"What Are Instagram Notes?" asks an email that's just appeared in my inbox from a helpful weekly newsletter of Instagram smarts. According to Later, Instagram is testing out a new notes (opens in new tab) feature that might take some of us millennials back to the days of MSN (Microsoft's messenger service from the 2000s).
But what, I'm confused. Is Instagram a messaging service or a photo sharing platform? And don't Meta Platforms (who own Instagram) already have Facebook messenger and WhatsApp? Yes, I know that messaging is a big part of the user experience on Instagram, but does it need these developments?
Once upon a time, Instagram was the perfect place to show off your portfolio – whether it was to friends, other photographers or even prospective clients. The neat feed and ability to curate your work revolutionized the way that photographers displayed their images and interacted with each other as a community.
And Instagram isn't (should I say wasn't?) just for the archetypal "content creator" either. Even professional photographers have largely eschewed their unwieldy websites in favor of the platform.
Of course, we're no stranger to posting about Instagram on Digital Camera World. I've already said my piece on why I think Instagram has ruined photography (opens in new tab) and arguably the latest Instagram update is the worst one yet (opens in new tab).
But I promise I'm not just a negative thinker. I'm touchy on the subject because I know how good Instagram used to be, before unnecessary features, reels (opens in new tab), algorithms and updates made the app experience what it is now – clunky and messy.
Facebook (now Meta Platforms) bought Instagram back in 2012 for US$1 billion, and while we can't blame the company entirely for derailing a once-loved app for photography, it does feel as if Meta is trying to overload it with stuff it just doesn't need. Simplicity and fun was Instagram's thing, but from where I'm standing, the love affair is over, as PetaPixel has also recently reported (opens in new tab).
Is it time to accept that Instagram no longer works for photographers, either as a key networking tool or a portfolio shop window? If so, what will replace it?
I don't have an answer for now (and I could be completely wrong about the whole thing) so I'd love to hear from you if you use Instagram for photography. Do you love it or loathe it, and if it's the latter, let me know where's next.