Instagram, Algorithms and Undue Outrage

Over the past few days you might have heard about the impending algorithm update at Instagram. While some people are losing their minds over the change, I find the surprise or anger laughable.

Design and UX has changed a lot since Myspace was the new social media platform with skyrocketing user numbers, but the formula for success has remained the same.

Get the user hooked on the product at the bargain rate of FREE, then charge them for it.

Whether through ad revenue via businesses or eyeballs on the consumer side, it’s all about matching us with the products we want. Even so, I’ve found tons of value in Facebook and Instagram, I just don’t act like they are a free solution to a business strategy that has always been a cost: marketing.

There are two points to be made here:

  1. We shouldn’t be surprised or outraged by the Instagram algorithm. While social media is indeed a way to connect, it’s also inherently an advertising play. Was it a bait and switch by Facebook to decrease organic reach in favor of pay to play advertising? I’d say, NO. Zuckerberg made it clear what the plan was, yet somehow people acted like Facebook had no idea where revenue was going to come from.

C’mooooooooooooooooooon now!

2. Are we so blinded by the flavor of the month that we can’t as a society recall things that happened in very recent history, or have completely lost our ability to see patterns amid the likes and the swipes?

All I’m saying is, this did not come out of left field. If you expect social media to not include advertising, you either haven’t been paying attention or love yelling into black holes.

As individuals and businesses’, speaking directly and personally is the only way to communicate.

My two cents…

If you’re an individual, that should be easy.

If you’re a business, build your newsletter.