Avoid the Knee-Jerk: On Quitting Instagram, Feedburner and Other Rash Decisions

Avoid the Knee-Jerk: On Quitting Instagram, Feedburner and Other Rash Decisions

By: Guest
January 8, 2013

You're have such a knee jerk reaction to everything.Are you a quitter? I don’t mean the kind of quitter who gives up because something is too hard, but the kind who quits an online service in a huff over a perceived piece of bad news or policy. It seems a lot of people, including several friends, have made rash decisions to quit services lately, and I’m not certain these were the right calls. They weren’t for me, anyway. The examples:


Feedburner is a very common tool for setting up RSS feeds for blogs and other web sites. The basic tool is simple, though there have always been possibilities for more, especially in terms of analytics (let’s not get started on the failure of Google, which bought Feedburner a few years back, to integrate these analytics with the Google Analytics tool, but that does play in to the general frustration).

Late in 2012, things started to happen – or rather, they stopped happening. The @Feedburner Twitter feed was turned off, and the separate Feedburner blog was put to rest. Surely signs of the apocalypse, no?

No. The core tool continued, and continues, to work, There was a brief outage of the Feedburner user dashboard that gave many of us the agitah, but the feeds, by and large, worked well.

Still, there was justified concern. A number of friends moved their feeds to other services, like Feedblitz, which happily charges for extras like analytics (and likely worth the cost, too), but Feedburner hasn’t stopped working. The care it takes to move a blog’s feed without losing subscribers, or having to rebuild a subscriber base (granted, only part of the audience for many blogs) from scratch is a lot to consider; it’s even more to consider when you have clients using Feedburner.

I haven’t moved this blog as of this writing. It has been months, and there has been no issue, no interruption. If Feedburner were to go down, the pain in switching would likely be little or no more than if I did it now. In fact, I heard some rumblings of service issues with the alternatives, though they weren’t necessarily permanent or fatal. So there is no point in panicking and making a premature move.


Instagram is a different story, one of trust, privacy and ownership. When Instagram announced a change to its terms of service, it was widely read to mean that Instagram reserved the right to (implication: intended to) use your images to sell advertising without compensating the owners. That caused an uproar, which included many people threatening to and even going ahead and eliminating their Instagram accounts. I didn’t, for two reasons:

  1. If I were worried about intellectual property, privacy, and photo quality to such a degree I wouldn’t care about Instagram in the first place. And I don’t care; for me it’s a place to put colorful filters on otherwise crappy phone-camera photos, and share them with people who want to see them (there and on Facebook). There was never any rights management, such as the Creative Commons licensing features on Flickr, and they don’t seem to be fixing to start that now.
  2. I just don’t go for the knee-jerk bans. I was willing to wait and see (Instagram did appear to back off in a later statement, but it’s hard to say for sure what it all really means) before cutting myself off from a service – a free service – from which I got some enjoyment.

I’m not a knee-jerk person when it comes to these services. The worrying about their intentions or futures may or may not be valid, but if I ran to another service or platform every time the wind blew, you wouldn’t know where to find me online (no, I’m not on Tumblr), let alone come across a somewhat cohesive set of content. Sit tight and don’t do anything rash.

doug haslamMy pal Doug Haslam works with the PN Connect team at Voce Communications, a Porter Novelli Company, running social media publishing programs for companies both large and small. He not only has two decades of broadcasting, PR, marketing and social media experience, he’s one of the funniest people on the planet. I’m so lucky to call him “friend.” (Among other things). You can find him online at @dough, stalk his blog or connect with him on LinkedIn. I strongly suggest you do.



Photo credit: spencrpdx on Flickr

  • Just to clarify, we stopped using Feedburner when it DID crap out for us. It was a month before I noticed that none of my posts were going anywhere, when people started asking why they hadn’t seen my posts lately. The Feedburner situation (namely the lack of communication or help in fixing it) is unacceptable to me, even if it doesn’t apply to everyone and still works for some. My point was here’s how to do it (one option, anyway) if and when it does happen. I wasn’t advocating everyone jump ship. 🙂

  • I like this approach Doug, and I’ve held much the same approach. I love Feedburner, and won’t pay for a service. the extras you get really aren’t worth it to me for what I do. I think we just get spoiled and feel entitled at times.

  • Lori @ Freely Educate

    Glad to finally read something from this slant. I also don’t knee-jerk, and with 7,500 (email) Feedburner subscribers, I wasn’t moving until it wasn’t working for me. For the past five years, it has worked great, and I can’t beat free.

  • I know some folks actually had problems, and I would probably do the same thing in that case. I do, however, want to separate such cases from whether or not there was a larger issue with the service going down- -that part was, and remains, far from clear.

    There was at least one other case of another blogger who switched suddenly, despite no problems with her feed (I was still getting it in my reader). When she switched, her blog disappeared. She left instructions on how to subscribe to the new feed, but if I’m going to ask that much of subscribers, well, I’ll wait for the original service to actually fail first (as you did)

  • Nice one, Doug! I haven’t moved from Feedburner either… it kept working, and I didn’t have the 4+ hours I kept hearing it would take to set Feedblitz up… so as long as it works, I’m staying put despite Feedblitz’s overly-aggressive marketing. I didn’t quit Instagram either, for precisely the reasons you cite. And, in fact, when we were traveling in India, it was a terrific tool that I used in conjunction with IFTTT to share photos. Knees can stay in their place as far as I’m concerned… a couple of feet off the ground.

  • ShellyKramer

    Welcome home, Shonali! I used that easy recipe on IFTTT to share IG photos to Twitter and LOVE it.

    And totally don’t get all the people in our space who routinely have hissy fits and stomp off some platform or another. It’s not my personality to do that and I think that’s served me well. And, like you, my blog is still on Feedburner :))

  • Thank you! I also used IFTTT to share photos from my camera to Facebook, and then automatically to Flickr if I included a specific hashtag – it made life SO much easier for me, created a record of our trip and from what I can tell, gave enjoyment to many of my friends. Gotta love it and thank you for that tip!

  • ShellyKramer

    Hooray! You’re welcome!!! I loved seeing your pics.

  • Porting to Flickr (Instagram also does this) is a great move for any platform

  • Yeah, I just think some people moved too fast. It may or may not have been a bad thing, but I’m still waiting

  • Thanks. I love Feedburner – for what it is – of course, until I don’t, that is

  • Well, Flickr is equally good. I love it. This mumble ramble made me check it out. And it is quite good.

  • Great viewpoint!

    From Kneejerk to knee-safety.

    One of the things with these online tools today is that a lot of the beef which people may not like is hidden in the soup of their terms and conditions. There’s 3 solutions to this, 1) share only what you’re happy with them sharing and 2) always backup your images in case they either close down their business and 3) you become unhappy with their service and want to move your content elsewhere.

  • That’s pretty close to how I view it. Particularly, the only share what you are willing to share (even if you think it’s supposed to private)

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