The Old Instagram Can't Come To The Phone Right Now. Why? 'Cause She's Dead.

The portrayal of perfectionism is social media's biggest trend to date. Why are we trying so hard? Our generation pretends like we didn't use to snap (horrendous) group selfies at the bowling alley in seventh grade, slap the valencia filter on top of it, and call it a night. It was such a time. We only cared about encapsulating the moment and remembering that feeling forever. It seems as if that version of us has been archived, along with the photos, but why?

I downloaded Instagram in 2011. I thought it was a photo editing app. I mean, that’s what it was. I only posted photos that I thought were cool. I didn’t know people could see them, let alone like them. As years passed, Instagram soared into popularity. Soon, I began paying attention to the number under my posts. A question stuck with me. Why are some photos liked more than others? Slowly, I started feeling a sense of pressure. My posts had to be great, and each one had to be better than the last. It became tiresome, and I know others feel the same way. Feeling pressured to constantly out-do yourself is definitely not a great feeling. This is slowly driving users away from the app. It seems as though Instagram is meeting its demise. I know, it’s kind of sad. Let me explain why I think the app is on its way out the door.

My first reason is rather technical. Instagram reach is declining. The term "reach" refers to the total number of unique content viewers. According to Trust Insights, in 2019, Instagram user engagement was sitting at around 1.4%. After only three months, the percentage fell to 0.9%. There are many theories as to why this occurred. Many attribute this loss to the infamous algorithm. Within the previous two years, the platform has been feeding its users with advertisements, driving even its most loyal users away. Instagram no longer feels authentic. It feels like “somebody is trying to sell me something” (Shameless SpongeBob reference). In 2016, corporate decided to switch up the algorithm making it non-chronological. Feeds became uninteresting and riddled with influencer brand deals. That isn't what the average user looks for in social media content. Many of us keep up with the Kardashians, yes, but our main goal is to keep up with our friends. Once the chronological feed was no more, I began losing interest in my once favorite app. 

Next, Instagram is guilty of obvious cash-grabbing. The most recent attempt of blatant skeeziness would have to be the last update. Instagram decided to move notifications to the top of the screen, thus, placing a new “Shopping” page where we all once clicked to see our likes and comments. They also moved Reels to the location we would tap to post new content. These were hands down the places our brains were most likely to tap before the update. Reels, in general, doesn't sit right with me. Half of the content on Reels originated from the ever-popular app, TikTok. This isn't the first time Instagram has stolen someone else's idea. The introduction of stories in 2016 completely ripped off Snapchat, sending the app into a downward spiral. At first, many were upset by this action. The public saw right through their actions. Eventually, we all got used to it. Today I don't think that will be the case, and the engagement numbers are showing that. People are sick of Instagram's unoriginal content and interface.

I know that I am ready for something new.