’s better now.

    Then I wonder, was that it? Did we peak already and it’s just downhill, or flatline at best, from now on? Did we drain our niche and all the discoveries are done, and we blame the platforms? Or are the photo sharing services just so darn shortsighted and stupid in their attempts to renew, update and fund their sites that they ruin the user experience one after another? I honestly don’t know.

    Personally, I have loved Flickr from 2009. There are downsides, one of which is their “Explore”. It’s very unfair. I grew to love Instagram as well, but it seems so… empty these days. I am still not sure if I’m seeing everyone’s posts or not, but a lot of people seem to have vanished from my feed.

    I’d like to add another very unpleasant phenomenon concerning Instagram. For a few weeks now, I have been reporting and blocking nudie spambots following me. Several per day, sometimes just one, sometimes half a dozen. This never happened before, but now, every single day. I can do this for a good while, reporting takes just a gew seconds, but Instagram has to do something about it soon.

    A great post Brett. I don’t want you to leave Instagram, but a one does as one sees best. Just let us know where you go next.

    • brett_wilson

      Vesa, I have also wondered if I was lucky enough to ride the wave whilst it was building, and at its peak. I’ve wondered if that wave has lost its force and is now ebbing.
      But, as I’ve compared my recent dealings with Instagram with that of being in a bad relationship, having feelings of self doubt is just another sign things are not healthy.
      I’ve questioned my own photos as the interactions decline. I’ve questioned my motive as my numbers wane. And I’ve questioned whether the whole toy photography “thing” has had its moment in the sun, and is now flickering out. Moments of self-doubt, moments of questioning myself, all because of an algorithm and ShadowBanning. Not me, Instagram!
      I haven’t cut IG off forever, I just need some time away. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be lured back by someone telling me “all is fixed, dive back into the water, the waves are good again”?
      For now, I’ll be tipping my toes into the G+ waters. Maybe I’ll see you there?

  4. Very well worded Brett! I’ve been on IG less and less these days for the same reasons that you mentioned. It just annoys me that IG controls whose photos I get to see. It’s like they’re trying to chase their users away. I still enjoy browsing people’s photos but I feel bad that I’m probably missing photos too.

    I hope Verizon doesn’t kill Flickr… it’s still my favorite social media site….


    • brett_wilson

      Thanks Lynn.
      Yeah, it’s a real shame. I too find myself having to go to individual’s profile, just to check that I haven’t missed anything. And more often than not, I’ve not seen a photo that was published often recently.

  5. Oh man…. Such a great way to put it. So unhealthy, but yet, so hard to leave!!!!! Wah! The day the ads started for me I almost completely quit, but couldn’t. It sucks because I really love the format of IG, but yeah, the algorithm is shit.

    Trying to get established on G+ too. I have so little time to scroll anymore, so I just figure I am going to miss out on a lot of stuff anyway. But the little that I do see, I at least try to have meaningful interaction with.

    I miss the old days!

    • brett_wilson

      Ah the old days! Weren’t they great?
      I’m on IG to post for Toy Photographers, promote my posts here, #brickstameet and maybe join the Raptor Pack every 22nd. But that’s it.
      It’s such a shame. But checking in there less often than I used to really makes me realize why I’ve made this decision. Six ads in the first ten posts? And one ad promoting an “Instagram follower tracking” service. Really? Didn’t your algorithm and ShadowBan screw all that up? Why would I want a service to track how badly you’ve stuffed it all up?
      It’s ace seeing you pop up on G+ Leila! 🙂

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