We don’t deserve a better Presidential candidate or a better Instagram feed until we own our shit.
Yesterday, Instagram announced that they may change our feeds to be personalized instead of chronological. In other words, if Instagram’s algorithm decides I will like a photo, it will be at the top of my feed.
The shift will not affect Instagram’s advertising products, which already use and rely on similar targeting principles to serve ads to users. If the changes go well, they could serve to bolster Instagram’s business. The more time people spend using Instagram, the more often the company is able to serve people ads. — Mike Isaac, NYT
I’m not a huge fan. Let’s be clear. Instagram is using the same targeting principles to curate people’s feeds as they currently use for ads. And like all of our digital information, we are being categorized into preference based categories to be fed an onslaught of voices and content that is catered to our tastes. It’s lazy. It’s easier. There’s a zero barrier to entry. It won’t challenge me or make me think. It’s why I feel like everything I see online is homogenous. Because it is. It is homogenized to me. And it is making me more homogenized.
All hail metrics. In my industry, we think we need them. They are perceived as gold. The better we can define, categorize and denominate people, the easier our advertising job becomes. It’s easier to create content. Easier to write copy. It’s easier to speak to a room of people who have already bought in. And advertising, despite our best mental gymnastics, is what drives our digital experience.
Thus, After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. — Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Unwittingly, the more homogenized we become as a digital culture, the more homogenized we become as a culture-culture. De Tocqueville didn’t have an Instagram feed and he was more concerned with the type of voting populace we would become. Sadly, he nailed the state of our 2016 Election. And I bet he would have made a connection between the way we interact with a political campaign and the way we interact on social media.
So, for everyone (including myself) who will feel tricked, manipulated and overpowered when Instagram rolls out our new feed, we deserve it by letting ourselves be homogenized. In a democracy, we get the President we deserve.
Simply put, we can not let anyone tell us what we want. We have to tell everyone what we want. We have to own our shit.
I want a better leader to root for. An original and energetic character who could rise above the crowd. I want a better digital platform that creates a culture of individuality and expression and challenges my presuppositions and makes me think. So…DJ Khaled and some future version of Snapchat.
The key is: Don’t entertain they. Keep they away from you and tell they to bow down and kneel. — DJ Khaled