Everyone’s favourite social media app went into a collective meltdown last week as every second person seemingly feared the implementation of the dreaded Instagram algorithm. I lost count as to how many ‘turn on post notifications’ images I scrolled past, from big name brands to lesser known accounts everyone was getting in on the act.
I wonder if anyone in this moment of sheer panic actually stopped and thought about what it would be like to have hundreds of notifications pop up every minute of every day on your phone… Umm, not for me thanks.
Change is always going to be inevitable in the social media realm as trends come and go, technology advances and new apps begin as others are shutting down. While Instagram hosts a whopping 400 million regular users it faces competition, from the likes of Snapchat, and therefore has to keep evolving with the times to ensure it remains relevant.
So how does an algorithm fit in? Well, currently people miss on average 70 per cent of posts in their Instagram feed. This is most likely due to the app’s growth meaning we are following more and people and simply aren’t able to keep up with the constant scrolling. The whole idea of an algorithm is to show you more engaging content so you’ll actually spend more time consuming what’s in front of you rather than flicking right on past just so you’re all caught up.
To me that doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all and here’s why:
1. STEP AWAY FROM THE PHONE
Ok you got me, I’m guilty! You will rarely find me without my phone in my hand. This is largely due to the fact that I’m a compulsive Instagram, and social media, user and I struggle to let my feed pass me by.
That means every morning when I wake up I’m straight into a scroll to catch up on approximately seven hours worth of stuff that I’ve missed while I was getting some shut eye. This can take up to 10 minutes, if not more, of my time so why am I doing this? I think a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) is to blame.
I’m the first to recognise this isn’t a healthy habit as it sticks with me throughout the day. Generally speaking I hate to let too much time go by without a flick so I have less catching up to do later on.
2. NO MORE MISSING OUT
Theoretically an algorithm is designed to show you what you want and when you want. It sounds simple as the lovely folk at Instagram explain, “The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of of the post.”
Furthermore Instagram will begin by continuing to show you all the posts in your feed just in a different order, so no one is going anywhere just yet.
Can you believe that Facebook made the switch to its news feed way back in 2009? And Twitter has most recently introduced a curated feed as well. This stuff isn’t exactly ground breaking and as an avid user of both of these platforms I have seen the benefit of jumping onto either every few hours or so and catching up on all the good stuff I’ve missed rather than compulsively checking.
3. WHEN POINTS ONE AND TWO COME TOGETHER
It’s pretty clear to see Instagram has a good grip on my life and I know I’m not alone in my penchant for this one particular app. But come to think of it I used to be an avid refresher of both Facebook and Twitter and since spend less minutes on them now thanks to their algorithmic feeds.
The key here is that it’s simply a case of quality over quantity. I’m engaging more with the content I’m seeing on these platforms as it’s purely catered to my interests rather than rapidly scrolling past every second thing. I’m reading articles on Facebook and retweeting people on Twitter. I’m way more likely to actively participate and that’s what Instagram wants.
Don’t get my wrong I’m not wanting to get rid of my gramming habit altogether but if its designed in a way that I can use more smartly then I’m all for that.
If you hadn’t guessed by now I’m actually looking forward to this change. Essentially I’ll be able to log on less but still be guaranteed to see everything that I want see. If I have to look up a few profiles from time to time that’s no skin off my nose as it’s something I do anyway on all of my social media channels.
The best way to keep seeing all the good stuff is by interacting with the content you actually like. For real… Now there’s a mind blowing principle! Hopefully this change might weasel out a lot of the same-same and fakeness that pollutes this ever-popular platform.
Am I worried about falling off the radar? Hmm a little bit but I’m just being me and if people are interested that’s great and if they’re not then that’s cool too. I realised a long time ago the Instagram ‘game’ people play and I’m just not interested in being a part of that. So as I’ve come to realise, for a bit of a reality check of late, there’s way more to your own life than trying to catch up on everyone else’s.
By Anne Fedorowytsch