To begin, I'd like to modify a quote from Jane Park, founder of Julep (affiliate link). She says, "Beauty is about connection, not competition." I like to think that quote applies to Instagram - it's about connection and shouldn't be about competition. That's what I think people love about Instagram - all posts get equal standing, at least before the algorithm takes over. Sure, people often strive for followers and perhaps compete for likes, but for many of us, Instagram is a place where we can connect with others and share images of what we see or do. And, we can interact by clicking the heart to show our enjoyment, or comment to engage with the account owner, without much thought about implications. Until now, those images had equal standing with every other image posted to a follower's feed. The biggest concern when posting used to be which hashtags were appropriate. Now, with the introduction of an algorithm to rank posts according to popularity and appeal, quite a few things change. At least for me, it isn't about "being seen" so much as it is about what I will see. I like when my posts get hearts as much as the next person, and I get excited when new people decide to follow me. Until now, I enjoyed freely heart-ing and commenting when I saw something helpful, or interesting, or beautiful.
Now, I will constantly be evaluating whether or not it's worth it to click the heart or comment on a post. Questions like, "How will this affect my feed?" "How much have I liked from this company or individual lately?" and "Who might I knock lower on my feed if I interact here?" are likely to be on the forefront of my mind.
I will be far less likely to interact (and perhaps even follow) companies and large Instagram accounts, since I can usually find the same information on Facebook, and individuals are the best part of Instagram. I don't want to open Instagram and have to weed through popular posts from big accounts before I get to the people I've met and gotten to know through Instagram.
A few other (more succinct) thoughts:
- Chronological posts give users the opportunity to know when they have "caught up" on posts. When you get to the ones you've already seen, you know you've seen them all. When posts are presented by an algorithm that decides which ones are most interesting, it is difficult to know (and maybe not possible) whether you have seen all the recent posts by all the people you follow.
- A new algorithm that leads to "most interested" posts feed will likely lead to fewer followers. People may be more selective about whom the follow. (I know I will.)
- A new algorithm that leads to "most interested" posts feed may result in extra accounts. You know those email accounts you have for emails from stores and places you don't want in your regular inbox? I imagine people doing the same for Instagram accounts for companies and celebrities in order to keep their feed from being filled with posts by companies with thousands of followers instead of their other social media friends.
- Remember all the trouble businesses had (have) getting their posts seen when Facebook moved to their new algorithm - and either had to change operations or pay to have their posts boosted? Are people who use Instagram for business or blogging going to face the same?
- The beauty of Instagram is that it is simple and straightforward. You follow people, you scroll your feed, you see what they posted, you see a few ads, people are ok with that. Algorithms that try to decide for you what you want to see are neither simple nor straightforward.
- It is important that social media platforms listen to input and feedback from their users.
- Facebook and Pinterest went to algorithms to decide which posts (or pins) you were likely most interested in, and user satisfaction and enjoyment has dropped significantly. I don't have data to support this, but if you talk to most people who use these social media forums regularly, you'll see many comments along the lines of "I hate the new changes to Pinterest" and "that's one of the reasons that I stopped using Facebook much."
In short, users should decide which posts and whose posts they want to see, and how they want to see them.
Truly, only time will tell what the algorithm really means. And certainly we can all learn to adapt. Bari J had a scope about why she wasn't boycotting Instagram and her thoughts on dealing with the change. I think her points are valid and of course we should still look for ways to connect through the community; but at the same time, I do think there are legitimate concerns and losses involved with the change.
Please consider expressing your views if you are against the Instagram changes. Sign the petition, take part in a day of protest and stay off Instagram on Friday, March 18 for 24 hours in your own time zone, Tweet @Instagram to let them know what you think, "report a problem" from your Instagram account using the setting tab, and/or post an image to your account (or regram one of the many images available by checking the hashtags).
I'm joining in a day of protest for 24 hrs on Friday March 18 against the proposed changes on @instagram. ⬆Also link in profile⬆to a few of my thoughts on the matter and links to the petition, etc. PLEASE JOIN AND REGRAM #keepinstagramchronological #boycottinstagramalgorithms #RIPInstagram #keepinstagramthisway #instagramfeedback #instafeedback #