One of the things I quite like about Instagram is its resistance. You see photos, like photos, comment on photos, follow people, maybe share some behind the scenes stuff.
You can't add links to a photo description. You can't, without significant effort, push people from the Instagram world to a non-Instagram action - like selling tickets or signing up for events. You can't pay Instagram to show more people your photo, so that more people might be tempted into these actions. Given the algorithms that govern what you see on Facebook, and the promoted tweets Twitter is drowning in (or their recent 'Watch the #CWC live' campaign), this feels like a sweet relief - you pick things to look at, you look at the things.
God only knows how long this will last, because all those monetising opportunities must be hella tempting. And of course, people have found ways to cash in round the corners, with endless product placement. (One of my social media rules has become only following people I have met in real life - or am likely to one day - for just this reason. As a result I think the only product placement I've seen on Instagram is a fancy toilet brush care of a New Zealand painter.*)
Which is why this article on ballet dancers' use of Instagram is interesting. Ballet suits Instagram - beautiful photogenic people who enjoy performing, bloody feet, international travel, costumes. And while the companies haven't figured out how to boost tickets sales off the back of hundreds of little red hearts, the dancers are certainly on top of the brand building.
*Or maybe the product placement is so flawless I don't even notice.