Instagram, like its parent company Facebook, have decided they know what you want to see better than you do. Less you think that's hyperbole, it says so right on today's Instagram blog post. Of course they also claim they will listen to feedback but when was the last time a tech company listened to feedback? This may sound like something to put in the No Big Deal pile, until you consider lawyers representing a Belgian data security company have accused Facebook of being no different than the NSA when it comes to spying on you. Remember, whenever a new service or algorithm is unveiled, it benefits the company's bottom line, not you. This is about data collection, and it works in tandem with advertisers. The more they know about your behavior the better they can "tailor make" adverts. The problem with this is that people don't like adverts tailor made for them. They don't like online advertising at all, especially Facebook's horrible garbage dump cluttering the sides of your page. It's the reason the Facebook extension which hides the adverts F.B. Purity is so popular. Not only can you hide the ads, but you can customize Facebook to make it "go back," to the way it was in terms of your timeline.
We also don't like malware, or ads that follow us around. Consumers are such a demanding lot, aren't they.
Instagram's new rollout is more or less designed to keep you checking all the time. Techcrunch posits that "eventually, low-quality posts might be filtered out entirely."
Define 'low-quality posts,' please. If I made the decision to follow an account it's because I want to see the posts.
Techcrunch nails the issues with this so-called optimization technique: Remixing the feed will make Instagram less useful as a real-time content feed because the most recent posts won’t necessarily be at the top. Users will have to worry about making their posts good enough to be chosen by the algorithm or their posts could be de-prioritized. And brands might lose the reach of a previously reliable marketing channel, the same way they did with Facebook Pages.
In other words, Instagram is doing what Twitter did, and making its unique selling point irrelevant. Twitter's best function was as that real-time content feed. But now that they're making the algorithmic timeline a default one has to wonder exactly how this is an example of a company listening to its user base. A base, I might add, that is already becoming suspicious that Twitter's high school popular kids are using these tools as a way to shadow ban users whose political opinions it doesn't like. Is it any wonder Twitter's stock is still tanking and investor confidence is still low?
Let's hope Instagram doesn't follow suit and create a Fascist Trust and Safety Council, lest they drive away a user base as well. All the algorithm changes in the world won't matter if people are leaving in droves. And here's a news flash: people aren't leaving over free speech a few tech elitists find disagreeable, and wish we'd rather not have the right to speak. No, they are leaving because in addition to the Orwellian restrictions on said speech, the algorithm has changed for the worse. It's more apparent that Instagram, Facebook and Twitter do not believe you are adult enough to make your own choices on who to follow, what to like, and what to see. It was only five or six years ago where these companies had completely different philosophies. Now every new change is palpable and destructive and leaves the user base feeling more upset and cynical.
So where does that leave us? For now, Snapchat. Yesterday Bloomingdale's announced it is going all in on Snapchat because it offers something the other sites don't. According to an article in Digiday, Bloomingdale's vp of social media Jonathan Paul said “Snapchat allows us to bring the energy and animation of what’s happening in our stores to our followers....that’s something we couldn’t do on other channels.”
Considering more and more millennials are on Snapchat because they feel more comfortable on it now's the time for brands to take advantage of it. The other sites are just aping each other in terms of rolling out new features no one wants or filters few have asked for. Snapchat has a big chance to be the leading advertising platform. The only thing it needs to do to maintain it is nothing. Let's hope they do just that.