Instagram intrigued me from the very start. Long before I had a smartphone (or any desire for one) the one thing I felt I was missing was being able to see and share little square snapshots. When I finally caught up with the modern world and got a phone with a touchscreen, one of the first things I did was install Insta.
And for a long time, I really enjoyed it. I posted. I liked. I sought out people to follow. I quietly did not follow people who did not produce content I found interesting. My Instagram feed became something Twitter and Facebook could never be. It was beautiful. It was peaceful. It was full of stuff I actually cared about, and nothing more.
Well, that’s all over now. Instagram has aggressively rolled out ads and a “feature” called Recommended for You. These two changes have hideously altered my Instagram experience. I feel like a horde of drunken frat boys has invaded my private art gallery. The ads are everywhere. They are not at all on target. Half the time, they are videos that are massively visually distracting and not at all aligned with the content around them. Where I used to scroll through Instagram and feel transported to other places, enjoying my glimpses at life through the lenses of strangers, now I just see red. I systematically hide the ads, often before I even see them. But it does no good. There are always more.
Slowly, I am coming to accept a sad truth. The Instagram I loved is dead.
So now what?
I am not surprised by this, really. Instagram is free. Which means my attention is the product. This day always seems to come. With our culture’s joint refusal to pay for things we value and be content with anything other than relentless, continuous growth, whenever someone does manage to build something lovely and intimate, it is only a matter of time before it gets wrecked. I always warn my clients not to invest too heavily in producing content for social media. Platforms come and go. They change how you can reach your own followers. They make decisions to please investors rather than users. I know this. And yet I essentially abandoned blogging in favor of Instagram. I have over 800 posts on the platform.
I don’t want to lose all that content I’ve created. So I’ve moved it here. And I’m not cutting ties with Instagram entirely. I will post there still, but all my posts will be mirrored here. And I can say for sure I’m going to be browsing and liking a whole lot less.
Because Amateur Vaquero has evolved!
As of this post’s publication, this one single website includes my blog, Brian’s blog, all my Instagram photos, and a little bit about my horsecentric love stories. If you’re not familiar with those, what began a few years ago as a story about a fictional ranch called the Tipped Z has grown into a trilogy of Jane Austenesque novels. (They just revolve around horses instead of the English aristocracy.) They are lighthearted and quick to read, and my emphasis is on inserting the horses in a realistic way actual horse people will appreciate. And actually they’ve been so well received I’ve decided to try to produce one a year as long as there is interest.
But don’t worry. This is still mostly going to be a place where I post updates (in pictures as well as words) about our little herd of horses in Iowa and what we are getting up to.
Having now spent more hours than I really care to count creating this new platform, I am hoping I will be motivated to use it. 🙂