I was a late convert to Instagram, even diligently avoiding it for a long time, for some reason that I now cannot remember. But in early 2015 I created my first account (joanne.cronin), and I started to upload my photos.
As someone with in excess of 4,000 followers on Twitter, I obviously wanted to try to recreate that success on Instagram. Bit by bit, I found myself developing my own posting style for Instagram, and both my Following and Followers counts grew. I got selective in the accounts that I followed - if you posted too many selfies or inspirational messages, you were out. And I followed many new accounts from across the world with great imagery and stories.
By the end of 2015, I had posted 487 photos, and was thoroughly enjoying myself. As you can see from my "Best nine" summary below, there were a lot of cocktail photos with tasty food coming a close second. My top-rated photo? A picture of one of the alleyway entrances into Cork's English Market.
I found Instagram superb for quickly posting pictures of the moment. If I was having a nice cocktail, or saw something interesting, then I posted a quick photo. (Well, quick is a misnomer with Instagram. Editing the photo and adding your hashtags can take a few minutes!). And I took a lot of joy in scrolling back down through my timeline, reliving the memories behind my photos.
I woke up on Saturday January 16th, and wanted to post a picture from the previous night. I opened my Instagram app and prepped the picture. But when I hit "Post", the app logged me out, prompting me to enter my log-in details. I tried, and I failed. I scratched my head and tried "Forgot your password" only to find that "That user does not exist". I tried logging in via Facebook to no avail and finally, when I visited my timeline page, I was greeted by "Sorry, this page isn't available".
The sickening feeling hit me. My Instagram account had been nuked. And I no longer had access to my pictures or memories.
It also turns out that Instagram don't do customer service. To date, I've tweeted them, messaged them via Facebook and submitted two help requests via their Support section. To zero avail. Not a single acknowledgement from them about my missing account.
I'm sure that the Terms & Conditions I accepted when I signed up protect Instagram in eventualities like this. But for me, there are memories missing. I am missing connections with people I followed. I feel quite bereft. And ultimately I feel ignored. Epic #fail #instagramfail