Whoever said capitalism breeds innovation can shut the fuck up because I am truly sick of every social media platform trying to copy each other when I use them for different things. Exhibit A: the new Instagram update which is an (unsuccessful) attempt at impersonating TikTok.

If you have not yet been cursed with the new Instagram update, consider yourself blessed.

I was unfortunately one of the first people in my circles to be burdened with it, and after having it for weeks I am completely turned off the app. I now only really use it to watch stories or reply to a DM. Scrolling? On Instagram? Consider it a thing of the past.

What is it about the new update that makes Instagram so heinous to use, you ask?

The scroll function on your home page/feed has now adjusted to a full-screen, continuous scroll like that of TikTok — and it appears to prioritise Reels over plain pictures or carousels.

Now when I use the app, I am presented with way more, mostly shitty Reels from creators that I barely interact with compared to the posts I actually care about — my friends’ Saturday night photo dumps. In my own experience, I’m seeing roughly three Reels for every one image post.

You also can’t mute the Reels that autoplay as you scroll either, which means I can no longer listen to music while scrolling through Instagram.

The whole thing is frustrating for a lot of reasons, the most obvious being that if I wanted to continuously scroll through videos, I would. On TikTok. You know, the platform designed specifically for this method of content consumption, which actually has a competent algorithm and doesn’t show me the same video posted by 11 meme pages in a row?

You know what I don’t use TikTok for? Keeping up to date with my friends lives. That’s why I use Instagram — it’s all about the social element for me. I want to see their photos and know what they’re up to, and ever since we all migrated from Snapchat that’s the only way I can (no, Facebook is not an option).

Speaking of Snapchat, let’s think back to when Instagram stole Stories from it: that was actually a good update because it encouraged behaviour that was already at the core of the app’s function.

It made sense to add another form of image sharing to an app used for image sharing — and it encouraged more intimate and friend-oriented use of the app. Plus, we were using Snapchat and Instagram for mostly the same purposes: to talk to our friends. So it made sense to streamline this use.

TikTok, on the other hand, satisfies a completely different niche than Instagram, at least for me.

TikTok is about watching content from people I don’t know — it’s not intimate at all. Its scope is wide and I don’t follow most of the people I consume content from — my FYP is randomised and tailored at the same time, in a way that is both depersonalised and also incredibly accurate.

Basically, I don’t use TikTok to socialise, I use it to consume. It’s not the same!

Metaverse is clearly deeply threatened by TikTok’s success but the answer is *not* ripping off the platform and hoping it competes with its audience that way.

Honestly, fuck the new update. Since when did ads and influencer content become more important to my feed than the actual people I follow?