“Should I post this?”
I repeat these four words in my head as I examine each and every pixel displayed on my iPhone. I type out this very question and send it away in its little blue bubble to my closest friends. Finally, in the moment of truth, I ask my sister for her opinion while shoving a screen in front of her face, hoping to gain the sense of approval with a single word: yes.
Posting on Instagram is an entire process. And maybe that’s why so many people just don’t post. Gone are the days when black and white photos of Starbucks frappuccinos and bedroom selfies with a million friend tags sufficed under the social norms of the platform. General users are no longer using Instagram for its intended purpose: to share personal content with others. Instagram is dying — here’s why.
Instagram is for marketing
As I scroll past my feed, an ad for a phone case buries itself alongside the numerous posts from fashion companies I follow. As I look through my stories, I soon find myself skipping past countless reposts of giveaway entries. As I double-tap my favourite influencer’s latest photo, I notice the #sponsored disclaimer hidden under the caption. Instagram has become the go-to channel for businesses to market their products. If this wasn’t obvious enough, Instagram even went to the extent of adding the shopping function on the bottom bar to replace the heart icon that notified users of their own engagement. Tracking each and every metric, the platform makes it so easy for companies to research how people engage with their posts, while ultimately translating this engagement into sales. That’s the issue — the app is for making money, and if users aren’t there to make money, they’re there to give money away.
Instagram is for celebrities
My “most shown in feed” list consists of two types of accounts: the verified and the almost verified. It’s clear that aside from businesses, celebrities have taken over the platform feeding the crave of popular culture with their everyday activities. Whether it’s Taylor Swift announcing yet another album release or Kendall Jenner sharing shots from her latest modelling gig, celebrities and influencers are transforming the app as a platform for fans instead of everyday users. Verified accounts are continually pushed further by the algorithm, and even the function of linking URLs to stories is only available to accounts with over 10k followers. Instead of connecting with people I actually know, I end up connecting with people that I only know of. It becomes a perfectly curated experience that doesn’t make me feel so perfect after exiting the app.
Instagram is fake
Instagram is fake and everyone knows it. From choosing that one good photo out of a hundred to calculating the exact sharing moment for maximum engagement, posting isn’t fun anymore — it’s stressful. Even those ever so casual fillers photos are strategically planned and posted in accordance. And after finally clicking the share button, there’s still the everlasting debate of whether or not to archive it. The standards on the app are far different than those on Snapchat and TikTok. Users on other platforms can share personable, funny content as themselves without the need to worry about perfect makeup or a fire outfit. Of course, Instagram tried to combat this by adding a story and reels function, but I believe the app will never be able to replicate the same carefree style as the for you page.
Overall, Instagram is dying as it no longer serves its intended purpose of sharing personable content with others. As my feed is continually flooded with businesses and celebrities, while more and more general users become hesitant to share posts, the social pressures only continue to grow. Although it’s clear that Instagram will not become the next MySpace anytime soon, it’s also evident that the app is losing its popularity and slowing in growth. Until its downfall, I’ll continue to use the platform to shop for products, view celebrity stories and share perfectly planned photos; however, I sure do miss the old norms of Instagram as a carefree and user-centred platform.