#instagreed #instafraud #protest @instagram. Why is such a large segment of the creative community that populates instagram up in arms over the proposed change of TOS? Clearly, there is widespread sentiment that the change will somehow quash the creative spirit, that the community will somehow dissipate, that the connections we’ve made with other IGers all over the world will be twisted, cheapened, commercialized.
To understand the sadness, it’s important to recognize that the underlying impulse that drove instagram to success is a facet of what I’ve come to call the treeistic impulse. It’s the impulse to create, to share, to connect, and to articulate. It’s the impulse in each of us to find our voice in whatever medium we can, whether it’s through a photograph, a short poem, a “like” on someone else’s photo, or just a decision to encourage someone else’s artistic output by following them.
It’s the impulse to create a journal, a diary, a chronological history of our lives. An artist friend of mine has gotten into the habit of documenting the life cycle of each of his pieces through instagram. From custom motorcycle tanks, to paintings, to a photographic series, each was documented, step by step, and his followers gained a deeper appreciation for the end product and the process. In the context of art, it’s a little bit like establishing the “provenance” of an antique. When there’s a story attached to it, the value, both economic and otherwise, tends to increase.
My own journey on instagram has been similar. Through my photos, I created a running journal of my life. In addition to sharing the photos with friends and family, I was creating a log of my life events. Favorite pictures of my daughter would go up on IG. In my heart, I hoped that even if not a single person liked my photos today, my daughter would one day treasure the feed as a keepsake of her childhood, and perhaps her own descendants would one day look back at her childhood through my eyes. Likewise, my photos have documented buildings, graffiti, friends, sunsets. My instagram feed has become a way to document the things in which I have found beauty or significance, and to share them with my community, now and in the future.
As I posted more, I made more friends on the site. People I’d never met in person, folks living in Turkey, and Sweden, and Thailand. People making art in Chile, in Mexico, in New York. I became connected to them, I followed them and took inspiration from their work. Some of them followed me, too. My instagram feed became a laboratory for trying new things, expressing myself in new and different ways and seeing others do the same.
On instagram, I’ve seen soul-wrenching work from people I’ve never appreciated the depth of in real life.
It’s for all the reasons above, and no doubt countless more that I’ve failed articulate, that the threat of commercialization and destruction scares me so much. However, I know that all of the above is NOT just a random, one-time event. It is the treeistic impulse, ever expressing itself in new and creative ways.
If Instagram dies, the impulse will not. I am confident that we will see it manifest in new and astounding ways that draw us closer together and give each us a stronger, clearer voice. In turn, our collective voice will become stronger and clearer also.
That’s what this whole treeism thing is all about.