Ninety-five per cent of social media users should hand over their keys; they’re too drunk on self-importance to drive.

This beats your Instagram series titled My Typewriter From All Angles… Picture: Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, 1962. From the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

Without overstating this, the desperate outrage over Instagram’s policy changes is, according an official study, the biggest overreaction of all time.

Last week a troubled young man shot up a classroom full of young kids. The US and Europe are teetering on the edge of economic collapse. Oh, and tomorrow the WORLD IS GOING TO END (maybe*). Yet millions of would-be insta-hipsters have found a true source of genuine outrage; they’re threatening to boycott a free social networking service because they’re under the impression their photos are worth something.

“They used my Nashville filter shot from the Enmore on Saturday! How dare those thieves, those capitalists, those philistines!”

THIS JUST IN: You’re not that talented. So when Instagram - a high-value, FREE, social network - has the nerve to ask for one of your photos for the purposes of self-promotion, you should damn well let them. For the privilege of using their technology - all that deliciously flared Instagram hipstamatica - you’ve paid precisely $0.

You think you’re an individual. An avant-garde trailblazer. But you’re not. There are millions of other ironic portraits of gourmet fish tacos from that cute little place in Northcote.

And Instagram’s not the only problem. People have been moaning about Facebook and Twitter - two other FREE services - for years. So if you don’t like it - hand over your keys.

Let’s streamline our social networks for 2013. And if we’re to be successful, here are the five social media fouls that have to go:

1. Menial Facebook updates: “I just got back from Coles and MAN that line was long! Don’t know if I’ll have the energy for Zumba in the morning….. #tired.” No-one cares. Shut it down.

2. Instashams: “This gorgonzola twist is totes gorg. Mwah xo.” Thanks for posting that still of a wheel of cheese and making it slightly brighter. You’re a regular Andy Warhol.

3. Hate Tweets: “Oh hey @christoforpaine do sum research! Ur a pathetic jurnlist lol! U shud be ashamedz!” Two things: 1) Learn to spell; 2) Delete your account.

4. LinkedIn reminders: “Chris Paine - Tory Maguire connected to you 28 days ago. Please accept her invitation!” I don’t need LinkedIn to verify my professional tie with The Boss. We’re all good (right, Tors?) And I’m getting to it. I have Christmas shopping to do. [Ed’s note: for the record, I haven’t logged on to my Linkedin account for approximately four years.]

5. LOOK AT MY BABY: The rest of us only want to see your baby photo if a) the kid is abnormally cute; b) they’re doing something that people other than the mother and grandmother would find funny; and c) you’ve given it an edgy caption. Otherwise just keep it for your inner circle. Besides - do you really want us seeing it anyway if we don’t truly appreciate how mega-awesome-adorable-cute-IQ178-“OMG a friend of a friend said he could be a baby model because of his high cheekbones, which he gets from me” your little one is? Lock it up. [Ed’s note #2: I may have been guilty of this].

*Probably not.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDT.

Most commented


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    • Teenager says:

      09:23am | 20/12/12

      Andy Warhol?  Did he work on Family Guy?

    • dancan says:

      09:46am | 20/12/12

      I think it was Bevis and Butthead

    • subotic says:

      10:18am | 20/12/12

      The gay version of Sponge Bob Squarepants?

    • Nostromo says:

      10:21am | 20/12/12

      I think his best work/inspiration was Flesh For Frankenstein, with Blood For Dracula a close second. <EG>

      Those kiddies & their social wetworking today he he.

    • My Space says:

      01:30pm | 20/12/12

      Naah!!! Andy Warhol was a conman who convinced people with too much money that he was an artist. Though I must admit that some of his work is better than a lot of crap that is produced today

    • Markus says:

      09:29am | 20/12/12

      If Instagram are attempting to reserve the right to use any and all uploaded photos for commercial purposes, then obviously some of them are worth something.

      Offering a free service does not give a company a free pass to disregard intellectual property law, especially in regard to photos that were uploaded when such a clause was not agreed to in the Terms and Conditions.

    • AdamC says:

      09:38am | 20/12/12

      Yeah, this wasn’t very funny.

      However, I agree with the poorly-expressed sentiments. As I noted yesterday, you give free-to-use social networking sites ownership of your stuff as consideration for access to the service. If anyone thinks their photography is actually worth something, they should simply not post them on social networking sites who take ownership of the images.

      I mean, if you are that great a photographer (or writer, or artist, whatever) shouldn’t your works be appearing in galleries or Booker Prize shortlists rather than on social media?

    • CP says:

      10:25am | 20/12/12

      The hyphen between poorly and expressed is redundant.

    • Testfest says:

      12:15pm | 20/12/12

      I have to admit, as comebacks go, that was a good one.

      Possibly funnier than the article, right Adam? wink

    • Pedro says:

      12:22pm | 20/12/12

      None of you IS Andy Warhol

    • AdamC says:

      01:07pm | 20/12/12

      Chris, I guess you got me there!

      I also used ‘them’ when I should have used ‘it’.

      Testfest, I agree on both points.

    • Chris L says:

      09:55am | 20/12/12

      “when Instagram - a high-value, FREE, social network - has the nerve to ask for one of your photos for the purposes of self-promotion, you should damn well let them”

      Ah, no. If Instragram are asking/demanding they be able to use customer possessions for advertising there must be some value to them. Copyright laws may be vague, but they side with the photographer in such cases.

      Instagram get their money by feeding advertising to the masses that use the service. Those people are paying be seeing those ads. Instagram is not a charity, nor are their customers.

      Besides, the news articles were good advertising for them. I’d never heard of the service before.

    • Tom says:

      10:51am | 20/12/12

      if you are not paying for it, you are not the customer. You are the product being sold.

    • Andrew says:

      11:26am | 20/12/12

      Exactly Tom, that is what people don’t understand, the users are not the customers at all, it is the advertisers that are the customers

      You are the product of these social networks, Facebook, Twitter etc make money by selling access to you or your information. They will continue pushing the boundaries on privacy as they need this to increase their revenue especially as networks start getting to a critical mass where new members coming on board start to decrease and current members start using it less.

      Should Instagram pay for the right to use photos? Probably they should, however i dare say somewhere in the fine print of the terms of agreement you accept when you join these thigns but never read there will be something about Instagram having some type of ownership right over the photos uploaded to its service.

      Will they? No, because they don’t need to. As happens with Facebook every year, people will complain about their privacy and then go back to updating everyone whjat they had for lunch or dinner, which makes Facebook even happier as now they can sell that information to Woolowrths and Coles as to things that particular demographic likes to eat and where it is.

    • iansand says:

      10:01am | 20/12/12

      You may be right, but off the top of my head photos of mine that have been found on flickr have been used for or in:

      2 record labels
      At least 5 books
      Qantas website (bastards stole it and I had to chase them for compensation)
      New Zealand TV 3 website (bastards stole it and I had to chase them for compensation)
      Mosman Council for a brochure
      5 books
      New York Magazine
      Smithsonian Institute blog
      An Argentinian computer catalogue (why those guys thought an Aussie surfboat was suitable is of of life’s larger mysteries)
      Various educational blogs and other sites
      A gazillion private blogs, Pinterest and other pages (the photos are Creative Commons, so permission is not required for non-commercial use)
      A National Library of Australia roadshow
      An Alpine National Park website
      Various academic publications
      The Body Shop blog
      And heaven knows what else.

      In all I have probably made a tad over $1,000 for all of that, but I have made absolutely no effort to sell apart from putting them on flickr.

      As I understand the Instagram rights grab it was not simply a licence to display on the site, but a grab for the rights to sell the rights to photos posted on the site without anything going back to the poster.  My $1,000+ may be paltry in the scheme of things, but I would much rather it be mine than Facebook’s.

    • fml says:

      10:04am | 20/12/12

      “has the nerve to ask for one of your photos for the purposes of self-promotion, you should damn well let them.”

      No you shouldn’t.

      The sentiment of this article is absurd. YOUR work has no value therefore you should let others steal it and use it to make money.

      NO, Mr Paine.  Irrespective of the monetary value of your work or lack of significance. Your work belongs to you.

      Are you really advocating that large corporations should be allowed to use your image, work and ideas without your permission for monetary gain?

      If that being the case, i am going to take your punch avatar and place it on cans of aeroguard and sell it as hipster spray.

      A spray a day keeps the hipster away!

    • subotic recommends guns for every solution says:

      11:22am | 20/12/12

      A spray a day keeps the hipster away!

      Bullets to the head from a high-powered automatic weapon work a treat too!

    • Semi concerned Citizen says:

      02:44pm | 20/12/12

      Subotic “topical name inserted here.” At first i thought it was too soon but then I chuckled.

    • K^2 says:

      10:10am | 20/12/12

      Hardly matters if you are Andy Worhol or not, if someone wants to use YOUR intellectual property to make profit from it, whether its the best snap in the world or not, then they should have to pay you for your work.  Just because you use their “repository” to show it to other people, does not make it their work.  Much as I think instagram is a waste of space and time, and wouldnt use it myself, I’d expect to be paid if an image was being used for commercial purposes.

    • Alice says:

      10:11am | 20/12/12

      AGREE -  so glad I’m not the only one who hates those self-invovled status updates and poor spelling. your and you’re are my two pet gripes, closely followed by there and their.

    • Anubis says:

      11:10am | 20/12/12

      Their Their Alice. Please don’t get you’re knickers in a knot over this. Maybe your being a bit sensitive about peoples misuse of the English language.

    • transmutephoto says:

      10:13am | 20/12/12

      I actually make money selling my photography online (won’t be retiring on it though), and I also use Instagram. I don’t see what the fuss is about, the TOS change is pretty similar to what Facebook and LinkedIn have in place. The main purpose of these terms is to allow them to use the images, not third parties. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the ‘I’m leaving’ post on social media sites, print-on-demand and gallery sites over some change or other. Well freakin’ leave already without the gratuitous ‘look at me, I need validation’ post. Instagram is hardly a haven of original artistic expression, there are about 3 or 4 of my original images that have been repeatedly copied without attribution by other users. As if Instagram is going to be using your crappy pictures of your cat, cleavage or sandwich anyway.

    • subotic is anti-social says:

      10:17am | 20/12/12

      I can’t believe Warhol got his own 15.


    • iansand says:

      11:07am | 20/12/12

      FWIW, this was the proposed clause:

      “2. Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”

      That is a hell of a lot more than the licence required to display content on the Instagram site.

    • rickibarnes says:

      11:26am | 20/12/12

      I don’t think social media is free at all - I think it simply works on a barter system. In exchange for the using your service, I am giving you data about me and time spent using your service - both of which are manifestly commodities, or Facebook et al wouldn’t be able to make any money.

    • My Space says:

      01:26pm | 20/12/12

      Social media runs on money paid by advertisers on the hope that the users take note of their bland advertising on the adjacent columns ..... similar to that found somewhere on this web page

    • rickibarnes says:

      11:27am | 20/12/12

      I don’t think social media is free at all - I think it simply works on a barter system. In exchange for using your service, I am giving you data about me and time spent using your service - both of which are manifestly commodities, or Facebook et al wouldn’t be able to make any money.

    • Colin says:

      11:47am | 20/12/12


      I laughed my head off at this totally TRUE article.

      But what I laughed about even more was the predictable backlash from all the vapid, pretentious wannabes on here who think that all of the (grainy, out of focus, poorly framed) photographs that they upload to the Web are not fair game for anyone who looks at them..!

      Face it, people; if you printed out one of your ‘Works of art’ and pinned it onto a big board in the street that had a sign on it that said, ‘If you post anything on here, it may be taken away, changed, removed, stolen, or plagiarised’, then you wouldn’t pin it there. BUT, when it comes to the GIGANTIC version of that board - the Web - you get all antsy about your ‘property’...

      What a riot.  8-)

    • iansand says:

      12:28pm | 20/12/12

      So no one likes your photos?

    • fml says:

      12:44pm | 20/12/12

      Not a work of art, people just don’t want to see their mug as the poster child for a herpes advert in Timbuktu.

    • Colin says:

      12:53pm | 20/12/12

      @ iansand

      “So no one likes your photos?”

      Oh, ha! Stop! My sides! Did you make that up by yourself..? Genius!

    • Colin says:

      01:16pm | 20/12/12

      @  fml

      “Not a work of art, people just don’t want to see their mug as the poster child for a herpes advert in Timbuktu…”

      Then don’t put it on the Internet..?

    • Loddlaen says:

      12:19pm | 20/12/12

      You do realise that if you don’t like what people post on various social networks, the power not to see these lies with you right? If you really haven’t worked this out maybe you aren’t ready to enter the online word…

      Also, I can’t tell if you are falling into the trap of irony or hypocrisy when you attack others for their outrage over Instagram but then go into your own outrage over the way people choose to use their social networks.

    • TChong says:

      02:24pm | 20/12/12

      Handy Andy Warhol
      was such a clever bunny
      painted tins of Campbells soups
      and sold them for big money

      from a Mad mag, mid 1970s (I think)

    • LJ Dots says:

      02:39pm | 20/12/12

      For the life of me, I can’t see the problem here.

      If your photos are any good, then take the time and effort to try and find a buyer yourself. This is what professional photographers do.

      If you are worried about your photos or image being used in the wrong way or without payment, then don’t post them.

      If you want to get free publicity and build up some sort of web portfolio before moving on to being a professional photographer, then go for your life, here is your chance.

      I’ve got a few ideas about some great apps that may be a money spinner, plus a draft for a book as well as a film based on the book and a mini series based on the inspiration for writing the book.

      However, I’m not posting this stuff on a free site and complaining that someone stole my idea, that would be crazy.

    • David says:

      04:32pm | 20/12/12

      LJ Dots.You have no idea. Probably never ever had any understanding of photography/marketing and copyrite law. Photo’s tell a story. If a corporation/business see a photo that tells their advertising stories, it does not matter how good YOU think the photo is, if it serves the advertisers purpose. Many people will get that “money making shot” and never ever realize it. They might take 2 million shots in their time. The law of averages says that one of them is useful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Even bad photo’s are used in advertising if it serves their purposes ie tells their story. BTW. I am a professional underwater photographer. I know first hand what I am talking about.. No one ever has the right to sell my work without a seperate written contract allowing them to do so.. I have chased and won against these thieves all over the world. Copyrite theft is THEFT. Illegal anywhere in the western world. It’s called international copyrite law. I bet if anyone tried to steal Facebooks/instagrams intellectual property, they would financially ruin them with lawyers and court.. One law for the big fat cat bastards and another for the rest of us. These bastards are deliberately trying to steal others intellectual property rights.

    • bookish in grafton says:

      05:32pm | 20/12/12

      I’m all for intellectual property rights.

      How does one qualify.

    • stephen says:

      06:09pm | 20/12/12

      I’ve heard complaints about privacy - not enough of it - from those who spend 4 hours a day on the computer, on social sites, which is a bit like a complaint from an introvert who rides an elephant down the Mall, and cries cause everyone is staring - then wants to ban the long look.
      Dumb ... and I hope it’s not catching.


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