Publish Date: 04/17/2016
Over the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed the mayhem that’s occurred on the popular photo sharing app, Instagram.
Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has become notorious for the introduction of selfies, hash-tags, filters, and the ability to turn seemingly flawless people into insta-celebrities. (But seriously; how do these Instagram “models” always look perfect… and who is following them around 24/7 taking “candid” shots at the beach?)
One of the best features of Instagram has always been the live feed in which images are shown. At any point in time, you can open the app to find the most recent uploads, hence the prefix “insta”. The problem is that each photo only has an average life of about 4 hours before becoming buried in a person’s feed. Even if you think you’ve seen it all, statistics show that users are actually missing about 70% of the content that gets posted.
So what’s the solution?
This is where the new feature comes into play. For those who didn’t know, Instagram was bought by Facebook back in 2012. If you’re one of the “social network’s” 1.59 billion monthly active users, you may have noticed that what appears in your timeline is generally content that you care about. (Okay “caring” is a loose term…you might not actually “care” about your bigoted uncle’s political rants, but if you haven’t unfollowed him yet, his statuses are likely to show up.) This is all made possible due to Facebook’s carefully calculated algorithm.
What’s an Algorithm?
Essentially, Facebook has developed a formula to collect and compile data based on everything that gets posted by your friends, the people you follow, groups you belong to and pages you like. For the average user more than 1,500 posts are scanned, although this number can be much higher based on the size of your network. Facebook then takes this information and uses its algorithm to “rank” each post or advertisement in the order of how likely you are to interact with it or find it worthwhile. Even if you have hundreds of Facebook friends, you will only be shown a portion of curated content.
So, to break it down as simply as possible, marketers want to find out absolutely everything there is to know about you, in a non-creepy yet slightly invasive way.
Although it seems intrusive, this type of technological breakthrough is a way for social media platforms to create an engaging and highly personalized online experience. Rather than logging in and seeing photos of someone you haven’t spoken to in 10 years, it ensures you never miss the heartwarming pictures of your adorable nephews.
How will this affect Instagram?
A similar type of algorithm is what’s expected to roll-out on Instagram over the next few weeks. Instead of seeing images appear in chronological order, your newsfeed will be filled with photos that are more relevant to your interests. The app has already started doing this, by showing suggested posts on the “Explore” tab from people that post content similar to what you’ve engaged with previously.
However, an update that is intended to increase the user’s experience has had some serious backlash. Several celebrities and social media “stars” have expressed their contempt for the new feature.
Instagrammers took the platform by storm and reposted an image that asked followers to “Turn Post Notifications On” so their images would still get seen. Since photos will no longer appear organically in the order that they were posted, users can now subscribe to their favorite accounts so they get alerted each time a new picture is added.
So, how will this update impact you?
If you want to be notified every single time someone uploads an image, then feel free to actually turn on post notifications. However, if you’re subscribed to multiple accounts, this will likely get irritating very quickly and isn’t really necessary. The algorithm analyzes the accounts that you frequently interact with anyway, and these posts will show up regardless.
If you’re worried about how your own account will be affected, don’t stress. Just like Facebook, your posts will still be seen, but mainly by those who actually care about it. After-all, isn’t that more important, anyway?
However, if you don’t have a ton of followers or your posts receive low engagement, it is possible that your images won’t gain a lot of visibility.
The bottom Line:
Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to keep your followers engaged by sharing visually stimulating images that captivate your fans. Each social platform has its purpose, and it’s important to remember that what works for Facebook won’t always be the best choice for Instagram. Utilize the apps filters to make your photos more vibrant, add appropriate hashtags to increase visibility, and interact with similar accounts to build a following, while keeping your content relevant.
People are always going to be resistant to change at first. As technology becomes more advanced and social media continues to evolve at a rapid pace, it’s vital that you to keep up with the trends and embrace innovative ideas.
After all, if social media platforms never made any modifications, we’d all still be friend requesting this guy:
Tell us what you think about the update below!
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