Cyclone Instagram has been threatening to devastate the coast of Instaland for the past few days with ‘InstaFamous’ personalities and brands joining with the frightened masses of over 400million everyday Instagram civilians.
Instagram have recently announced an update to their algorithm, which prioritises the posts they see first by which accounts they and their followers are most engaged with. This will transform the way its users will be seeing their newsfeed on the popular social media platform, aligning it with Instagram’s Dad, Facebook, and rival social media neighbour, Twitter.
This has sent users scrambling to gather up followers to subscribe to their posts by requesting followers turn on post notifications. The hashtags #turnmeon and #letsstaytogether have been circulated by the fearful masses, grasping at an attempt to gather as many subscribers as possible to their feeds, often by posting a plead to followers, begging to “turn on post notifications”.
In essence, this will ensure users will get a pop-up notification on their phones whenever that account posts an image on Instagram.
The civilians of Instaland are running for the hills, gathering as many subscribers and engaged followers as they can get their hands on before Cyclone Instagram hits land.
Wait…whats that?! Instagram yesterday announced this devastating social media disaster that was scheduled to hit Instaland today, is no longer heading towards land at all – a spokesperson of Instagram saying its change to the algorithm will not be released immediately, with “weeks or months of testing yet to be done”.
You can not tell me that a global powerhouse of social media and it’s father, the very King of Social Media, are that disorganised that they were unaware of the remaining “weeks and months” of testing yet to be done before this massive change to it’s algorithm. Why then does Instagram preach this threat of it’s very own cyclone, then back down on it?
In essence, the major change this algorithm update will create is the order in which you’ll see the posts of the users you’re following. Lets say, for example, I’m following 400 accounts on Instagram. They start pleading with me to turn the push notifications on for their account. Some, I ignore – I don’t really engage with their posts anyway. Others, are of accounts I adore. I get excited when I see their posts emerging up from the bottom of my phone. They’ve almost guaranteed my double tap before I’m presented with their new puppy, the cute nephew biting into his first lemon or getting my Selena, Justin, Taylor and Kim fix for the day.
The posts I engage with most are already going to rise to the top of my Instafeed anyway – that’s the whole point of this algorithm! I don’t want a push notification jumping out at me when one of the 40 accounts I’ve subscribed to post. I’ll look at them when I’m ready to see them; during a sneaky bathroom break at work, in that awkward elevator situation or waiting for my double decaf mocha latte at Starbucks.
SO whats the big deal?! Is this a vicious ploy for Instagram to demand a higher prominence on your notifications screen, encouraging you to visit it’s app more and more?
I’m not 100% sure of how the future of engagement will look, but I do know one thing for sure. The people who want to follow my Instagram will follow it, the people who want to connect with it will engage organically with it, and those people will be continuing to see my posts near the top of their newsfeeds. The people who don’t engage or connect with my posts won’t see too many of mine. I’ll be submerged under the scrolls of the accounts they connect with most.
And is that really a bad thing? Maybe this algorithm is about managing the hyper-inflation of Instagram and the amount of accounts people follow. There can only be a certain number of accounts that one human can personally and organically be involved with. Maybe this algorithm will keep the accounts you know and love close to you, by featuring them at the top of your feed.
This sounds a lot like natural selection. It’s not necessarily Instagram selecting what you see, it’s more a result of what you choosing what you see, as a result of what you engage with most. So why are so many people so scared by their own choices?
Maybe Cyclone Instagram is nothing more than a warm breeze on a mild autumn day. Blowing away the dead autumn leaves that no longer have that strong connection with you and allowing room for fresh new Instabuds to grow and flourish.
So then, how do we prepare for this warm breeze coming from Instagram HQ in the next couple of months? Nothing. Engage with the accounts you love, just as you are. Scroll past the accounts that no longer do it for you. The accounts you feed with engagement will keep coming back for more, the accounts that don’t, will remain at the bottom of your feed, waiting for your attention and those illustrious double taps.
Why should I care so much about this? I’m a Full-Time Instagrammer. Instagram is my bread and butter, and the way my 700,000 followers engage with my brand directly affects my income and business success. I’m not sure how this is going to affect me. I do know for sure I’m not going to plead with my followers with arrows pointing to dots in the corner of their screens.
My dear Instagram civilians, do what you are doing now. Engage with the accounts you love. Ignore the ones you don’t. Instagram will do the rest.