Instagram Has Alienated Artists by Focusing on Video, Shopping

In its initial days, Instagram was widely hailed as a platform that was suitable for people that were of an artistic persuasion. Creative individuals could post their pictures on the platform and get a pretty amazing response from their followers. People who were not necessarily all that famous could find a following on the platform, and this was part of what made the platform so successful and popular in the first place in so many different ways.

This was actually the intention of the founders of the platform, but all of that changed when the company was acquired by Facebook. In 2018, the new head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, stated in no mean terms that Instagram was no longer meant to be seen as a place where you could share only photos. After that point in time, Instagram branched out into videos, tried to establish IGTV as a valid competitor to YouTube and is now starting to move into the world of ecommerce.

Instagram has also had to compete with TikTok which has resulted in the platform creating its “Reels” feature. This is rewarding short form video content rather than the images that the platform had initially started to get known for, and it turns out that this is something that a lot of artists are starting to take issue with.

There are no metrics that can gauge how many artists are abandoning the platform, but a cursory look at the various artists and creators that are currently out there will show that many of them are not all that happy with the platform and are at least talking about leaving.

Photography and video making are two very different fields. Someone that specialized in taking photos is not naturally going to be that good at videos, and forcing artists to shift in this manner places a lot of pressure on them and makes Instagram a far less conducive space for these kinds of people.

Some might say that Instagram can still be a place for images. After all many of the posts that you would be seeing on the platform would be in image form. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that the algorithm does not seem to be favoring people who prefer using images and the like. These posts gain less traction and in a lot of situations they end up reaching less than half of the followers that a particular artist might have.

This contrasts really unfavorably with Twitter where a post can end up getting truly massive reach even if the poster does not have all that many followers to begin with. This might result in a lot of artists shifting to Twitter, something that has already been seen with a number of creatives making accounts on the platform because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up enabling them to show their work for a far larger group of people.

Instagram’s focus on ecommerce has not been helpful either, since this is forcing a lot of artists to start operating like shopping pages which really doesn’t fit in with their dynamic. The sad truth is that Instagram might not even care that this is how people feel. The platform has clearly changed its priorities, but this might lead to its demise later on.

If there is one thing that people are starting to associate with Instagram, it’s a distinct lack of integrity. Making itself so difficult for artists to work with is not going to pan out all that well for the platform and it might even result in Twitter getting back to its former glory and recapturing the audience that it might have lost previously.

picture alliance via Getty Images

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