Re: Instagram’s New Algorithm
As most of you are aware, Instagram is introducing a new algorithm today that will optimize your feed based on your actions within the app in hopes to provide a better experience. It seems many people never wanted this change, myself included, though is likely more about monetizing the platform than enhancing the user experience. Although I do think the whole matter has been blown out of proportion, I thought I’d chime in after reading Gary V’s great post on the matter and its positive impacts. If you haven’t read it, take a moment get some context to my response. If you didn’t read Gary’s post, the tl:dr is that the Instagram’s new algorithm isn’t going to take content away, but provide more targeted content and therefor provide a better experience to the end user; likeness to Facebook’s news feed and contrary to Twitter’s chronological feed.
At this point I also want to say I’m an advocate towards many of Gary V’s perspectives, but every now and then everyone has their differences. 😉
For the most part I agree with Gary’s perspective, however I think where he’s weighted Facebook’s and Twitter’s success is misplaced.
To some extent, Facebook’s algorithm to provide people with the content that is most interesting to them is almost too efficient. There’s nothing organic about it, and I find my wall to be quite predictable and bland because I can anticipate what I see. On the other hand, Twitters feed lacks engagement mostly due to it’s predominantly text based format versus the other social platform alternatives I’d prefer to be on.
Part of what makes a chronological content feed engaging is it’s innately organic. I may have an inkling of what to expect from certain people I follow, but I still can’t predict what I will see. My concern with Instagram’s new algorithms is the very issue that it will feed me content based on my actions which don’t always reflect my interests. As a director and I think like anyone, I want to be enlightened, entertained, and educated which doesn’t always come from my typical interests.
When it comes to Instagram or snapchat, my first filter of optimization is my decision whether to follow or not. Should I find their content uninteresting, I can just turn it off. If I’m enjoying the content from someone I follow, I may explore who their following or collaborating with. The beauty being the exploration and experience is innately engaging.
I think one of the things social platforms are running the risk of doing through optimizing their content is removing the users ability to decide for themselves how to shape their experience and to some extent removes the organic nature of the people’s lives we surround ourselves with.
I’ll leave it off with a thought, would our lives be innately better if we were always given what we wanted immediately? I think the danger here is as social platforms continue to optimize to provide the most engaging content all the time, we run the risk of over stimulating ourselves and in turn reducing our seemingly shrinking attention spans.