Our world is ever changing and sometimes this happens to our favourite social networks. So when Instagram announced on March 15 that it was introducing an algorithm, people freaked out!! Instead of seeing posts as they happen in chronological order, we will now see posts that Instagram finds as the most connected to you. This means, when you log in you will now see posts at the top of your feed from potentially days ago vs in live time. However people don't like change, especially when it comes to the things we love. After all Instagram is the peoples app, a personal platform and has always been about community first. I have been an active user of the app for a few years and have developed a few platforms on it. I have also had the opportunity to visit the HQ in San Francisco and meet some of the team at Instagram. I have put together some thoughts about the change... I may be very right or very wrong, only time will tell. In the meantime, here is my take on it all.
1. Instagram is NOT Facebook. Yes, we all know that Facebook owns Instagram but here is the thing...Facebook already exists, They don't need to turn Instagram into this platform. Facebook is basically a utility now, just like the phonebook. People use it, but its not really cool. Instagram is cool. It is a separate platform and it makes sense to allow its function to be separate or else it becomes obsolete.
2. Engagement is King- Instagram thrives because of its unique ability to offer a space where people can build platforms that allow for active and growing engagement. Their goal is to make it better for the user, not worse. Nothing will kill the app faster than if this engagement dies. If people are missing 70% of the content on the app, they are missing it anyway. This is a problem. Keeping it chronological won't fix the problem, in fact probably only make it worse. Instagram is looking at ways to increase the whole experience for the user when it comes to time and connection.
3. It's not all about the money- We have all seen Instagram move to sponsored posts, and yes we understand that they needed to do this as apps need to be monetized. However, I don't believe the new algorithm is based upon the need to make more money. Instagram makes a lot of money for Facebook, not only through ads but the data alone collected from users has significant worth. Could it be they are interested in helping the user have a better and more engaged experience? After all, if you don't, this too could kill the app.
4. Community First- Over my years of using the app, I have been able to meet and speak to the Community Manager at Instagram. In fact, before there was ever an engineer, there was a Community Manager. This alone should tell you this company has designed itself to invest into and cultivate relationships with its user base. They have spent years promoting and showcasing artists and talents and have done a great job at making our big world small. Relationships and opportunities have been built through this platform. The amount of energy invested in this is what has set this app apart and I don't foresee the team at Instagram abandoning these values to which they have not only fought for, but exemplified over time.
This all being said, I could be 100% wrong, but I am choosing to look at this as a positive thing. They are wanting to enhance the user experience and bring the best content that we want before our eyes. With every platform, there will be change and at the end of the day we can be thankful that we have been able to be a part of the Instagram story and as long as we all continue to post and share what we love, we will find the people around us that will appreciate and enjoy our work. So calm down, breathe and let's see what happens. If you any thoughts, I would love to hear them. Throw a comment below!!! In the meantime, go take a selfie! Nothing does better for the soul than a great selfie!
An entrepreneur, creator, father & husband from Calgary, Scott Bakken is inspiring a generation of creatives to live their best life.