I’m not very good at admitting I’m wrong. The upside to that is there’s a couple debate championships in my past to round out my nerd cred. Sadly the downside is that ultimately I had to grow up and start trying it when I realized I was, in fact, mistaken. (Fortunately that’s a rarity!)
When Marty mentioned my post about uninstalling Instagram as part of my introduction to Life in LoFi, it got me thinking about the topic again. I got some well-considered arguments from people, and when I sat down to respond I just kept on thinking. In one of those nice quirks the universe likes to offer up, I found this recent interview with Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the founders of Instagram, on Tech Crunch TV.
It’s embarrassing to admit, but in retrospect I think I whipped myself into a frenzy of grumpiness over Instagram because I was judging it within the wrong paradigm. I think of Instagram as a photo app. That’s what it was when I installed it the day it was released. People commented on the somewhat unique element of including their own photo network along with sharing to “real” platforms, but initially it was just a cool sidenote with potential.
After listening to Systrom and Krieger talk about their vision of Instagram as a platform where we can see glimpses of what others are doing all around the world as it happens and watching geo-tagged photos roll in instant-by-instant on their demo of Instagram’s real-time API I dragged my thoughts out of 6 months ago and pointed them towards 6 months (or, more probably, more) from now.
In the Instagram group on Flickr the discussion on dSLR photos in the Instagram stream is still going on, and a recent post by Retorta caught my interest:
My routine with instagram is simple: i am walking, when i see something interesting i take a photo, process it with Instagram and send it to the web. All while walking.
The idea of a continuous visual stream of moments both profound and mundane, showing us the beauty of our differences and our similarities, is an appealing prospect. Sure it won’t work out that simply, there will be ads and brands and lord knows how many million photos of kitty cats (I’ll admit hypocrisy here, as I’ve been guilty of it), but it’s a lovely thing to imagine and I may have sold Instagram short by not giving credit for being capable of imagining it.
Some of my complaints still hold. The idea of sharing experiences as they happen, connecting on mobile devices, means I’m more sympathetic to their decision to limit resolution on their own network to 612×612 pixels (sympathetic, not totally supportive).
But just because it’s only an instant doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be worth keeping and sharing other ways in full resolution. It may sound trite, but our lives are just a series of moments and a lot of them matter enough to preserve them as best we can.Besides, their CEO made a promise to his users. Six months ago he cited “the near future” as the timeline for full resolution. I happen to think things like that deserve follow-through.
Regardless of that, I’m grateful to Life in LoFi readers for challenging me and making me reconsider. I’ll be using Instagram as my primary photo app this weekend (yes, even after admitting it isn’t really a photo app), sort of a chance to see it for what it is, rather than what I thought it should and shouldn’t be.