Refining Instagram

Curating, refining and reinventing the way we consume our Instagram feeds.

Instagram is hands down my favorite app and has been since it’s official launch in 2010, unfortunately I didn’t get it on my personal device for nearly a year after launch as i’m an Android users. Nonetheless I was doing mobile development and had an iPhone that I used for testing & frequently for Instagram. I look back on those days fondly as every image seemed to transport me to some sunny retro filtered world. We all know those days are long gone, for better or worse. We did it to ourselves, invited our friends, co-workers, brands & now there are 300 million monthly users & 70M photos uploaded daily. Is it possible that Instagram has the largest collection of photos in the world?

With hashtag & location attached to most Instagram posts it’s an extremely large & curated library of moment.

One thing that has genuinely impressed me about Instagram is that despite the massive growth they have stayed true to their product & it’s core utility, which is allowing users to share & consume photos/videos. They will add new editing tools, new filters, new discovery tools but the feed & the way you engage remains intact.

But back the topic of scale, as a user you inevitably follow more & more people (unless you’re one of those narcissistic pricks that follow “0” people, chill, you’re not that cool) which in turn means more photos appear in your feed over the period between visits. It’s nearly impossible to see all the photos taken over a 24 hour period. Chances are you’re missing out on the photos that actually matter, instead you’re seeing what someone had for lunch or their latest yoga pose. Currently, the only way to see photos that are most relevant to you at that moment is to be extremely prudent in curating your following or you need to navigate directly to a users page.

I only follow 500+ people and I consider my followings to be a well curated list of friends, skaters/snowboarders, climbers, photographers & a few brands. Theoretically my list represents my core interests but I don’t always want to see the latest products a brand is touting(many times I do). The other problem is that the frequency which users post varies so greatly that even scrolling through the your feed for an hour you still might miss the most impactful photos. So how can I make my feed easier to consume without thinning out who i’m following? How can I just see all of the New York skaters photos? Or just browse the outerwear brands that I follow?

I’m going to change the way I consume my Instagram feed. Instead of getting a general dump of the latest photos, I want to provide high level groupings, for example:

  • Friends/Families = curated user list
  • New York skaters = curated user list
  • Snowboard photographers = curated user list + hashtags #whistlerbackcountry, #usopensnowboarding2015 ,etc
  • New York art galleries = curated user list + hashtags #frieze2015, #bwos2015 ,etc

One of the pleasure of the current Instagram newsfeed is that it’s very it’s passive thoughtless scrolling but right now i’d like to be a more mindful with my Instagram consumption and this is my solution for getting there. With this type of high level grouping I can consume in a more finite, targeted way and further enrich my experience with Instagram.