Instagram has started to roll out a new, non-chronological feed and, shocker, people are not happy that the free service they use is different than it used to be. "We are still just testing algorithmic feed, and haven't yet rolled it out broadly," Instagram tells Seventeen. Still, the people that had a non-chronological experience are pissed.
Sorry guys. If it makes you feel better, you will love this in literally a month and forget that it ever used to be different.
Original story, published March 15 at 11 p.m., follows.
Social media can seem like a treadmill in many ways. Hitting the right amount to post to stay relevant without overdoing it and annoying everyone you know is a challenge we all face daily. Social media companies face the same challenge in reverse: How do you change things just enough to stay fresh without shifting your platform so much that you alienate your core fanbase? Facebook introduced a series of radical changes that caused masses of people to threaten to leave the social platform. First, from the move away from personal pages to a newsfeed, then an algorithmic approach to displaying content had users threatening to quit. They didn’t quit, and now Facebook is more popular than ever. Subsidiary Instagram is also considering a move away from a chronological newsfeed into a more algorithmic method of content delivery, according to a post on their blog. “You may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds,” Instagram writes. “As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most.” An algorithmic feed would initially seem antithetical to everything we hold dear about Instagram. But is it really such a bad thing? A few points to consider: First, the algorithm will take into consideration the accounts that you actually interact with. That means that you’re more likely to see your significant other’s puppy picture and less likely to see the three-thousandth baby picture your aunt posted. Second, Instagram is a much less immediate service than, say, Twitter. Twitter is about gauging the real-time temperature of the internet, while Instagram is more likely used as a curatorial tool or a record of your life. Not to say that Instagram isn’t used by some as an up-to-the-second update platform of daily life, but it’s the social app we’re most likely to check a few times a day rather than once or twice a minute. Given that Twitter has incorporated algorithmic elements into their feed without ending the entire world, it seems likely that Instagram will be able to do the same. Third, this is a move to appease advertisers. It’s more valuable to brands to be able to give you content in a way they know you’ll see it. This is a little unfortunate but also means that Instagram will be profitable and therefore continue to innovate. It’s easy to forget that we, the users, are the product that free social media is selling. Unfortunately, slight changes to make platforms more ad-friendly is our cost of doing business. Most likely, two things will happen: First, Instagram will likely mimic Twitter’s “while you were away feature” and only show you content you missed before switching back to something like your “normal” feed. Second, we'll probably hate it for about an hour then get used to it and forget what it was like before. Ultimately this is the sort of thing that happens in the lifecycle of every service. It changes, we hate it, we accept it, we love it, and it changes slightly yet again. The circle of life continues and we are able to once again enjoy our free social media app.