How Instagram Ctrl+C The Book “Steal Like An Artist”

Faizan Sayani
4 min readFeb 7, 2023
Photo By Yahoo Finance

It is no secret that Instagram and other social media platforms have been inspired by Austin Kleon’s book “Steal Like an Artist”. The book, which was published in 2012, has served as a guide for people to not just create something original but to also be inspired by the works of others.

Book Review

“Steal Like an Artist” is a book by Austin Kleon that encourages readers to break out of their creative rut and create something original. The book is filled with inspiring advice, wisdom, and insights that have inspired many artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives to take their creative endeavors to the next level.

Kleon encourages readers to “steal like an artist” — that is, to take inspiration from the work of others and use it as a basis for their own creative expression. He believes that creativity is not about coming up with something entirely new, but rather about transforming existing ideas into something unique and personal.

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The book’s main message is that one must look around and find beauty and inspiration in the works of others. It also states that it is okay to take inspiration from others and put your own spin on it. This is something that Instagram and other social media platforms have embraced and incorporated into their application.

For example, Instagram has implemented a feature that allows users to post a photo to their stories, and then add a “copycat” sticker to it. This sticker allows users to recreate someone else’s post and make it their own. This gives users the opportunity to be creative and to use their own ideas to make something unique.

In addition, Instagram has implemented the “Stories” feature. This allows users to share snippets of their everyday lives in a fun and creative way. The feature allows users to share photos, videos, and text on their profile which is available for 24 hours, and in the meantime, their followers can see their activity.

It was first introduced in 2016 and has since become an indispensable feature for businesses and influencers alike.

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Some criticized Instagram for copying Snapchat’s idea, while others praised the move for making the feature more accessible to a wider audience.

Obviously, Instagram didn’t steal the idea it only got “Inspired” and developed a feature that was strikingly similar.

Photo By TechCrunch

In 2020, when TikTok got banned in India, Instagram saw scope for itself like never before and launched “Reels”, which is again surprisingly similar to what TikTok is best known for i.e short video platform.

Not to mention this approach was the hammer on the nail because “Reels” was able to fill the void that people had to post the TikTok ban on India and not to mention how lonely people felt during 2020 sitting in their homes in lockdown.

Being a designer, I won't go into the details of how similar the interface of reels is to that of TikTok. :/

Photo By Later

The concept of Instagram Stories has become increasingly popular with users due to the fact that it allows them to share short videos and photos which are only visible for 24 hours. This has enabled businesses and influencers to engage with their followers more effectively, as well as being able to post sneak previews of upcoming products and events.

In conclusion, due to the increasing reach of businesses and influencers, Instagram Stories has also enabled them to generate revenue. With the introduction of ‘Stories Ads’, businesses and influencers can post their product and services advertisement on a budget and they’ll run on a specific targeted audience’s page so that they can view them and purchase them afterward.

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Faizan Sayani

Senior UX Designer @Xord - Blockchain Designer - Web3 Enthusiast