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Enough With The Algorithms!

Earlier today, Instagram announced that they are latest social network looking to implement an algorithm that will change the order in which posts are displayed in the feed. Their announcement comes just weeks after Twitter was criticized by many of its users for the same thing, even though it turned out that Twitter’s implementation is an optional feature that can be disabled.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Instagram said that “people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds,” which is an incredibly large number, even though I’m not sure that it is entirely accurate. If you are anything like me, you probably spend time checking social media and interacting with posts daily, making it hard to miss too much of what’s happening in the feed.

While, in theory, the algorithm approach may be able to aide in helping users to see what they find important, it will also change the experience of using the social network, which up until now, displays posts in reverse chronological order as you scroll through them.

Changing the order of posts may not seem like a big deal, until you remember that Instagram is owned by Facebook, whose algorithm completely butchers the newsfeed experience in most cases, sometimes showing stories that are 3-4 days old that have been shown in the feed 10 times since then, instead of what’s happening now. With that, as well as the fact that the algorithm will likely mean that posts that Instagram doesn’t deem important will be pushed the bottom, or possibly not show up in the feed at all.

That dilemma brings the possibility that Instagram will force users, and businesses especially, to pay so that their posts will show up in the feeds of their followers, which has largely because one of the most annoying parts of how Facebook and their algorithms work right now.

Another big problem could be how Instagram decides how likely it is that you’ll be interested in seeing a post. I generally like most of what shows up in my feed, so if the new system is based on what a user likes, I’ve probably already broken their algorithm. Even if the algorithm isn’t connected to likes, it may be slightly creepy to see what it chooses to show, since based on their blog post, it looks like their goal is to show posts from your favorite people and best friends first.

Either way, it looks like Instagram has their heart set on changing up the feed, but promises that they will be listening to feedback along the way. Maybe, if they actually listen to users, they will allow the new algorithm to be an optional setting, similar to Twitter’s newest implementation that shows you the most important tweets that you’ve missed while you were away. If not, it may be time to pack up and leave Instagram for another social network that listens to feedback from their user base.

How do you feel about algorithms on social media? Do you think they could be helpful, or are they more problematic than anything else? Let us know!

SOURCE: Instagram Blog

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