Instagram & the Algorithm – will we survive?

News of Instagram’s new algorithm has caused panic throughout the social media world. The impending doom of a non-chronological timeline has caused some Insta users to rise up and create a virtual backlash. Sort of.

Algorithm, schmalgorithm…

Instagram has announced that they’ll be updating their app to include a new algorithm. That means images will appear in our timelines based on your interests and what’s popular, and not chronologically.

Timelines will now not be based on the most recent content anymore, but instead by what we’re interested in, according to Instagram. Now, Instagram users see posts in their timelines that Instagram thinks we need to see. What THEY think is of interest to us.

DropCapCopy "I'm hearing the word 'algorithm' way too much lately" tweet

Twitter users were told of a similar fate in February.

Where’s the fun in algorithms??

Come Fill My Little World Right Up

On one hand, I can barely contain my indifference. Are we really worrying about this and making it a ‘thing’? We spend most of our days and nights phubbing each other anyway, so what’s a little more scrolling time?

On the other hand, I’m with the rebellion. Silently venting my displeasure at why the relative calm of my double tapping pleasure is now disturbed.

Nowadays, iPhones are practically a part of us. An extension to our hands that takes a steely resolve to let go of. We invest so much in them, that we choose carefully which apps we want to spend our time with. Frivolous freebies or must-have apps are both personal decisions that we live by on a daily basis.

With apps like Instagram and Twitter, we’re able to create our own little virtual world. We can be ourselves or a whole different person. Either way, we choose to ‘like’ and ‘follow’ who or what we want.

Just like Twitter, when I log-in to Instagram, I see MY profile. MY photos and photos from accounts that I want to follow.

Opening The Floodgates

Through Instagram’s massive popularity, they reckon users miss “on average, 70% of their feeds”. So, if we’re only seeing 30% of posts, it might as well be the most popular posts, right?

Er… wrong, actually.

The image you want to see of your friend’s wedding may well be buried under a slew of images that you’re decidedly ‘meh’ about.

Image showing the reason why we shouldn't turn on notifications

The voice of reason

Instagram is just showing you what it thinks you ought to be seeing. Though you might miss out on a genuinely great post made by a casual ‘grammar.

To ensure your followers know about your images (and you to see theirs), it means turning on notifications. As a result, the Push Alert floodgates are well and truly open. And that’s a whole other level of chaos.

If you’re an avid Instagrammer posting several images a day, sooner or later (probably sooner) your followers will get mighty peeved with the constant alerts. Times that by all their other followed accounts and…well, you get the picture. It makes for a good way to get unfollowed.

You could, of course, just interact a little more with your favourite accounts. That should boost them up within that all important 30% bracket, thus making all this hoo ha pointless.

Blame The Machines

While the whole Twitter and Instagram furore may have made the tech headlines recently, more often than not, these issues slide under the radar and are generally ignored and we all carry on as normal.

Dig a little deeper and what it really means is that we no longer have a digital platform that we can call ‘our own’. Slowly but surely, our choices, however small, are being eroded by a computerised set of rules.

How do you feel about Instagram and the new algorithm? Tweet me and let me know.


To see DropCapCopy on Instagram, visit my page and give me a follow – just don’t turn on notifications!

And why not have a read of some previous DropCapCopy blogs as well?

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Published by Graeme on 4 April 2016