This is not a knee-jerk reaction — I’ve actually already had the thought that it would be convenient to send an Instagram privately. But I can’t believe how much they’ve gotten it wrong.
First, there isn’t all that much congruence between my Instagram network and my actual social network. I follow people whose photos I like to see (that’s kind of always been the concept of Instagram, dummy). That includes a tiny subset of my friends list, along with a bunch of strangers that I don’t know anything about and have no interest in contacting. If I wanted to use Instagram Direct, I’d have to tell all my contacts to sign up (I’m guessing that’s the point, but why can’t a social app ever say “I’m happy with my growth now”? — especially now that Instagram belongs to Facebook and the focus should be on getting the user bases to converge, not diverge further) and then I’d have to add them to my Instagram feed. And, well, there are a lot of friends whose photos I have no interest in seeing there… because they’ll look like shit, and Instagram is not about seeing my friends’ photos that look like shit. We’ve got the Facebook feed for that.
Also, I have no idea what all my friends’ Instagram names are, so that’s a lot of time spent looking for them in the recipient list.
Second, you can send photos to everyone you follow, and I can’t find any way to opt out of the feature, or even restrict it. (Because, obviously, that would slow down adoption, and that would defeat the point and Instagram’s newly apparent delusions of grandeur.) There are a bunch of people I follow who have tens of thousands of followers — they’re not famous, I don’t think they’re even “internet famous,” but they just happen to be good photographers and their Instagram accounts have gotten a tiny bit viral. I wouldn’t want to be them today, or in the following weeks.
I can’t think of any other messaging platform, except for email (and the whole world agrees email is broken), that doesn’t prevent you from contacting people who haven’t opted into the relationship first. Facebook has hidden messages from non-friends under the carpet for years. Twitter recently tested an option to let everyone DM you, and abandoned it even though it would be actually useful to the many entities that use the network for any sort of community management. That should be telling you something, shouldn’t it?
I have no doubt that Instagram will quickly realize the error and publish an update that lets you restrict or disable Instagram Direct. (How long they take to correct course will be a determining factor in the app’s long-term survival.) But what does it say about them that they would ship the feature as it is now, penalizing the platform’s best ambassadors, its most proficient users?
Those are mistakes you could expect from an independent social network that’s willing to forget its roots, and what made it successful, in order to maximize its user base before it sells out. It’s inexplicable when Instagram already belongs to Facebook. Especially when there was a mind-bogglingly obvious solution to every single issue with the feature:
“Send as a Facebook message.”
Irrational outrage over Twitter’s new understanding of the word ‘block’… on the very same day Instagram Direct has been launched.
OkCupid does silent blocking for exactly the reason Twitter does: informing the blockee encourages circumvention.
Turns out Instagram asks before allowing a stranger to send you pictures, and I found the Block button. First half of my post still stands.
Those damn Instagram borders always make a mess of any attempt at a fancy design involving user avatars — rounding, hexagoning, anything.
Not sure yet if I’ll reorganize my workflow around it, but this notes & drafts app has great ideas.
How did I not know about this? Seems to be THE app for people who like to arrange files on their desktop.
Même avec l’iPad 1 dans l’autre main pour comparer, le poids de l’iPad Air ne m’impressionne décidément pas autant que vous tous. Bizarre.
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