During our classes this week, we talked a lot about Instagram’s new algorithm that would change the timeline structure to highlight more relevant posts. For some reason, EVERYONE freaked out. Users began protesting, posting for people “turn on notifications” and setting up a petition for Instagram to keep the current algorithm. The immediate response against the policy change was staggering, which led us to the question: why was everyone so against the change?
One reason is clear. People are worried that their posts will not be deemed “relevant” and less people will see their posts. It’s a valid concern, since it means people would have to actively search for accounts they don’t see. A report finds that an average of 2.61% of followers interact with a post, meaning that the algorithm would significantly reduce the number of people that see your posts. This is especially concerning for companies that engage their customers on Instagram, because they would lose reach and exposure to customers that don’t regularly interact with them.
Facebook changed their feed in 2009. However, Facebook is much more cluttered with content than Instagram, as Instagram users only post an average of 2.69 posts a day. With the small number of posts and accounts followed, the algorithm would complicate Instagram’s usage. The current chronological timeline is simple to understand and familiar; adding a new algorithm would change how we see posts, when we see posts, and possibly IF we see posts at all. This overcomplicates the extremely simple experience Instagram users like. Users like the minimalistic interface, easy interactions and quick posting. And although it’s unlikely users will delete their accounts because of this change, it definitely affects the way they experience Instagram and interact with other accounts.