WTF – Is Instagram Changing? Here’s Why It’s Actually Not A Big Deal

If you’ve glanced at your Instagram feed for even a minute today, you probably noticed a barrage of similar looking posts all saying something along the lines of “Turn On Notifications” with an arrow pointing to the three little dots on the upper righthand corner. If you don’t spend 99 percent of your time reading about what is happening on social media like it’s your job (in my defense, it is actually my job), you probably wondered WTF was going on. Maybe you read a bunch of passionate captions about how hard bloggers work for Instagram attention and how much they want you to view their photos still, and thought to yourself, “What exactly is Instagram changing?”

It’s confusing! Here’s a quick breakdown: last week, news broke that Instagram was going to be changing their algorithm. In this case, it means that Instagram wants to change the way we look at our feeds. Instead of seeing posts from every single person you follow in chronological order, Instagram would be gathering information based on your likes and activity to show you the photos they think you most want to see. It would basically be exactly like your Facebook Newsfeed, which does the same thing: it only shows you the posts it thinks you want to see (this is why you miss out on so many things if you don’t look for them!).

Word spread yesterday that Instagram would be rolling out their new algorithm changes tomorrow, Tuesday, March 29 – and that’s why everyone was posting photos encouraging followers to get notifications if they post. You can activate notifications for any person you follow, and you’ll then get a little alert every time they post a photo. In the event of an algorithm change, this would allow you to continue seeing what you want to see – it reminds you to look at the photos, because if they didn’t show up in your feed, you would have to remember to manually search for that user’s profile.

But honestly, it seemed like a lot of people were confused about what was actually happening, and they were making it seem like you would only see things if you turn on notifications. And let’s be real – that does not sound fun! I love looking at my favorite bloggers’ pages, but some of them post four to five times a day. I don’t need that many notifications! While many bloggers quickly jumped on the “turn me on!” train, others went a different route, saying that none of us need more notifications in our lives, and that they hope we’ll like their stuff regardless:

Like any other major social media change, a lot of people are pissed off about this new algorithm. I was annoyed at first too. I love looking at posts chronologically, and I also like to use Instagram to *build my brand* which is that of a beauty product hoarder slash bored Long Islander. I was worried that the new algorithm would change the interaction on my page. And maybe it will, but honestly, the more I look into this, the better it seems. There might not be any reason to curse out Instagram just yet, guys – in fact, you might want to support these changes. Here are five reasons we all need to chill:

1. It’s not happening… yet. I’m not sure where the rumor started that Instagram would roll out these new changes tomorrow, but it’s (allegedly) not true. According to The Fader, a spokesperson for Instagram said it’s not happening yet. They said, “This is not being implemented tomorrow – we still have weeks, or even months, of testing to go. Currently the test groups are very small. When we roll it out broadly, we will definitely let the community know.” The Fader has reached out to others at Instagram to verify, but so far, this seems to be legit?

2. Your feed isn’t going to be full of random posts you don’t want to see. The new algorithm isn’t going to start showing you random photos from accounts you don’t care about (and, um, if you don’t care about them, why are you following them?). It’s going to be curated especially for you, based on your engagement on Instagram, how you interact with other users, and also the timeliness of the post. It’s going to try to show you the things you most likely really want to see based on what you’ve liked before – so, if anything, it will serve up the things you’re most interested in rather than the things you don’t really care about. That’s a good thing!

3. Posts shouldn’t just disappear. According to the little blurb Instagram posted about these changes, the new algorithm isn’t going to just make certain posts disappear. The posts it thinks you’re not into will be lower in your feed – which means that if you just keep scrolling, you’ll eventually see these things.

instagram gif

4. You can still actively search! Just because a photo doesn’t show up on your feed doesn’t mean you can’t see it! If you really love a certain profile, you can still search for it and scroll through their photos. Nothing is disappearing, On top of that, you can turn on notifications if you want so that you find out right away when your favorite user posts.

5. This might actually help you. Instead of having to scroll through a bunch of random photos before you get to the photo you really want to see, like bae’s new selfie or Kylie Jenner’s latest lip shot, you’ll see what you like the most right away. That’s actually really great.

Here’s what you can do to make sure your posts continue to show up in the feeds of others: post good content that makes people engage by commenting or liking. And if you don’t want to put in the work to do that, then I’m assuming you already don’t care about how many likes you get on a picture, and in that case, you probably don’t care about the new algorithm. As long as you post things people enjoy seeing, the people who enjoy seeing them will continue to see them.

And here’s what you can do to ensure you’ll see what you want to see in your feed: While there’s nothing you can do to completely control your feed (at the moment, we don’t know what Instagram will come up with after their test runs – remember, Facebook still offers the ‘Most Recent Updates’ option), there is stuff you can do to try to get your favorites to show up. Like and comment on their photos. That’s literally it.

In conclusion, don’t freak out. Instagram will be fine and we’ll all be okay. Now, let’s collectively stop posting those notification messages, okay? I can’t see one more or I might scream.

How do you feel about Instagram’s new policy? Do you think it’s a good idea? Let us know in the comments.

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.

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