City & Politics, Columns, Satire

Grumpy Young Man: Instagram and the end of the world

A couple weeks back, Instagram ignited mass outrage when it announced a policy change that appeared to clear the way for the online photo-sharing service to sell or at least share its users’ pictures without compensation or credit. “THOSE ARE MY PHOTOS… OF MY FOOD!” the Internet exclaimed furiously. Boycotts were threatened, people sued, Kardashians said they might quit, basically the world almost ended.

Now, I’ve never used Instagram. I almost did once, that was until I found out it wasn’t a speedy marijuana delivery service. But, I’m on your side Instagram users. It’s time to rise up and take back what isn’t ours anymore. I mean, do you want to live in a world where the photos you shared are shared? I know I don’t. If we let Instagram take our photos without permission, soon they’ll take everything and we’ll be left with nothing, NOTHING, except for real stuff. And where will we put our photos? Photo albums? Do they even make those anymore? I don’t think so.

Sarcasm aside, did you really think Instagram was providing a free service out of the goodness of their hearts? Now I understand your anger if you’re a professional photographer or even an aspiring one (although there seems to be a lot of those nowadays), but let’s face it, this is about suppers, silly cats and sunsets. Not a lot of pictures of sunrises though, I’ve noticed.

It’s also about babies. Instagramers are deeply concerned with their personal information, but have no problem peddling their progeny. Sometimes an infant image will be accompanied by additional detail. “Dylan is eight pounds and 18.5 inches long.” Really, the length of the baby? Hey, congratulations on little Dylan, HOW LONG IS HE?

When did we start treating children like trout? Really, 18.5 inches? Did you take a picture? I think that qualifies for a Master Angler. Although, measuring a newborn is probably a little like measuring a fish, you know, all squirmy and slippery. Then you drop it, it hits its head on the side of the boat and you have to keep it. I’m more of a catch and release guy myself.

Another thing people like to say on the old WWW is YOLO. For the unhip, YOLO is an acronym that means “you only live once.” Mostly, YOLO is just an excuse to do something stupid. “I’m going skydiving, YOLO.” Really, I’m NOT jumping out of a plane, because YOLO.

While we’re on the subject, what’s with the Twitter trend of referring to the city you’re in by its international airport code? “One more night in YYZ, then back to YWG.” Unless you’re a pilot, Rush or on some sort of worldwide airport tour, then just say you’re in Toronto. Oh and while you’re at it, stop saying “fam”, as in “Spending the holidays with the fam” or I’ll just assume you’re hanging with the Football Association of Malaysia.

Anyway, back to Instagram. Actually, away from Instagram. As I write this, thousands of people are flocking to Flickr, Yahoo’s photo sharing service which just released a new app in the hopes of appealing to angry Instagram users. Yet no one, or at least nobody I know of, has quit sharing their fingernail art, feet on the beach or cloud photos altogether.

Sometimes I do stuff without taking a picture of it. Crazy, right?

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Jared Story is a stand-up comedian and freelance writer. Yes, it’s a pen name. His real name is Dave, Dave Story. Follow him on Twitter at @jrockarolla.