Life After Instagram

UPDATE: Found this link through someone I follow on Twitter via TheVerge.com: No, Instagram can't sell your photos. Good information.

UPDATE FROM INSTAGRAM: Here's a blog post from Instagram addressing the changes.

I will admit, when I first tried to read the terms of service (TOS) that Instagram updated, I was a little spooked.

What? They can see what device I'm using? They can tell where I am!? They're going to give this information to "their affiliates?!?!?"

It was awfully, terribly naive of me to think that there was no way my information (or what little I think I'm giving) wasn't going to be used for revenue and I got all up-in-arms about the service.

Rabble rabble! I'm totally quitting Instagram! Rabble Rabble f*** Facebook!

SO naive!

With every 10 outraged tweets or status updates, there was at least one that made a good point and that point is this: as if the internet gave a crap about my cruddy pictures of my food that they'd want to sell it. Or as Yazoo was quoted as saying in this Forbes article about the new TOS, "if you can sell those, more power to ya."

Am I bothered that I won't be given money or any sort of compensation if my mug were to be used without my knowledge in some ad that could make them billions of dollars? Yes. Should i be surprised? Not at all. The internet is the proverbial heart on a sleeve. The more you share, the more vulnerable you are and while this isn't at all a consolation, at least Instagram warned us first so it's not like they sold the images and then came back with "Oops! *shrug* Forgiveness before permission amirite?"

Here's what's got everyone in a tizzy:

"Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you." (from Instagram's new TOS/Privacy Policy)

Let's take a closer look at this for a second. And mind you I'm not a lawyer so I could be completely missing the mark with my interpretation of this but the way I see it (now) they're  saying "hey, if you click on a sponsored ad or an advert you see while using our app, that business that paid us for this service in return for their money to keep us afloat will be given that information and you won't be compensated for it." I could be wrong but I've read this over and over and that's the best-case scenario explanation. What I'm trying to say is, it's not that bad.

But if that's not good enough for you, especially if you're constantly posting pictures of yourself or your kids or your friends and you're afraid you'll see your face plastered somewhere, quit Instagram. Or how about you start small and just STOP TAKING PICTURES OF YOURSELF. Stick to food or animals or whatever else you feel the need to X-Pro II filter-fy.

Instagram is free. Just like Facebook, it's become something you use way too often in one day FOR FREE. It's also a good lesson in nothing is ever actually free and that everything comes at a price but you didn't pay anything for it and they have to keep the lights on. I'm not defending what they're doing but this is how I'm making sense of the situation.

Starting January 16th, that price I pay may or may not be the picture of my friend's baby I just posted to the people who follow me. I sure as hell didn't work hard for that picture, I didn't whip out my DSLR, then process it in Photoshop and then process it some more in Instagram, so (let's be honest here) to ask that I be compensated because I used one of their filters that they worked hard to create is kind of ludicrous. It's easy to get indignant and I did get caught up in this groupthink we call social media. But next time there's a new TOS or privacy policy from an app or site you frequent, just read it through first and, more importantly, THINK it through before talking a big game like I did and then later on try to backpedal which is really hard to do when I've got a foot stuck in my mouth.

If you're sure you want off Instagram, here are a few of my favorite photo editing/sharing apps for iPhones.

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