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Instagram and the Rise of the Algorithmic Timeline

algorithmic timeline instagram First Facebook, then Twitter.. now Instagram? Judging by the reaction Twitter received from changing their feeds, we figured Instagram would take notes and stick with their chronological timeline. Twitter received a lot of backlash and even allowed users to opt-out of the new algorithmic timeline to keep it in chronological order. And even though it seems to go against what users want, Instagram is planning to start using an algorithmic timeline in the coming months, allowing users to “see the moments you care about first.”

The average user misses 70 percent of photos and videos in their feed, so Instagram wants to change this by re-ordering users timelines. The algorithm is based on:

  • Your past interactions with content
  • Your relationship with the user that posts the photo or video
  • The time of the post

All of these factors will impact the likelihood that you will be interested in the post. Don’t worry, all of your follower’s posts will still be there, just in a different order. However, in the future, Instagram might even remove content from feeds completely if it’s not something we care about.

Basically, if you’re not getting hundreds of likes on your photos, you might want to step up your Instagram game. Here’s why we think this change is a terrible idea:

  1. Social media is becoming extremely competitive not only for the average user, but also for brands. You’re going to have to compete for a top spot in your followers feed. Isn’t this the opposite of what social media is all about?
  2. Instagram is a great way for brands to interact and engage with customers. But with this algorithmic feed, advertisers will suffer since their organic reach will be limited. Large brands will be able to pay for ads, but small businesses and brands will get lost within feeds.
  3. Real-time marketing will no longer be as relevant because recent posts won’t be at the top anymore.
  4. Instagram is turning into another Facebook. They’re both very different social media platforms and people use them for different reasons. Instagram is a great way to find out what users are doing at any given time. But with this change, who knows if you’ll even see what your friends are doing. Or maybe you’ll end up seeing it a few days later.
  5. Ad blockers have been huge because people don’t like to see ads within their social media feed. With this change comes an increase in paid ads and I think users will get very frustrated with this. People love Instagram because of the organic nature which will be gone with this change.

Personally, I like the chronological timeline and organic nature of Instagram and I hope it stays. I scroll through my Instagram a few times a day and never miss a post. Maybe it’s because I don’t have many followers, but I only like to interact with people I know. What do you think of this proposed change? If you’re like 200,000+ other people who aren’t in favor of this change and want to petition this update, visit #keepinstagramchronological. Instagram said they’ll be open to what users have to say during the testing of this proposed change. So who knows, maybe your signature could help!

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