Why? Apparently “nearly one in five photos or videos people post aren’t in the square format,” according to Instagram’s blog post introducing the change. To capitalize on frustrated users who wanted to upload their panoramas or Snapchats without being confined to the square, Instagram has literally expanded its [mobile] horizons.
But there’s a problem with that. In appealing to this 20% of users, Instagram has effectively ditched its signature look (and, one could argue, its most defining feature), surrendering the very form itself to another social media channel:
On top of that, and probably one of the largest reasons the app took off in the first place — the square format was nostalgic. The ability to harken back to the days of snapping a Polaroid picture (sh-sh-sh-shake it) and getting the similarly instant feedback on a mobile phone was novel and addicting for a new generation.
Further, I hate to go all word-nerd on you, but it’s what we do here at BlogMutt.
Squares are clean. Fair. And other synonyms like equal, even, and straightforward.
Antonyms? Deceiving, en vogue, and popular.
Instagram has succumbed to what’s popular and “stylish” instead of standing their ground. Among the culprits of pushing this decision along is the ubiquitous popularity of Snapchat, which is dominated by vertical photos and videos. But honestly, how much longer is Snapchat going to be a thing? I can’t predict the future, but I can tell you Instagram’s life span is going to be longer than that.
In giving into what the 20% of rogue portrait and landscape renegades have yearned for (but still didn’t abandon Insta, mind you), the other four out of five who’ve adopted and sworn by the square will no longer have the OCD-compliant browsing experience they’ve come to know, love, and defend.
Hope you’re happy, Instagram.
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