Importing the Instagram Archive

A few words on how & why I’ve imported my content from Instagram. We’ll get the technicals out of the way real quick and then move on to stories & content strategy.

I’ve pulled in roughly 4 years of content from Instagram (just over 1000 images & videos) using Instagrate Pro, which offers a solid range of features for integration of Instagram accounts into WordPress. Had this been a client job, I’d most likely have used a Custom Post Type and automatically imported each image or video individually, maintaining as much of the original meta-data as possible (location data, tags in their own custom taxonomy, etc) and integrating into the site from there.

This being a personal blog I’ve taken a slightly different approach, importing the images & videos manually in batches to be regular blog posts back-dated to their time. The images run per post in chronological order, old to new, instead of the reverse-chronology native to Instagram’s own browsing experience. In this manner the posts take on an episodic nature, scrolling through and consuming the images & captions in the order they were posted provides a much smoother narrative experience. The stories feel like they’re unfolding much more as they were lived.

You may have caught Kyle Chayka’s recent piece; ‘Why Instagram Captions Are the New Blogging‘, and I’ve been enjoying a number of people’s recent Instagram writing. Jay Owens in particular, who sold a 3000-word travel feature off the back of her Instagram writing while travelling in the USA. Personally I don’t have the mind to write several hundred words of caption while I’m on the go or comitting a day’s highlights to Instagram. The proper long form is a whole other game entirely, but I think there’s a viable intermediate form to be found which I’d like to explore. So for the future I’ll be setting up Instagrate to partially automate creating periodic roundup posts of my Instagram content, and writing extra commentary around that.

Capturing & captioning in the moment through Instagram, but adding an extra layer of background narrative later, with better tools for the job, to be re-published into an archive with an interface I control, that is more suited to episodic storytelling. Besides fitting in with the present cultural undercurrents of early 00’s (blogging) nostalgia & withdrawal from the noisy ad-ridden feeds of major platforms, I also get to keep a nice archive of all my Instagram content in case of outages. Or for the day their owner commits an act so egregious that I feel I need to delete my account altogether.

You can peruse my Insta-bla here.

A couple of posts that have made nice little chapters:
Tokyo 06 – Toriton Tower
Tanegashima – H-IIA F28
Tanegashima – Fly to the Future
Shady Nook