15 votes

"Link in bio": it seems like a harmless phrase, but it represents a strategy of controlling users and keeping them away from the open web

4 comments

  1. [2]
    umbrae
    (edited )
    Link
    I think Anil is right, and I hadn’t interrogated the idea of no links on Instagram as deeply as this goes. I think some of the choice early on didn’t have as much intent as he suggests here, but...

    I think Anil is right, and I hadn’t interrogated the idea of no links on Instagram as deeply as this goes. I think some of the choice early on didn’t have as much intent as he suggests here, but it seems totally rational that they have made these choices actively now.

    However, there is one sort of uncomfortable truth at least in my subjective experience, which is that Instagram is actually one of the more enjoyable “social networks” amongst the mainstream choices for me, and I think its constraints are precisely why. Being about photos, and explicitly disallowing links, has really constrained what you’re sharing to the things that are of more worth to friends: pictures of you and your life. I think it’s easy to discount that when you’re concerned about the viability of the web vis a vis Instagram but I do think it’s had an overall positive impact on the quality of each individual post which has led to an overall more enjoyable experience.

    8 votes
    1. Deimos
      Link Parent
      That's true, but I think the prevalence of people using the "link in bio" trick shows that there's a fair amount of conflict/tension between the restriction and what people are using Instagram for...

      That's true, but I think the prevalence of people using the "link in bio" trick shows that there's a fair amount of conflict/tension between the restriction and what people are using Instagram for in practice.

      I've been thinking about it a little from the perspective of self-post-only subreddits. I absolutely think it's useful for subreddits to be able to say that they don't want people just posting direct links, but it would be far more restrictive if the self-posts couldn't have any links in them at all. Like the post is saying, so much of the value and strength of the web comes from the ability to link to other sites and resources, and trying to prevent that definitely hurts some of the things you can do (in both positive and negative ways).

      1 vote
  2. [2]
    cwagner
    Link
    That’s interesting to me. So on IG you can’t link at all? On HN "Link in profile" is usually because the poster doesn’t want to be seen as advertising their project in a thread not directly...

    That’s interesting to me. So on IG you can’t link at all? On HN "Link in profile" is usually because the poster doesn’t want to be seen as advertising their project in a thread not directly related to it, so they choose this way and people essentially have to "opt-in" into seeing the link.

    5 votes
    1. Nexu
      Link Parent
      Yep this is talking about Instagram. Links don't work anywhere outside of your bio.

      the things that are of more worth to friends: pictures of you and your life

      Yep this is talking about Instagram. Links don't work anywhere outside of your bio.

      2 votes