I can’t help but wonder how many people were entirely caught off guard when they scrolled through their Instagram feed yesterday morning to find a friend’s self-photo wink at them, a picture of waves that were actually waving, or moving clouds. Whatever it was that caught you off guard after yesterday’s Instagram update, I’m sure it will only get worse.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy Instagram. I never thought I would. Sometimes I’m even embarrassed to admit it, but I do. I’m just as guilty as the next guy of taking pictures of my food, a sunset through the lens of a wine glass (classy, I know), and yes: clouds. However, there’s one thing I don’t want to get in the habit of sharing any more than I want to get in the habit of viewing: 15 second videos of a dog jumping around in a tutu.
For the working folks who have something better to do in the morning than take under-saturated, high-contrast photos of their breakfast cereal: Yesterday morning, Instagram announced version 4.0 of its photo-sharing application to include the option to share up to 15 second video clips with followers. There’s more to it than that, but in a nutshell it’s Vine with filters. …and an audience (it was nice knowing you, Vine).
In its original form, Instagram did something that was pretty amazing. It gave everyone with an iPhone (and now Android) the power to become photographers. Or, at least pretend to be a photographer. Since its launch in 2010, Instagram users have posted over 4 billion photos. A strikingly high percentage of those photos are actually quite good. The ability to quickly take a snapshot of life as it’s unfolding and share it with anyone you’d like to make jealous - and do succeed at doing so - is quite fascinating.
Is Instagram really trying to do the same thing with videos? Will everyone now feel like they’re empowered to be a professional cinematographer? Will the still shots of my latest favorite beer bottle attract more likes if they’re accompanied by a shaking hand and choppy background music? Will my juicy steak suddenly look more attractive to my followers if I give it a nice little 360? How much more enjoyable will the cliche shoe shot become if those feet suddenly starts walking? I’m not sure, but I do know one thing: These moving Instagram shots in my feed are going to get very annoying very quickly.
As is the case with standard photos on Instagram remains to an even greater extent with videos: use sparingly - and please spare me. If the video doesn’t add any value, maybe a good old still shot will do? Just don’t forget the vignette.