My Facebook feed blew up with news yesterday of Instagram planning to change the way its feed presents updates. Instead of the usual chronological order we’ve gotten used to, they’ll employ a similar algorithm to what Facebook uses for its News Feed. The response I’ve seen so far is one of dissent or feeling like it’s not something they need at the moment.
I might be getting older and getting more set in my ways but there are some things I feel like you shouldn’t mess with. So I list down three reasons why I’m not too happy with this impending change.
- It loses spontaneity and order. There’s a certain sense of order to seeing things appear on Instagram. I like that I get to see things happened at a certain time. This is happening now, this happened this morning. Yes, I know some people are known to post “latergrams,” I’ll be a hypocrite if I didn’t say I do those, too. But I feel like with this change Instagram is losing its essence. The feeling of things coming to you at an “instant.” This great event is happening now and I want to share it as it happens. I want to capture this beautiful place as I see it through my eyes right now.
- Facebook is a mess. Let’s be honest. None of us can understand how Facebook’s algorithm works. And it’s just usually a jumble of posts interspersed by a lot of pesky advertising. I don’t want my Instagram feed to just be peppered with only popular posts or worse even more ads/sponsored content. I have nothing against sponsored content. Some of them are great. But I don’t want to be bombarded by them. I fear the relevancy-optimized Instagram feed will cause unnecessary worry or stress on part of its users when thinking if these are good enough to be chosen by the algorithm or their posts become de-prioritized. Sure, you could argue that this will challenge users to think more creatively to get noticed. But for those who just want to use the service for fun and get to see different things, it might be more difficult to get your content seen.
- Copying from the wrong idea. Instagram claims users don’t get to see 70 percent of its feed because the most shared images get drowned in the many, many photos shared on the social network. And so they want to surface more amazing and relevant images. And while I agree with that, I wish they take a page of another social network that’s trying to reinvent itself—Twitter. Have a “While You’re Away” feature, too. But instead of integrating it into the feed, have a separate tab for it. You might say again that just adds an extra step. But it’s just one tap away at most.
We can speculate why Instagram is doing this. As an article on AdWeek claims, the move is inevitable “as the photo-sharing app builds out its ad business and takes a page from sister company Facebook’s playbook, even if it irks Instagram’s core users.” There is still fear that it might rely heavily on sponsored content with the new changes coming up. But, honestly, I hope that’s just not it. I want to believe it would show more relevant content. Instagram hasn’t said just how much of the Facebook model it will implement. And we’ll see it soon enough as Instagram rolls the changes out. At this point, we just have to wait and see. And for some of us, grumble and complain about this surprisingly controversial change.