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Ungathered Thoughts
Black envelope with painted white letters reading: In Memoriam Instagram

In Memoriam Instagram

Recently helped a friend extract her own Instagram account's images from her hijacked account after it got hacked.

The hijackers of her account had not yet deleted her previous posts, and using instaloader we were able to download her visible posts to a digital archive.

My friend was upset to have lost access to a lot of special images which she didn't have copies of elsewhere.

Losing control of an account can be upsetting for the loss of networks and connections we share, or experiences we're attached to. It's a form of identity loss I guess. Digital security is a privilege not all people have access too either.

She wasn't yet able to recover her account but I was glad that we could retrieve those images she'd lost access to. I posted them back to her yesterday by regular post. It's good that her images can be where they belong, with her, not attached to a lost account.

I'm mindful of Sumana Harihareswara's "All maintainers eventually leave (or stop leading) projects.". This is true of all digital accounts. All digital accounts in time will be cut from the identity attached to them. (Amusing corollary: there are now digital accounts, such as @CocaCola but not just corporate, which may now last for generations of humans.)

Before I got it together to send the digital archive by post (is the postal service a cloud of sorts?), I wanted to reassure her that the images were safe. So I had the idea of combining a year's images into a few seconds of video and messaging that to her - used ffmpeg, it looked cool.

The video at the top of this post is me having finally got round to doing the same for my own (admittedly shorter) feed.

The envelope is suitably sombre and has been cut from building paper which I had scraps of in the garden.

Anyway - after posting this today, I went back and made a backup of my (much smaller) Instagram history. And then I found the ffmpeg command to turn it into a brief video. My own posts only makes a ten second video, but watched on loop it's quite fun, and various things leap out as you watch it.

I've hidden it behind a reveal click below because otherwise it's a bit of an eyeful!

Click here to see my instagram account's entire feed in a ten second loop