I'm staying with you, Instagram, because I can't bear to leave.
Many people think that beauty is shallow; yet, I'm of the opinion that beauty is deep. It's my passion and thus my bias. I'm in love with the act of capturing beauty and thus, Instagram quickly stole my heart. To be able to take photos at any moment and transform them with well engineered filters into little pieces of art. To share them with others and to be inspired by infinitely creative eyes. To see streets from far away places, Indonesia, Sweden, Thailand, Brazil. To meet people who share your love for rust, empty fields and stormy skys.
Through it's simplicity, Instagram boils down the art of photography to the basics - to the process of being in the moment, seeing something mundane and turning it into art. As a photographer, it's the best way to stay in practice and hone your eye.
And for all of that, it's enough to stay. All of that has value that outweighs the end product itself.
As an app, Instagram has mastered the art of mobile phone photo sharing and that's what matters the most. It's simple and robust enough. In the photo app world what matters are: good filters, interface design, ease of use, ease of connecting and sharing with others, and the right balance of editing control (not too much, not too little.)
I love that it's free, not only because who doesn't love free, but because it's most inclusive that way. But if I have to pay to keep it pure and free from ads, I will. If advertisers want to use my photos, ugh, but fine, let more people see them. It's not worth the fuss and it's not necessarily evil. As Megan Auman of Designing an MBA quotes in her thoughtful post in response to Instagram's ToS, "The Internet, over the last handful of years, has set up the unreasonable expectation that we shouldn’t have to pay for things. Services, content, you name it. And it’s caused us to value things less and less. Like spoiled children, we just expect everything to be handed to us, yet we react in rage when we’re expected to give something back in return."
Value is the key word here. For me, Instagram has enough value to keep me around. Let's make sure it stays that way.