More Thoughts On Instagram With Video

After a day of using Instagram with its new video capabilities, I have a few more thoughts and concerns. First off, what about data usage? Video takes up significantly more data than photos, and many people are still confined to paltry 300MB/month data plans, or less. These people are used to using Instagram on a regular basis, and based on the people I know using these plans, they already run up against the very edge of their data allowances every month. With auto loading videos of up to 15 seconds, Instagram could easily be burning that data far faster than people are used to, and it doesn't take much more to push these plans over the limit. There is a setting to turn off auto-playing videos, but I didn't even notice that until John Gruber pointed it out, so I would be surprised if others who aren't actively trying to stop videos found it.

As for my own feelings after a day of use, I don't know that I would go as far as Gruber and say that Instagram is completely ruined, but video definitely feels detrimental to the experience. Most of the time I spend on Instagram is, similar to Twitter or, quickly scrolling through the photos, only fully stopping when something particularly interesting catches my eye. Now that type of skimming isn't possible. Not only do I have to stop to wait for videos to load and then play, but also the tiny video icon in the corner makes it hard to even identify a video when I'm scrolling at a quick pace. That means that all of my scrolling is slowed down in order to sort out videos from pictures, not just the time it takes to stop and watch them.

Even worse than the slower scolling speeds and quick stops is that, despite what Instagram may pretend, every video ever posted to the service will not be a beautiful masterpiece. In fact, the vast majority of videos posted will probably be boring, stupid and a massive waste of time, just like many of the average posts on Vine have become. Instagram, of course, has always been filled with a few gems surrounded by tons of terrible "selfies" and photos of nothing that I don't care about, just like Twitter, Facebook, and almost every other social media service. The advantage that Instagram has always had is that, being a service almost solely devoted to photos, it takes only a split second for my eyes to register whether it's a photo I want to scroll past or one I want to pause for to examine more closely. With the introduction of video, Instagram has lost that advantage. Now anytime a video pops up I have no way to tell whether or not it's worth watching until I wait sometimes upwards of fifteen seconds (including load time). That completely destroys the speed and simplicity that has always defined Instagram. Videos have changed the fundamental values that Instagram has always portrayed.