Don’t kill Instagram, please.
Some penetrative thoughts about why your timeline algorithm is about to render Instagram useless for me. Like it already did with Facebook. Let me explain.
For this matter I’ll reply to the post at your blog, passage by passage:
You may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds. As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most.
No, I’m not surprised. I’m fully aware of that. This is rooted in the nature of time vs following. It’s perfectly predictable. Thus I’m able to take action myself. Usually by just swiping through the timeline to the point when I checked the last time before. It’s linear and I’m fine with that. No big deal.
To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.
…”to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.”
Let’s dissect this: you take action based upon your beliefs. What does that say about trust? I don’t favor the idea of others forcing their beliefs upon me. What if you asked me? Even if you think you know quite much about my wants and needs I have to get this straight: you’re lacking the full picture. Fortunately. So:
What exactly do you believe in?
The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimizing the order — all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.
This is where your timeline algorithm at Facebook already failed for me as stated here. There’s one thing it doesn’t take into credit: what I want is in constant flux. Instead you put yourself in charge and started dictating what’s important to me by removing the predictability of time. And even though I can still switch back to a chronologic manner — I have lost faith in it. Do you expect me to share my personal belongings with a system I fail to trust?
If your favorite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in. And when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it.
Especially at Instagram that’s the opposite of what I want. But I’ll stick with Facebook first:
It turned into a humongous popularity contest. During the last year my timeline became a potpourri of superficial content stirred with negative discussions about politics. Because your algorithm created a half trivial, half downwards driven hydra fed by likes and comments. The more people expose their discomfort about certain political figures and situations, the more they get washed up my timeline. It’s a viscous circle. On the other hand I don’t know where to hide from generic posts. I could start removing or ignoring friends. Is this the best and only tool you come up with?
The posts really relevant for me are often those with an informal or factual character that don’t have any impact on your seismic radar. And they’re hidden somewhere in a closet.
The Instagram factor (to me)
Granted, Instagram is not the place revolving around these matters. Like many others my main motivation for using it is to stay visually inspired. And I’m not the only one. Good read: “You’re using Instagram wrong!”.
That’s where it gets interesting: inspiration contains the element of surprise.
This is a strong USP for Instagram right now. It allows me to discover new bits and pieces I haven’t seen yet. The content that bores me is the kind that social metrics deem interesting. Give me what I’ve never seen before! What you describe above and what happened on Facebook already is the diametric end to this.
Truth is: if my fave musician shares a video from last nights gig I’m most likely to learn about it via Twitter and watch it on YouTube. No matter how much you dislike your competitors: I’m using them anyway. They serve certain purposes more effectively.
At the bottom line: it’s a matter of killing trust, control, transparency, inspiration and thus the fun I have with Instagram. Why and for whom? There are better ways. But I’ll leave it to this for now.
My two and a half cents.