As Instagram turns 10 years old, let’s take a look back at how tragic it used to be

I never wanna see a Valencia filter again


It’s pretty hard to believe but Instagram is celebrating its 10th anniversary this October. And in the last 10 years a hell of a lot of has happened on the app. Jennifer Anniston broke the internet with her Friends selfie, an egg got more likes than Kylie Jenner and it’s the birthplace of countless influencers.

It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without Instagram, where previously the only place for us to upload our poor quality photos was to Facebook.

Back in July 2010 one of the first ever photos was uploaded to Instagram by co-founder Mike Krieger. The photo was of a marina with a classic filter that we’ve all come to recognise as an early tragic Instagram post.

That first picture really set the scene for what a lot of Instagram posts were going to like for the next few years before influencers took over the world with their perfectly aesthetic grids. A lot of us actually started using Instagram in 2013 but even three years on our uploads were pretty questionable.

And to celebrate how far we’ve all come on Instagram I’ve done a deep scroll back into some of our early posts and honestly thank god Instagram is nothing like it was 10 years ago. The Valencia filters, the endless hashtags and of course loads of close up food pics. That hasn’t really changed tbh.

This is what Instagram used to look like 10 years ago:

The actual app

Let’s start off with the technical stuff. First of all the icon for Instagram was that iconic polaroid camera that you can actually now get back on your phone thanks to a little Easter Egg provided by Instagram.

Inside the app it was all blue! Remember that? Honestly a different world. And it had that weird grey contrast and looks like something out of the stone age.

The filters

The endless filters of Valencia, Lo-Fi, Hefe and X-Pro that we all thought improved the look of the bad quality photos taken on our iPhone 5s. It was that weird grainy texture that just made photos look awful.

Thankfully we now have an unlimited amount of editing apps, so we don’t have to rely on Instagram’s crappy filters to make our photos bang.

The endless hashtags

People still use hashtags now, like mid range influencers trying to raise their following, but at least they’re sneaky and put them in the comments so it doesn’t ruin the vibe.

Back in the day though we would literally hashtag everything in the hope of getting more likes, but in reality the hashtags weren’t going to help anyone because the pictures were so bad.

I uploaded one of the worst photos and really expected my hashtags of “snacks” and “love” were going to make the cookie dough loaf go viral. Tasted good tho.

Only being able to post in 1:1 squares

This was Instagram’s set format in order to create the iconic squares that made up the grids and lasted for a number of years before they let us put different sized pictures in.

The lack of likes

I’m hardly getting thousands of likes now, but when we first started out on Instagram hardly any one was getting hundreds of likes or even reaching 10, which is rather sad.

There weren’t as many people using the app, you didn’t just follow randomers, so if your mates didn’t have Insta you were kinda screwed on the likes front.

In fairness I totally understand why this picture of my English revision received absolutely zero likes.

There was no idea of an aesthetic just purely photos that you liked

When we first started out on Instagram no one tried to match their photos to make their grid look cohesive. And don’t deny it, you won’t upload that night out photo if it doesn’t go with your Italian holiday pics.

Thanks to influencers and their perfectly curated feeds people now have a set look for their Instagram pages.

But when we first started using the app, we literally just put up stuff we liked. Not to sound like an old woman, but I do think putting up picutres for the sheer love of it is now lost on Instagram and we’re so obsessed with our pictures being “Insta worthy”.

Outfit layout pics

There were many different type of photos uploaded to Instagram and the outfit layout was easily the cringiest out there. And also probably the beginning of lots of fashion influencers’ careers.

Why on earth did we think people cared what basic clothes we wore from New Look and Topshop to a Pizza Express dinner?

The weird collages

When you wanted to branch out and make your Instagram grid look a bit more arty we all headed towards those collage apps.

You could add two equally bad photos up at once before the days of multiple pictures and have them separated with a big bold white line.

Why? Just why?

Cringe captions

Tbh mine haven’t really improved. But our early posts were full of captions that were usually just a description of what was in the photo.

No witty one liners, just straight up facts.

Food pics

Instagram was the birthplace of sharing pictures of your food, so far there’s 11.5 million posts with the #avocado. But aside from the avocado toast pictures we have all fallen victim to uploading a shitty quality close up photo of our basic food for the day.

In fairness, those nachos do look delicious.

Pet photos

Seeing as the first ever Instagram post was of a dog it makes sense that for most of us our early Instagram feeds were full of pictures of our mates’ pets.

And you know what, if anything there’s a significant lack of pets on my feed, can people please start posting more animal photos?

Featured image credit before edits: Robert Katzki on Unsplash

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