A big shock announcement from Instagram yesterday has sent shockwaves resulting in the trending hashtag #RIPInstagram. Instagram posted to their blog that they will be changing the order of the photos on your feed. Since its inception back in 2010 users have been shown photos (and later videos) in chronological order, but this is set to change if Instagram sticks to its guns.
According to Instagram’s research, “people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds” which sounds like a lot, and Instagram want to “improve your experience” by showing you the content they think you “care about the most”.
Does Instagram know what’s best?
On the face of it this doesn’t seem like a terrible idea, both Facebook and Twitter now do this and they also faced an uproar at the time. But people quickly got used to it. Instagram now boasts 400 million regular visitors (five million in Australia), so it makes sense for them to try and find a better way to make sure the best, most relevant content is seen by these users. But what it ultimately comes down to for the user is, will Instagram’s view of what is most relevant to me be right for me?
Many users on Instagram enjoy viewing what other people are doing at that exact moment in time, not what happened five hours ago. Is it pure arrogance for Instagram to make the assumption that users really care that they missed content happening earlier in the day?
Should you care?
Given that Instagram is now owned by Facebook, this change should come as no surprise. As someone whose Instagram list consists of mostly international accounts I welcome the change. I often feel like I miss out on content posted by friends and family who live elsewhere in the world and I can’t wait to see what this means for my daily usage. For others it sounds like it may mean adapting to the new non chronological feed. But what’s new? Change has always been at the heart of social media. Learn, unlearn, relearn should be the motto for all of us using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Should you care? At the end of the day I don’t think it matters. Instagram is starting small with a 10% roll out to test without a huge disruption. But the global change is coming – you have been warned!
The way in which Instagram serves ads won’t change given that this new user algorithm is similar to the way in which ads are viewed now. It does however beg the question, will Instagram finally allow businesses to schedule organic posts given this not so subtle message that Instagram is no longer a real time platform? Given Facebook’s form in monetising that platform, it is only reasonable to expect that Instagram is on that journey too.
Only time will tell if this change is for the better and I doubt any amount of petitioning from power users will change Instagram’s mind. This potentially won’t even be a very dramatic change, but I am excited to see the change it makes to my overall enjoyment of a platform I spend way too much time with!
What do you think? Is this the death of Instagram as we know it?
Heather Linford is a Social Media Specialist at BCM