Pro photographer Peter McKinnon posted a great video on his YouTube channel about how photographers like him aren’t being served well by Instagram any longer. I won’t rehash the outrage brought on by the Instagram team’s incremental changes to the app over the years, but starting with the algorithmic timeline in 2016 it’s been clear that their priorities are out of whack with their longest-serving community members.
McKinnon talks about how back in the day he’d post to a self-run blog, but that was cumbersome and hard to get eyeballs on, so he started posting to Instagram instead. All was good for a while, with a steadily increasing follower count and hundreds of thousands of likes on each post, and then Instagram’s priorities shifted and the attention he received dropped off sharply. He then goes on to say that he’s shifting his attention to Vero, one of the smaller upstarts in the social media space.
I’ll give it to you straight—Vero isn’t coming to save you. If you’re a creator who cares about building an audience, social media sites shouldn’t be treated as any more than the first step of the sales funnel. You have to meet your customer where they are, and right now they’re all on Instagram and TikTok, so by all means have accounts there; but as we’ve been saying in the tech industry for year’s now, you have to own your bits. Start that blog, maintain a mailing list, write your own app, do something that can’t be controlled by someone who isn’t you. Otherwise, you’ll always be beholden to the whims of platform owners.