Everyone knows that Instagram is a total social media behemoth. I mean, it pretty much made selfies a thing. So it’s not exactly shocking that the Facebook-owned site has finally opted to trade in its traditional chronological-style feed for a very Facebook-esque, business-minded algorithm that will prioritize what users are shown based on engagement, instead of just showing photos in the order they were posted. After all, social media is a powerful business tool, and it makes sense that placing more importance on content that performs well would be a better revenue-earning strategy — Facebook has already been doing this for a while now. But there’s another side to the story that can be overlooked, which is how the Instagram changes affect you, the average user Instagramming their brunch mimosas and cute photos of their puppies.
According to USA Today, photographer Jasmine Star said that, well, you’re going to have to try a little harder if you want people to actually see your stuff. According to Star, “the average person on Instagram is only seeing about 30 percent of their feed.” That means that everyone will now be fighting it out to be in that privileged percentage, meaning that “if you do not have attractive content that people are liking or commenting on, you’re going to get buried.
Unsurprisingly, many IG users are mega unhappy with this new development, and are posting about it using hashtags like #chronologicalorder and #keepinstagramweird. Their most pressing concerns? That it will be harder to discover new, cool stuff the way they previously could, and that, well, they just don’t like the app interfering with their feeds, damn it!
Even celebrities are getting in on the discussion. According to Us Weekly, John Mayer spoke out on his own Instagram account, arguing that moving away from the chronological feed hurts “artists, creators and upstates whose careers depend on this platform to flourish.”
In a statement explaining the switch, Instagram said that moving towards an algorithm-based feed would improve user experience, showing them “the moments we believe [they] will care about the most.”
What this means for Instagram fans is simple: You’ll see more of your friends’ posts because you’ve liked and commented on their photos, [and] you’ll likely see more advertising catered toward your interests.
At the end of the day, of course, the people who are benefitting the most are advertisers — particularly the ones who have the budgets to “pay to play,” according to Star. So what can you do to prevent your filtered photo-ops from being ignored by the algorithm? In a post on her blog, Star wrote that the most effective way around the change is to ensure that you are tuned in to who your followers are, and what they want to see (she even suggests tracking the performance of a few weeks’ worth of posts to see which type of shot performs best).
If I want my...posts to be seen by more people, I better find ways to personalize the posts. When people like/interact more, the new Instagram algorithm will index my post favorably.
One thing you might not want to do when attempting to boost your followers? Join all of the Instagrammers furiously encouraging people to turn on notifications. The trend began in an effort to help users keep their followers, but, judging by the reaction on Twitter, the move mostly just annoyed everyone.
Sayonara, chronological Instagram feed. It was good while it lasted.