This is not big, life changing stuff. No one is going to fall ill because my application isn’t working and won’t work in the same way any more. However, it does illustrate a problem with an environment that is in a constant state of change. Imagine getting in your car one day to find that Ford had downloaded a set of instructions into your car so that your car could no longer drive on motorways. Quite apart from the frustration of having to find a different form of transport, the sheer ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ nature of this feels invasive. It also shows that although Periphery Vision was my application, that I worked on in my time and with my efforts, because I was making use of their data, their information my labour was subject to their authority. When Instagram made a decision to change their policies they were impacting on everyone. I’m not saying they shouldn’t do this, it is their company, their decisions. But in a world of mash-ups and shared services we all rely on each other to continue offering the access we usually enjoy.
There are potentially deeper concerns here when we consider how much control we have over other media – the streaming of music libraries for instance – what if those who stream music decide to increase the price by 100%? What if they decide to switch it off altogether?
Becoming over reliant on other company’s services (and most usually it is those big companies that I’m talking about here) leaves us all open to their whims and decision making. I am sad for the hours I lost making this application work, the time I spent developing it and finally being quite pleased with it. I am also troubled by the potential other projects it was pointing to that I can now no longer create. But most of all I am concerned that this is how things operate now. We work, we create, we develop and others control the output, others sanction the continuation of what you have made.
I still love taking pictures and uploading them to Instagram but I don’t like the control it has over those images once they are uploaded. I don’t like that I can no longer sort and access them and put them inside my application. But being pragmatic here, they were only being borrowed from Instagram and now they’ve taken them back I realise I was making something with content I never truly had access to. I was granted that access momentarily, on a false promise, but now it’s gone. I guess I should just learn in future never to rely on things being there, on services being provided.