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Worth more than a thousand words

Guest Post by Adam Pierno

It’s been a while since the internet nearly bashed the life out of Instagram. I miss it. Let’s get back to it, shall we? Kidding. I don’t care much about their terms, or about the debacle which they caused merely by updating them a bit carelessly. I didn’t delete my account, and I don’t plan on doing so. But many folks did delete their accounts. Usage dropped dramatically and is still way down from its peak.

Here’s the biggest thing they did wrong. They gave users a reason to think about the user value of the app. And they even gave users a comparative value to hold up against their product. And the product didn’t hold up very well when compared by many users.

Instagram is a shiny and delightful time-killer. I have loved it. During super-storm Sandy, it nearly reached mass media vehicle status. But not quite. It was one of the first apps that illustrated for me the potential of mobile. I so enjoyed thumbing through my feed, I rarely spent a moment thinking about the time I was wasting or the meaning of what I was doing, nevermind the growing database of images to which I was contributing.

After reading the initially revised terms of service (they’ve since backed off of the ‘all of your picture belong to us’ stance) I looked at my own library. I actually saw my kids grow up as I scrolled. Literally, baby pictures of my son; he sleeps, he smiles, he sits, he stands, he walks, he runs, he breaks his arm. I read the comments attached to each, many from people I barely or didn’t know at all.

And for the first time, I spent a minute thinking about the deal I made with Instagram. And so did a ton of users. Ultimately, here’s what I decided. I paid 2 bucks for the app. I got a lot of entertainment out of it and thought I would have paid as much as 10 bucks for it. So I decided that if the people at Instagram wanted to make a deal for my images, I could share the child-neutral images in my library. You want to potentially monetize my pics of mountains in Arizona, or the Flatiron building? They’re yours. You earned them. But I deleted the images of my kids, my wife. The images that meant the most to me, personally.

And ultimately, as I’ve said, I didn’t delete the app. But I did consider how much time I spent on Instagram. And thought about what else I could have been doing with that time. Even the extra time spent uploading an image would have been just fine in my own picture library. And I haven’t logged back in since that day.

Adam Pierno is a Creative Director and Brand Strategist. He’s worked all over the US solving problems with brands you use every day. He’s the founder of Hunting The Spark and has incredibly beautiful children.