Instagram is like Ditto the Pokemon. It takes from its competitors, copies their moves, and evolves into whatever is working against them. But much like Ditto, that ability only goes so far until something more original and innovative gives it a much-needed ass kicking.
Until now, Instagram has done an incredible job taking the best features from other social media networks and apps. When Snapchat started gaining popularity with filters and stories, Instagram seamlessly added filters and stories. Today, Instagram is trying to mimic that success by essentially adding everything that TikTok is doing. But, some experts think this might not be the best idea…
In an article on CNBC, former Facebook employee and now TikTok’s President of Global Solutions, Blake Chandlee, said the following about Instagram:
“They’ve built all their algorithms based on the social graph. That is their core competency. Ours is not.”
He goes on to make the distinction that Facebook is a social network and TikTok is not.
“We are an entertainment platform, the difference is significant. It’s a massive difference.”
If this language seems familiar it’s because Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri, ironically said in a recent Reel that users should start thinking of Instagram as an entertainment platform and not a photo sharing network.
The article also makes note of Facebook’s recent stock performance, which is down 52% on the year, underperforming the Nasdaq.
Now, it’s important to note that most tech stocks are down significantly, but this article seems to insinuate that TikTok’s success also has something to do with it as it continues to gobble up a significant portion of Instagram’s market share.
In the article, Chandlee also makes another interesting point about tech companies venturing outside of their lanes to squash their competitors. He references Google’s attempt at creating a social network with the complete failure that was Google+.
“It became clear Google’s value was search and Facebook was really good at social. I see the same thing now. We’re really good at what we do. We bring out these cultural trends and this unique experience people have on TikTok. They’re just not going to have that on Facebook unless Facebook entirely walks away from its social values, which I just don’t think it will do.”
Will Instagram’s attempt at being TikTok gain back some of that market share or will it end up pushing people away?
As an avid, loyal user of Instagram I have found this attempt to be TikTok increasingly frustrating. I like TikTok for what it is and Instagram for what it was. I don’t need two separate apps with the same type of content.
Over the last few months Instagram has been going through so many changes and updates that it is actively driving users off the platform. Engagement is all over the place, duplicate accounts are running rampant, and crypto spam floods the comments. The app is also very buggy. It constantly “shuts down” and always seems to have problems with audio, uploading, and video quality.
What I love(d) about Instagram is the variety of content you can create and consume. I want to see text-based posts, slideshows, photos, and memes. I want to see content from people I follow and see what my friends are doing. I like the social media, connectivity aspect of the app.
Right now, TikTok is the cool, trendsetter in culture and Instagram feels like a cringier, delayed wannabe. My feed is now flooded with 50 year-old Keller Williams agents pointing at captions instead of funny memes and my actual friends. That’s the worst part about it. It feels like most content on Instagram is now made to appease an algorithm. Why post a photo when you know Instagram won’t show it to anyone?
My final final thoughts
I still think Instagram is the best platform to host an audience and the best place to market yourself in the digital world. But, I think they are entering dangerous territory as they continue to alienate creators who may not want to buy a ring light and lip sync for the camera. What about photographers? What about artists? What about memers?
As a content creator, I understand the importance of evolving with content and how people want to consume it. So, I will continue to do whatever Instagram wants because it’s my business, I want to stay relevant, and I have no principles. But, I will also continue to build my brand on TikTok, YouTube, blogs, email, and any other platform that commands attention. I don’t want to be at the mercy of a single platform, especially one that seems overly obsessed with its competition and not its actual users. Basically, I think Instagram just needs to chill for a second and remember who brought em’ to the dance.