Why I’m Wrong About These Things That Are Wrong With Instagram

Wouldn’t a native regram feature be nice? How about the ability to add links? Easier multiple account management? An Instagram wish list.

This year marked a return for me to Instagram, where my account had largely been dormant. I’ve greatly enjoyed my time on the service, but I find several things maddening. Here’s what I see wrong with the Instagram, despite its great success.

You Can’t Regram Natively

If I see something awesome on Twitter or Facebook, it’s easy for me to share that with others. On Instagram, there’s no such luck. If I want to “regram” an image, I either need to use a third-party tool or make a copy and credit the originator.

Neither is satisfactory. Moreover, as The Awl points out today, it leads to possible copyright infringement or failure for originators of great content to accrue proper credit.

Come on. Add the feature already. It can’t be that hard. Also, Snapchat — where’s the “resnap” for stories that I so desperately want?

You Can’t Link

You know who’s awesome on Instagram? National Geographic. Here’s a great article on how it has amassed nearly 20 million followers by allowing over 100 of its photojournalists to post to its account.

Those posts are also often accompanied by mini-essays that describe that amazing nature photo you’re seeing:

national geographic on instagram

That’s wonderful, but what if you want even more? Like, perhaps a link to the National Geographic website where maybe there’s a longer article or something?

Instagram doesn’t do links, not in posts. It’s kind of absurd. It forces account holders to say things like “follow my bio link” and then, in turn, constantly be changing that bio link to point to relevant content.

For our Marketing Land account on Instagram, we use a standard link in our bio that leads to a page with everything we’ve shared on Instagram, a page we call Marketing Land Stories On Instagram:

Marketing Land Stories On Instagram

It works, but it’s a kludge. Just allow people to add a link. Sometimes, a picture really isn’t worth a 1,o00 words but a link to 1,000 words is.

No Images In Twitter

Some time ago, Twitter and Instagram had a little dust-up. Now, you can’t view Instagram pictures natively on Twitter. As a result, three things happen:

  1. People don’t post images to Twitter
  2. People waste time posting both places
  3. People post to Instagram and share only a link out to Twitter

Congrats, Instagram — you win for those who do the first. But not everyone does, creating the annoyances of two and three.

I’m the person who typically does the second, post to both places. If Instagram would let Twitter display my Instagram pictures natively, I’d sure love that. It would save me time, plus it would cause me to share things from my Instagram profile much more on Twitter.

I rarely do the last, because I hate people who do it. The last thing I want in my Twitter feed is an Instagram link that causes me to jump from one app to another to see a picture that may or may not be that great.

If you want the history behind this, Twitter stopped letting Instagram access who someone follows on Twitter. Instagram responded by pulling native photo display from Twitter. How about pushing the reset button and sorting it all out?

Tag Madness

One of the great things about Google is that you don’t sit around thinking about all the variations of a topic you’re interested in, if you want to find something. You search for a topic like “drones” and trust that Google will find the best that matches, even if someone writes “drone” or “quadcopter” on their pages.

On Instagram, “#drone” and “#drones” are going to bring back different things even though they are on exactly the same subject:

instagram drones

When I tag something, because of this, I have to add in all these different variations. It’s annoying. It’s stupid. It’s unnecessary. At least let hashtags do pluralization and stemming. Give all your Millennial users technology that came in during the last millennium.

Having said this, I absolutely love the new Instagram search and explore features you launched recently. Love them.

Suggest Tags On iPhone

If I have to deal with tag madness, at least make it easier when I’m using the iPhone. Consider on Android, if I start to type a tag:

instagram suggestions on android

I love it. You suggest tags related to what I’ve typed and how many posts there are for that already. Love it, love it, love it!

Now here’s the iPhone:

instagram no suggestoins on iphone

All you do is suggest tags I’ve already used before. I have no clue if I’m using the “right” or popular tag for a post. Help me help you.

How About An iPad Version?

Who doesn’t love using Instagram on their iPad because of this fun two-step process:

  1. Rotate to vertical, because Instagram doesn’t do landscape
  2. Hit the 2X button

OK, the second step can be omitted once you’ve done it the first time. But it’s a pain. Instagram is glorious on the iPad because you can finally see pictures BIG! So give us an iPad version.

Oh, and while we’re talking iPad — hey Twitter, let us upload video from the iPad. It’s overdue.

Upload From Desktop

I know. It’s a mobile first world. But since you do have a desktop site, why not allow uploading from there?

Do you really think it’s fun that if there’s some picture on desktop, we have to email it to ourselves in order to add it to Instagram. Or find some other way? And don’t get me started when talking about video.

Give us desktop upload. Think of how much it’ll help Throwback Thursday.

And Now, A Word From Others…

I tweeted a few of my Instagram pet peeves today and wow, that touched a nerve. Seems there are a few other things people would like you to fix. Here are some of them:

Better Scheduling

You’ve made some progress here, but clearly more can be done:

Multiple Account Management

I only post from my own account, so this hasn’t been an issue for me. But those who have to deal with multiple accounts really don’t like your lack of support:

I’m Wrong About All This!

My headline for this story is why I’m wrong about feeling Instagram is wrong about these problems. That’s tongue-in-cheek but also serious. Lacking these features has clearly not stopped Instagram’s incredible popularity. You can even find people replying to me that they’re happy with how things are:

As I said, I’m still a relative newcomer. While my account’s over three years old, it’s only been this year that I’ve been really active on the service. So who am I to say what’s wrong! It’s clearly a success. It’s also a success that I’ve learned to love, from the ease of editing and sharing video, to thinking about sharing pictures in a space devoted to that, to seeing what others share.

But I’m Not Wrong

Still, c’mon. Native regramming at the very least is something you should add, as well as support for links. Just one little link? Please?

Oh, and I’d sure love if you’d let me be “dannysullivan” on the service. I’ve been asking for over a year. It’s an inactive account, which violates your inactive username policy. If you’re going to have a policy, enforce it, for me, for others, for your users.

In the meantime, I’ll keep on enjoying the service and sharing at sullivandanny. And you all should enjoy this classic video that I found an excellent introduction to Instagram:

(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)