Goddamn it!

The Outpost woke this morning to discover that Instagram, the popular photo-filtering app, has changed its terms of service. You can check out industry coverage here and here if you like, but the bottom line is that the change spells the death forever of #HumboldtCounty, the LoCO’s daily photography battle.

Look. Not all of you liked #HumboldtCounty. Some snob photogs hated the fact that winners often used software to jack up the dazzle of their snaps. Some local brand managers hated the fact that the #HumboldtCounty faithful would swiftly downvote their photography-based branding efforts into the TOMB of the DISQUALIFIED, which felt like mockery of their really awesome brands. Myself, I was always a bit puzzled as to why photographic representations of human beings met with the instant thumbs-down, and why only pictures of 1) trees, or 2) the ocean were deemed worthy of the WALL of CHAMPIONS, 99 percent of the time.

You know what, though? The snobs can go sit in a corner and pout, and when they’re done they can write a 10,000-word essay on The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction for no one to read. The brand managers can chill out and keep on brandin’. I can get over myself. #HumboldtCounty brought a lot of joy to people’s lives! Some of my favorite moments over the last five years were those times when people would write us saying, “I won a contest I didn’t even know I had entered!”

This morning we put #HumboldtCounty in archival mode. You can still browse by day, or gander at the WALL or whatever for as long as this site exists. But — sniff — there will be no more competitions. No more soft-focus photos of elk with the Kelvin filter. No more Russian porn spambots. Scene.

Now we all have to put our heads together and figure out what replaces #HumboldtCounty. We looked at Flickr this morning, figuring maybe we could swap it in easy, but almost no one uses Flickr anymore. Tweets? Would you want to vote on people’s tweets? What are we going to do? Seems like the county’s social media output should be reflected here in the LoCO pages, somehow. Your suggestions welcome.

Give it up for #HumboldtCounty, everyone!