Bye bye Instagram

Instagram published their new terms of use yesterday going in effect on January 16, 2013, wherein they pretty much stated they can use the content you post on Instagram however they please, including selling it to advertisers. But don’t worry user, you still own the content. Brilliant, isn’t it?

Instagram started as a fun way to post-process photos with standard filters and share photos. I followed a bunch of people, and had fun looking through their photos, “liking” photos I, well, liked, or rolling my eyes when it was yet another photo of someone’s boring & bored cat, doing nothing exceptional or cute. (Cue the internet’s collective gasp in horror.)

But there came a point when things changed. Facebook bought Instagram for a cool billion dollars, but you knew the fun would end once facebook was involved. Starting last week Instagram photos were not being displayed on twitter streams, requiring clicking on the Instagram link to see the photo. And now the updated terms of use, which copy those of facebook, will make me stop using the service.

Yes, sure it is a free service, and they can have whatever terms of use they want. It is up to me, the user, to decide whether I accept them or not. And, sure owner facebook has to make money somehow. It is just that the way they are trying to make money is rubbing users the wrong way. It is a sneaky, indirect way. I suppose it would be OK if they just showed ads on my stream like FB does, but deciding they can sell my images because I am using their service is pretty disagreeable. Under the new terms of use, I am not using Instagram anymore. That simple.

I am now back to using flickr only. I’ve been using flickr much longer than I’ve been using Instagram, and I always posted my instagram photos on flickr too. flickr has certainly a different feel from Instagram. On flickr I am not that much into “faving” photos, or having too many contacts.  When I first started using flickr I didn’t use it as a social media tool, but rather as a central storing place. I see it more as a place to have all my photos I want to share with other people. I choose to pay for a pro flickr account. I pay $25 a year, I have unlimited photo and video uploads, unlimited number of photos in photostream, no ads. Plus the flickr app was recently updated with post-processing tools such as filters and basic edits, and there is an obvious turn to make it more of a social media and sharing site.

As I set my Instagram account to private and will never use again, I remember another service I liked a lot, but is not anymore, upcoming.org. That was a pretty cool free site where users were posting upcoming events and shows, and you could check what you were attending, as well as see what other users were attending. But then it was sold to yahoo!, and it got ugly and full of ads, and I don’t think anyone is using it anymore. On to the next thing.

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