The Life of Bon: Five Reasons I Hate Instagram's New Algorithm

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Five Reasons I Hate Instagram's New Algorithm

I'm sure you've heard by now that Instagram is changing up the way they do things.  Instead of a chronological feed, they are now taking a page out of facebook's book (no pun intended!) and giving us posts in an order according to what we like the most.  Or at least what an algorithm decides that we like the most.

Instagram hasn't been real specific on how the algorithm will work, but we know that if it's anything like facebook, when we like a post we will get more of that person's posts.  If  post has a lot of likes already, we will be more likely to see it.

This has got a lot of people with their panties in a twist.  Including me!  Why, Instagram?  Why why why why?  If it's not broke don't fix it!  I'm trying to see into the minds of Instagram developers why they would decide to make this change and there is really only answer- to make money.  If I want people to see the majority of my facebook friends to see my posts I now have to pay $10 or $20 to "boost" these posts.  My guess is that instagram developers have something similar in mind.

I get it, I get it.  We all want to make money.  But surely there are other ways that Instagram can do that than sacrifice all of us, its users?  I heard someone refer to it yesterday as the "crapification" of social media.  That basically all social media platforms do the same- the longer they are around, the more they change from their original mode and over time just become more and more crappy.  Social media apps get worse with time and popularity, not better.

At the end of the day, Instagram probably doesn't care.  They will make more money, and we will all adjust (unhappily) and Instagram will stay the powerhouse that it is.  But it doesn't mean we have to like it!  Here are just five reasons why I hate instagram's new algorithim.


This is pretty upsetting to me, especially as a small business owner.  Hey June relies on our instagram account (@heyjuneshop) to let interested shoppers know about new products, giveaways, and upcoming sales.  When I post about a sale coming up, the post is not often to get a lot of "likes" but it does result in a lot of sales on etsy for me.  The success of the post, therefore, isn't measured just by the reaction on instagram, but by the reaction on another platform.  The new algorithm means that without hundreds of likes to sustain my posts, fewer and fewer people will be seeing any of my business posts.  On a personal level, I understand the reason for not liking posts.  I follow several small businesses on instagram but am not as prone to "like"  their posts of a new dress that is for sale as I am to "like" my neighbor's announcement that they are buying a house.  This doesn't mean I am not interested in the dress sale.  But because I didn't like the dress picture I will now see these sales less and I will now hear more news of people buying houses.  I am afraid that Hey June will suffer as people who follow our business will see less and less of our posts.


Similarly to the effect that the algorithm will have on small business, I see the algorithm hurting this blog.  When I write a new post, I will often post a picture and share that on instagram along with a link to the post and a brief explanation of what the post is about. That may be how some of you arrived to this post today!) The picture I share on instagram may not get a crazy amount of likes, but I invariably see higher blog traffic surrounding the hours that I posted on instagram.  People don't necessarily stop to like the post on insta, instead they click right over to my profile to go to my blog link.  Again, the success of the instagram post is measured on another platform, blogger.  I fear that in order to get any traffic to my blog I will have to be writing huge, life changing posts with stunning pictures. Which let's face it- I do none of that over here.


I think one of the things I hate the most about the algorithm is that some formula supposedly knows what I am interested or not interested in.  My agency is taken away, and what I want to see is left to the social media gurus.  Didn't I decide that when I decided to follow these people, celebrities, and brands?  By following them I basically said, "Yep, I want to see everything you post on instagram."  And if I change my mind and no longer want that, then I have the freedom to stop following them.  I hate that this change takes the control away from me.  I like the way I see my feed.  Can't my algorithm just be exactly the way it is?  It's basically like the app is telling me, "Here.  Let us decide.  Your choices aren't as good as ours."  It feels like I'm just one of many pawns in their system and they will use me as they see fit.


With facebook now I am constantly seeing the same posts over and over and over.  I don't feel like my facebook scrolling is efficient at all.  The posts that have a lot of likes or that I commented on are at the top of my feed, regardless of whether I've seen it already or not.  Sometimes I'll see the same post at the top of my feed for a day or two.  It takes a ridiculous amount of scrolling to see something new.  And no matter how much I scroll there are certain things that facebook has decided I just won't get to see.  Ever.  I love that with instagram I can scroll until I've seen a picture I've already seen and then I know I'm caught up.  I saw all that my friends posted.


Now when I log onto facebook I am bombarded with marriage announcements, gender reveals, and birth statistics.  It's the time of life I'm in- people my age are getting married, giving birth, and buying homes!  Last week I remember scrolling through four new babies at the top of my feed.  That's awesome!  I love babies!  But most of these babies were from people I hardly know.  A high school acquaintance whom I literally haven't seen in 12 years.  A friend's husband's sister.  Yes, it may be HUGE NEWS to them, but it isn't to me.  The posts garnered lots of likes, accounting for why they were at the top of my feed, but I'd rather hear what silly thing my niece said today than the labor details of someone I hardly know anymore.  I feel like the "trivial" or the more enjoyable, subtle moments of life get crowded out for the big, flashy moments.  What if I want my social media feed to represent silly, mundane, and not life changing moments?  Well, too bad!  It's only worth seeing if it's huge!

Likewise, I am SO tired of the political conversations on my facebook wall.  But because those are the posts that are commented on a lot and getting so much attention, I can't avoid them.  It's big news to the rest of the world, so facebook has decided that it must be big news to me too!  I don't want to see it, I don't want to participate in it, but I am forced to because facebook says so.  Instagram will now follow suit.

Are you guys all as upset as I am about the change?  In the end there's probably not much we can do.  BUT.  There is this petition going around.  It might help.  It might not.  But it only takes a moment to sign if you want your instagram feed kept chronological.

Any things that you like or dislike about the change?  Maybe you can all help me to see the good?

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