It’s Instagram’s 10th anniversary (yes, an entire decade) and the app is rolling out a cute little easter egg surprise to celebrate. Beginning today, users can choose from a variety of home screen icons for the app, including Instagram’s original, short-lived Polaroid camera-like logo from when it launched.
Ah, pre-Facebook-acquisition Instagram, a place untouched by corporate responsibility and influencers, where we all felt free to post our meals with over-baked filters and frames. Remember when you had to have an iPhone to access the app and scroll through your friends’ pixelated selfies?
Sure, this neat little trick isn’t going to fix the problems Instagram is dealing with in 2020. But it’s enough to get us excited, current reality considered. The nostalgia is very real. Plus, Instagram somehow still manages to feel like the least offensive or toxic Facebook-owned product.
How do I get it? — The birthday treat is still rolling out as of Tuesday morning, so don’t be alarmed if you can’t find it just yet. To check if you’re in on the birthday celebration, head to your in-app settings menu (accessible from the three-lined icon in the upper left) and scroll upward.
A trail of sly emojis should appear, leading to a gift icon. Release the scroll and your screen will be hit with a lovely explosion of digital confetti, revealing behind it the list of icon choices.
The icons are pretty extensive: there’s the original Polaroid icon, which only the very first adopters every saw; the so-called “Classic” brown camera icon (the best, if you ask us); a “Codename” icon from the app’s prelaunch days; and, if you’re feeling really testy, you can choose a color variation on Instagram’s current logo.
Remember traveling? — Instagram has also added new features to its Stories Archive to look back at your adventures over the years.
There’s a calendar, which displays a little icon on each day you posted to your Instagram Stories, and there’s also a map that collects all your Stories posted with a location sticker. You know, so you can reminisce about all the times when we were able to leave the house and go places, often with other people.
Instagram, we miss you — It would be an understatement to say that Instagram has done well for itself in the 10 years since its launch. The platform now has over a billion users, according to the company, and it generated more than $20 billion in advertising revenue last year alone.
This immense growth has come at a cost, though: Instagram has, in many ways, lost touch of its roots. Long gone are the days when scrolling Instagram was a fun way to keep up with your friends’ weird photos. Now we’re inundated with TikTok clones, influencer ads, and harmful misinformation. Not to mention the company's ongoing equity problems. Oh, and it's owned by Facebook now.
We’re feeling nostalgic for those early, filter-heavy days when the icon was simple and the world seemed simpler too. Of course, it wasn't really simpler, but that's nostalgia for you — a longing for a world that never actually was. Will Instagram even exist as we know it in 10 years? Who knows. Because in tech that's basically an eternity.