After a few months of discontent, panic, and prayers, Instagram’s tool for making its visual platform a little more Facebook-esque is getting underway
Last March, Instagram created panic when it became known that the format for displaying images on its feed in chronological order was going to change. Instead, the social network announced that images would be displayed like Facebook’s news feed, organized according to a smart algorithm that would guess which images are more likely to interest you, regardless of the date on which they were posted.
While we all know that this moment would eventually come to pass, we still harbored the hope that it was just a rumor or a trial balloon by Instagram for testing the users’ responses. The end result was considerable anxiety and panic attacks, so there seemed to be no chance that this change would take place.
It appears, however, that our prayers were not answered: A recent post on the company blog officially announced that the change would be expected to reach all users as early as next month.
According to the social network, which appeals mainly to the millennial generation, people fail to notice an average of 70% of what happens on their feed because the larger the community of users, the more difficult it is to follow all the images and clips posted on the platform.
In recent months, some of the users received access to the feed’s new ordering principle, and it was found that people registered more likes for images this way, left more responses, and their overall engagement was shown to be more active. The new image ordering principle now ensures that you will never miss a clip of your favorite band immediately after watching one of their performances, even if you flew especially to Argentina to see them. It also makes no difference how many users you are keeping track of, you will still always see the posts by your closest friends, just as you always did.
Behind the scenes, the new update uses machine learning to display content of interest to the user on their feed, based on past interactions. If you are regularly inclined to register a like for a given account, images posted by that user will always surface on your feed, while the endless series of selfies by your 15 year-old cousin will be shunted off into the margins. Most of the posts will probably still appear in chronological order, but the algorithm will make the feed a little smarter and more personalized for you.
If Instagram wants to ease their users’ panic a little, the simplest solution is to enable the user to choose to display either the top story images or the most recent images on their news feed, utilizing the same option that is currently available on Facebook.