I feel like they pulled the rug out from underneath all of their users. There’s no way to opt out of this new wrinkle other than deleting your account. If you do so before Jan. 16, your images are safe from the new terms. While they say they don’t own user uploaded content, users “hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service.”
It used to be that advertisers would have to ask explicit permission to use content, that is no longer the case. Your face or images could end up on a billboard or on a Facebook ad. You have no control over that and will receive no compensation or credit.
Did I mention that minors are not exempt?!? By signing up to use the service, they are acknowledging that a parent has agreed to let them use Instagram and that their content may be used for advertising purposes. Because you know that teens ask their parents before downloading and using an app. Secondly, I will bet that neither teens nor parents will really understand the impact of this change.
I want to know why they can change their rules mid stream? I will hear back from lawyer friend later today but I know she’s not going to have anything to say that will make me happy.
My view is that everything you say, do, and post is public information. But I really don’t like the games they are playing with people that don’t understand their legal rights and when they are being ruthlessly taken away. I’ve never been a privacy advocate but this one takes the cake. The fact that minors are being taken advantage of is the part that really gets me worked up.
If you want to be exempt from this, delete your account. If you keep it, know that pictures of you or your children are fair game.
So shortly after I wrote this blog, Instagram backpedaled.
“Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.”
When I spoke to a lawyer about it, I expressed that what I think is a major concern for users is that while it is a public platform, no one wants to feel like a product. Offering your content for free is one thing but if Instagram were to try to make a profit off of their user’s images, it would upset many of them. This is what I think Instragram feels the need to clear up.
I frequently hear this statement, “Go find a college student/teenager/young person to do your social media. They are young. They know how to do this better than I do.” What’s your reaction to that? Does it sound right to you? If I were to swap out social media for a car, do you think it would be the same? Just because they are young and social media is new doesn’t mean they know how to use it well.
It’s your brand. Are you prepared to give complete control to a teenager?
I learned about New York City’s first digital officer, Rachel Sterne (@rachelsterne), recently. She is only the world’s second person to have such a title. The New York Times article talking about the challenges she faces highlight the new frontier that government is entering into. She is helping one of the most iconic cities in the world transform their digital face and interaction with citizens. For such an important role, I would consider her young at 28 (I’m 34 and still considered a baby by many). She is constantly asked the question why she deserves a 6 figure salary when a high schooler could do it for free. (I love her ability to graciously navigate this fairly offensive question.)
Sure, go get yourself a neighbor kid to manage your digital reputation. What could go wrong?
Just because it’s new, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Stop underestimating the power and degree of difficulty involved in social media. Make sure you do your homework, research your target audience, craft communications that will resonate, and deploy your plan. Regardless of your tool, the strategic plan is the same.
I dare you to give a 16 year old a car but don’t give them any information about the rules of the road or a map. Tell ‘em to just wing it. Teach yourself, kid. How well do you think that would work out? Just think about the damage that could do. So why do we think that kids (not to mention adults) and computers will just “figure it out”?
I get really worked up when I think about the state of technology in our schools. How can we expect that our children will be prepared to face the hi-tech world outside of their school walls? When they graduate from high school, will the be adept at the tools they will find in the workplace? Are they able to speak the language, navigate data, and keep themselves safe? Will they even be able to find jobs? No No No No No and No. They have no opportunities in which to be prepared. If the teachers don’t know, then how can they arm our future breadwinners with the skills they’ll need to survive in this increasingly digital world? The more I think about it, the more upset I get.
I wish I could go door to door and teach the teachers. Get them up to speed on what’s available (see Social Media in the Classroom), work them through their fears so that they can figure out ways that they can use these amazing tools in their classrooms. Essays in blogs, language learning via video conference, literary discussions in collaborative digital classrooms, higher math assistance available on streaming video, mobile applications that allow you to “adopt a creek” and report statistical data regarding the biosphere, architectural designs tested via augmented reality and 3D rendering software. All available. All begging to be played with. All limited only by our imaginations.
We need to teach them them how to research, develop, communicate, program, build, compute, be productive and stay safe. These skills are only going to become more necessary. There simply has to be a way to gear up and get these people they skills they need. Our financial livelihoods and economy depends on it. You wouldn’t dream of handing a kid keys to a vehicle and not training him how to use it. Carnage will follow.
The 7 C’s of Social Media by Dose of Digital
- Communication (public relations)
- Cause support (philanthropy)
- Contests (game metric)
- Collaboration (thought leadership)
- Connecting others (networking)
- Customer service (listening)
- Community building (loyalty)
Reputation Management Tools
- Go on the offensive by having your own web presence.
- Buy your own domain name at GoDaddy. Domains average about $11 per year. If you buy more than one year, it gets cheaper (buying in bulk savings).
- Start writing your own blog (it’s free!) using Blogger or WordPress. There are others. Just start writing, posting, and putting your words out there.
- Set up Google Alerts to be aware of your name (or Twitter handle or blog URL etc.) when it appears on the web.
Examples of What Can Be Done With *Simple* Tools
- Pen & Paper. William Shakespeare did alright with these tools.
- Screwdriver. Build a house, a car, a robot, a spacestation. Just a screwdriver? I think not.
- Web Presence. A little website by the name of WikiLeaks was able to make web presence go from inconsequential to shaking the walls of governments around the globe.
- Blog. Mark Zuckerberg wrote a blog while he wrote the code for the original version of Facebook. It’s now considered historical record.
- Facebook. A great way to connect with friends, family, customers, and supporters of your cause or organization. Some dismiss it as silly and a waste of time but what if it aids in a revolution?
- Twitter. Yet another tool that people accuse of being a waste of time. I see it as a way to learn, connect, grown, stay informed, and be at the cusp of everchanging news. The new term to know? Citizen Journalism.
- Kinect. On the surface it’s a game. But technologists and designers are barely wrapping their brains around what this new application can do for us.
- YouTube. This is the video search engine owned by Google. The power of video simply can’t be denied. Capture what is happening, post, and expose it to the world (literally). Video can change everything. (See Aimee Mullin’s video on TED.com)
What do you see that needs to be changed? What kind of a difference can you make in your community. What *simple* tool can you take advantage of? Just think of the possibilities.
AVG, an internet security company, did a study and it turns out that 92% of US children have a digital footprint….before they are two years old.
About once a week I say out loud that I am grateful I had my daughter before Facebook went mainstream. I was using Myspace when she was a baby but that environment wasn’t really about family. I just know that I would’ve uploaded a ridiculous amount of pictures and been an “over sharer” (that’s NOT a veiled dig at anyone I know!). The reason I joined Facebook originally was to keep up to date with a girlfriend that moved to rural Canada. I had to wait for it to leave the university system so I could join to see pictures and videos she posted. I feel like I watched her son grow up via social networking. Due to our distance, there’s no other way we could’ve shared that much. [Article about Lance Armstrong's unborn child's Twitter account.]
My husband is on the opposite side of the social spectrum from me and has a higher level of privacy requirements than do I. Every time I post a picture or make a comment about my really really personal life, I think to myself, “What would Dan do?” (and I think of the WWJD bracelets ). Bottom line is I have a little girl and a family to consider. It’s not always about me. Sometimes it’s about prudence and safety. I don’t want to lose sight of the reason I use Facebook and other tools, to connect more deeply and regularly with my family and friends.
We are all looking to find a balance. Just remember…you are the guardian of your child’s reputation and name until they can screw it up for themselves.