Howdy, and a happy Monday to ya! For the past two weeks, I’ve been doing a bit of an east coast tour— mostly spring breaking with the kids in New York City (with the in-laws), then hitting Florida (to hang with my parents), and in between darting briefly to the HGTV Smart Home 2016 in Raleigh, NC to hang with the fabulous Tiffany Brooks and meet with the media as they paraded through the house. I’ll admit, I neglected the blog a bit, though I did manage to squeeze out an article or two (if you missed my list of the best streaming workouts, you should check that out). But now I’m back, and full speed ahead!
Though I was mostly trying to stay digitally “off” last week, enjoying family time and dodging Florida sun showers, I couldn’t help but notice the mayhem that ensued last Monday when Instagram announced The Great Algorithm Change. Basically, Instagram has decided to change what’s displayed in our feed from a reverse chronology to something more sophisticated: The Instagram algorithm that will take into account your relationship with the poster, and the timeliness of the post, among other factors.
It sounds like a good thing— but it seemed like everyone from celebrities to shop owners had an Insta-meltdown, begging (please!!) their audiences to “turn on notifications” so their posts won’t be lost in the feed.
It seemed a bit pathetic to me.
It felt weird to see celebrities and businesses alike desperately demanding that their audience receive notifications (like we need more of those!) every time they post. Like we’d never see each other again otherwise. Clingy, much?
Here’s the thing: Contrary to how it may seem, we all can only consume so many Instagram posts in a day. Most of people’s posts get missed anyway because (and I’m making an assumption here) we all have a life and aren’t always on Instagram. We’re working, we’re making dinner, we’re talking to friends or our children or doing something that matters… at least I hope we are. Even Instagram agrees, writing in a blog post earlier this month:
“You may be surprised to learn that people miss on average of 70 percent of their feeds. As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most.”
They go on to explain that If you’re someone who is truly a fan— you like and comment on many of a certain ‘grammer’s posts— then that person will rank high in your algorithm and you won’t miss their posts anyway. So what’s with all the aggressive bossing and pleading to “stay in touch,” as if their audience is about to set off on a far-away voyage?
Post great stuff and I will continue to follow you and like you… and that will ensure you end up tops in my algorithm. It’s that simple.
I get it. Panic sets in whenever a social media platform makes a significant change to how they do things. It’s a sobering reminder that while our accounts seems like our own, they’re not really ours at all— they belong to the company that hosts them and allows us to communicate across their network. I get it— ‘grammers and celebrities who have large audiences can monetize them, and a change in how users see (or don’t see) their posts affects a significant source of revenue.
Here’s what I know for sure: I follow people on Instagram for posting great content. And I’m constantly pruning my feed when posts don’t please me— I want to get to the things that matter most. Post great stuff and I will continue to follow you and like you… and that will ensure you end up tops in my algorithm. It’s that simple.
Instagram has said that the changes won’t happen right away— they have weeks or even months to go while they test, and will let us all know when the changes roll out to the masses.
So my advice? Think twice before you turn on notifications. We just don’t need any more of those. I say reserve the right to interrupt your day for your kids or your spouse or other VIPs in your life. Lastly, use this as an opportunity to decrease the amount of Instagrammers you follow, so you see more of the posts you want to see, algorithm or not. Think of it like cleaning out your closet… if your closet was full of Avocado toast, shoe-selfies and vacation shots.
(That’d be one weird but very photogenic closet).
What do you think of Instagram’s algorithm change? Let me know below.