12/3/2019

A Year Without Instagram

I quit Instagram one year ago today. To be precise, I quit posting photos to Instagram; I still open the app occasionally to look at what friends & family have posted. I rarely comment.

My hosted Micro.blog has replaced Instagram as the place I share glimpses into my life. Manton Reece & Jonathan Hays have done a fantastic job with Sunlit, the app I use to post photos to my microblog. It’s sufficiently robust, yet simple enough that it gets out of your way if you don’t want to edit photos in-app. (I prefer Darkroom for editing.) I use Jonathan LaCour’s microgram extension to create my microblog’s Photos page.

I like owning my own photos again. I’m a bit more selective about what I share — my Instagram account was friend-locked from the beginning — but not significantly so. Before our daughter was born, my wife and I decided we would not post photos featuring her face on social media until she was old enough to decide whether she wished this for herself. Despite hearing occasional comments to the effect of, Oh, that’s what she looks like now,” it’s a decision I’m glad we made. I won’t pretend there wasn’t some temptation early on, but I’m not even sure what could tempt me to do such a thing at this stage. Her life is hers to live, and I’ll do my best to honor that and keep her as free of identity mining entanglements as I can.

There’s one thing I miss: hearing from my friends when I post a photo. I miss the sense of connection with them, as most of them live outside my state, in some cases across the country or a continent away. I only know one other person in meatspace who has used Micro.blog. I’ve mentioned it to a few of them as an Instagram replacement when they’ve grumbled about that platform or its corporate owner, but I’m afraid my days of playing tech evangelist are over. I don’t have an appetite for that anymore, and to be honest, I think there are some remaining hurdles to switching to Micro.blog that some of my friends would balk at navigating. Big, privacy-breaching social media platforms have conditioned us to notice friction when we create accounts, because that means we are conditioned to the chutes they’re sending us down for shearing. I’m even more done with that than I am playing tech evangelist.

Tonight, after my daughter goes to bed, I plan to upload my Instagram archive to my microblog via Manson’s importer. I’ve had my archive ready for import for quite a while, but wanted to save it for today’s anniversary. I may not import every one of them, but I’m willing to bet that the majority of the 1500+ photos find their way to my blog.

Thanks to Manton and Jonathan for making the tools that I use to publish photos in a way that respects my ownership of them and my personhood.


Instagram Micro.blog photography social media


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Fifteen Years on the Journey Home Fifteen years ago today, I deployed to Iraq. In preparation, I bought my first digital camera1 and MP3 player2. I Tetris’d my gear into seabag so