There has been a lot of talk over the weekend regarding Instagram’s decision to present photos out of chronological order with their newest algorithm change. If, like us, you have been on Instagram a lot over the Bank Holiday weekend, you will undoubtedly have seen ‘turn on notifications’ posts from people that don’t want to get lost in the change.
The problem with doing this is that every time the user uploads a new photo, you get a notification. Say you follow 100 people, five of which are celebrities like the Kardashians for example. Every time one of the sisters uploads a picture of their new hair or a pout or just their face your phone will notify you. That’s a lot of notifications for pictures that you may not really be interested in.
So what does this change really mean and will your posts be lost if you don’t ask people to turn on notifications for your account?
Well, the short answer is that no one really knows the specifics just yet, but with Facebook and more recently Twitter adopting this method, it was only going to be a matter of time before Instagram and other social media platforms followed suit.
What we do know is that Instagram has said that the posts will be displayed based on ‘the posts you might care about the most’, although they are yet to tell us how they will decide on that for us other than the following statement;
“Your pictures and videos will soon be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with that person and the timeliness of the post”
However, they have assured the ever growing list of people not happy about the changes that all posts will still be there for you, just in a different order, so not to worry about missing anything. This seems to have done very little to calm the angry voices that are asking for Instagram to not make the changes.
Facebook has had this approach to its news feeds since 2014 and people complained then, although were ignored and there is now no way to view posts in chronological order which doesn’t bode well for Instagram since they were bought by Facebook in 2012.
For now, at least, it appears that Instagram will stay the same. A spokesman said that there would be ‘weeks if not months’ of testing and research to be done before any changes are to be made and they have assured us that they will be listening to all feedback from its users.
It isn’t surprising that people are against this change, especially the brands and personalities that command large sums of money to promote products and themselves. It is a site of significant commerce to so many that if the changes come into effect, could lose out on using Instagram for revenue. If you can no longer guarantee the reach of your posts, then this will affect the amount of money that you can request per post.
For the rest of us (that’s the other 300 million users that don’t make money from Instagram), it is yet another reminder that social media is not just for us to enjoy and to share moments with friends and family, but an ever growing ‘market research’ pool that we are having less and less control over. Great for businesses, but the balance between what we want to see and what we are told we want to see is a very thin line and may end up in people switching off or moving to newer platforms that will spring up to offer an alternative.
So for now, keep the notifications off and your eyes on your Instagram posts.
What do you think of the changes? Do you like the idea of Robots and code choosing what you see or do you prefer the more ‘organic’ feed?