So Instagram has a new logo. You’ve probably heard about it. There’s a good chance that, like me, you really don’t like it – I hear you, it looks rubbish. However, a new logo that I don’t like is something I can live with, it’s what’s over the horizon that – as a solid Instagram evangelist and advocate – I’m most worried about.
Now, I don’t want this post to be a few paragraphs ranting about how I really don’t like the new Instagram logo – they’re not going to change it back and, having been part of a team rolling out a rebrand last year and seen the reactions to it, I don’t want to become one of *those* people.
All I will say about the logo is that it doesn’t make me think of Instagram – it makes me think a LOT about Sky – see why at the end of this post.
What I want to ponder here is what other changes to Instagram will follow in the wake of the new logo, specifically how I fail to see anything other than a future for the network that is far more #corporatefirst than #communityfirst.
The really hard-hitting thing about the new logo for me was the change from a logo that was proud to stand out from everything else on your phone screen to a flat, nondescript thing that gets lost in the clutter.
The old icon was something many Instagramers lovingly recreated with coffee cups, pencils, seeds, or any other items they could lay their hands on. It was a symbol that its community was proud of.
I doubt anyone will be trying to recreate this new logo any time soon. More importantly, it speaks of a network that used to be proud to be different, cool and special, and is now content to fit in.
Instagram should be aiming to keep changing the game and leading the way, not striving for mainstream acceptance. The shift in Instagram’s story this year is the social media equivalent of what the band Bring Me the Horizon did on their latest album – favouring mass appeal and big bucks over the community that has been there from the start.
It worries me that, by switching to a logo that is so desperate to fit in with everything else, this is a signal that Instagram is going to shed itself of its other nuances too.
We already know that the algorithm is coming, to help us see more selfies and pictures of puppies instead of easily being able to catch up on the content from the people you’ve chosen to follow. As with most social media platforms, the temptation to copy what someone else is doing rather than stick to your guns was too strong.
The algorithm stops Instagram being a platform where everyone is equal, as it gives priority to the accounts with a budget behind them, and this new logo feels like a another string to Instagram’s quest to make money. Judging by the reactions so far, this is not a symbol the community is happy about, but it’s probably an easier sell to advertisers.
The changes we’ve seen in 2016 make me wonder what else is on the cards; will the filters be changed to something more contemporary so they can erase altogether the links to their polaroid-emulating early days? Will we be forced to see more of what’s trending rather than what we actually want to look at?
I’ve always admired how resolutely embedded in mobile Instagram has remained, but it would no longer surprise me if the option to upload from a desktop soon becomes a reality and the art and skill of mobile photography is hidden in the algorithm by big budget, ‘professional’ shots.
One good change that looks increasingly likely is, finally, the introduction of proper analytics – something Instagram couldn’t really keep back from paying advertisers for much longer. I just hope we all get access to them.
For a site that prides itself on its community (or, at least, used to) then it would make sense for us all to be given access, but the increasingly corporate voice coming out of Instagram in 2016 would make it in no way surprising if these useful (and much, much needed) analytics are reserved for those who pay, and the rest of us are left to carry on simply counting likes and comments and not knowing quite how many of our followers actually see our posts.
I’ve always sang the praises of Instagram because of how it placed its community at the heart of everything it does, but I’ve slowly become more and more disengaged with the platform over the past few months. This new identity and the other changes likely to appear this year are doing nothing to reverse that.
It feels like that great community is slowed being nudged out of the door, despite still being paid a sort of lip service in the glossy videos that have accompanied this new logo
Much as I will always be hugely grateful for the exposure Instagram has given my photography and, of course, the incredible friends I’ve made and communities I’ve been part of through taking part in Instameets, this is a platform that is at a serious risk of losing its magic and special appeal.
All is not lost though – after all, it is just a new logo – but I’m certainly nervous about whatever changes Instagram are preparing to reveal next. For those of us who love it for being a genuine, creative and inspirational space based on a thriving community of passionate users, it could be make or break.
I’m desperate to reignite my passion for this platform and want nothing more than to have write a follow-up post in a few months where I eat a huge plate of humble pie. Fingers crossed.
What do you make of the new changes? Let me know below.
Now, as promised, just look at why the new logo makes me think of Sky.