The Instagram We Loved Is Dead

A steady shift to video has made the beloved social platform all but unrecognizable

Lance Ulanoff
OneZero
Published in
4 min readFeb 6, 2022

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Photo by Souvik Banerjee on Unsplash

Scrolling through my Instagram feed the other day, I hit a video, then another, and another. Where were the photos? They’re not gone, but on a site that features an analog camera as its logo, they’re now second-class citizens.

Instagram was an early “buy if you can’t build and compete,” for Meta (Facebook), and since 2012, has been a significant growth and revenue driver for the company. But now, a decade into the $1 billlon acquisition, Instagram is facing an identity crisis.

The platform’s early rise coincided with the explosion of photo-capable smartphones, especially the iPhone, which launched in 2007 but didn’t arrive on multiple carriers beyond AT&T until 2011. Those early cameras were woefully underpowered compared to the 12 MP wide-angles and optical zoom capable lenses we enjoy today on even the most modest smartphones. Still, Instagram’s simple square format (so popular that the iPhone’s camera included an auto-square crop) turned even the most average image into a work of art.

Did we overuse filters? Sure. So much so that the hashtag “#nofilter” emerged early in Instagram’s lifespan.

The rise of Insta videos

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Lance Ulanoff
OneZero

Tech expert, journalist, social media commentator, amateur cartoonist and robotics fan.