Some people really do want their Instagram back

Taylor Lorenz has written a piece on why you don’t want the old Instagram back and I couldn’t disagree more with it.

No really, a lot of people do want the old Instagram. Insta became a great space for visual artists who adopted the platform as the de facto place where they show their work and build community it.

People think that bringing back the “old” Instagram design, or a chronological feed will somehow recapture the magic of using Instagram in 2014. It won’t. That time is gone and the internet and culture have irrevocably changed. Most importantly, how and what we want to share on the internet has changed.

What Taylor is missing here is that Instagram was always a place for discovery in a way which was controlled by the user. TikTok gives you little control over what you see: the algorithm decides that for you in a way which is much more opaque than even Facebook’s much-maligned news feed. Facebook at least has a notion of what kinds of content is important to you: birthdays, babies, weddings, and all the major events of life. TikTok? Not so much

These days, intimacy is fostered through features like DMs, group chats, or ephemeral posts to Close Friends.

Except that intimacy needs to start somewhere. And that somewhere can’t, by definition, be a DM.

Spaces which are private like the ones Taylor is describing have only two kinds of relationship in them: the already-established relationship between people who already know each other from elsewhere, or the relationship between an advertiser who has paid to be in that space and the people in it.

People think that bringing back the “old” Instagram design, or a chronological feed will somehow recapture the magic of using Instagram in 2014. It won’t. That time is gone and the internet and culture have irrevocably changed.

Culture is not monolithic: platforms have many forms of users, and users find the use for platforms – not the other way round.

This piece is a great example of the tech journalism communities obsession with the newest latest smartest thing, with destroying the old no matter what the cost. And it’s just wrong.