Wow, hasn’t Instagram been a blast the last 24 hours! One in Three posts has been someone pleading that we “turn on notifications” to ensure you can “still see my posts”. Let’s cut through the crap and work out just what’s going on here.
Someone, somewhere, sometime in the last few days started a viral trend to match it with the Ice Bucket Challenge. The difference being it had nothing to do with awareness of a rare medical disease or raising money – it’s just related to ensuring people keep getting all the “likes” they’re used to on Instagram.
A couple of weeks ago, Instagram announced a change to their app – an important change. At a point in time “in the coming months” they’re going to switch things up. Right now, when you open Instagram the very latest posts from anyone you follow appear at the top of your screen (or “Feed”). As you scroll down the pictures you see get older and older, be they a minute older or three hours, they’re all listed in order of the exact time they were posted.
Instagram – owned by Facebook – are changing that. Like Facebook, they’re going to use complex computer algorithm’s to determine what you see first and when.
“See the moments you care about first” is how Instagram describe this. And before you get the pitch forks out – it works pretty well for Facebook ok.
Now, contrary to popular believe, you won’t NOT see anyone’s post. The most engaging posts will appear first, the ‘grammers you engage with most will appear first – it will actually make the feed more relevant at the top, and after that you will be able to keep on scrolling, just like you do now.
Update: Even Instagram is getting the word out that nothing is changing yet!
We’re listening and we assure you nothing is changing with your feed right now. We promise to let you know when changes roll out broadly.
— Instagram (@instagram) March 28, 2016
Is this perfect? Nope. Is there a reason for it? Yep.
Facebook need to make money from Instagram. To do that, they need to hook you up with more relevant sponsored posts within your feed. That’s their end game.
So, if you’ve started seeing “turn on notifications” posts from friends and brands you follow – think about this:
- If you turn on notifications for everyone you follow, your phone will go nuts, it will drive you crazy and you’ll end up disabling all Instagram Notifications.
- Will there be posts you miss? Yeah, if you don’t scroll enough, if you don’t engage enough with posts and posters that you like most.
- Do you NEED to turn on notifications? Heck no.
- Will the world end when Instagram changes the feed? No. But it will annoy and frustrate for sometime. Expect a mega backlash:)
Critically, Instagram has not yet even started testing this new feed algorithm with any test users, so they’re not likely anywhere near ready to roll it out. It’s not changing tomorrow, so relax. You don’t have to turn notifications on, in fact, in my view – if you do – you’ll hate the Instagram experience more than if Instagram had already implemented their planned changes.