Since we are saying goodbye to 2021, companies and brands are making changes to start the new year off right. Early next year, Instagram is planning to add the option for a chronological feed, one of the most requested features. Platform chief Adam Mosseri stated on twitter that Instagram wants “people to have meaningful control over their experience, we’ve been experimenting with Favorites, a way for you to decide whose posts you want to see higher up, and we’re working on another option to see posts from people you follow in chronological order.”
The current Instagram algorithm is a combination of the user’s activity so based on the accounts you interact with the most as well as posts you are interested in the most on the “explore” page. As a result, users tend to have to post more often in order to get noticed and interact with other users and their followers. This update is important because users will be able to return to seeing what their followers have posted, when they posted it as well as customize their feed to make using the app more enjoyable for each user. If you are a business owner or influencer, this means that you may no longer have to rigorously compete with the algorithm to get your posts noticed by followers and this may even improve analytic insights for your brand. However, like most of Instagram’s updates there are drawbacks. For now, this feature cannot be set as a default so users will have to customize it again every time they reopen the app. According to Andrew Hutchinson who is a content and social media manager at Social Media Today, “it seems unlikely that Instagram will bring back a way for you to set a reverse chronological feed display as your default, meaning it’s not really taking things back to the way that they once were” (Hutchinson).
Like every app, Instagram has been implementing features to help improve the user experience over the years like giving users the option to hide the amount of likes a post gets and now feed customization but these changes are usually as a result of complaints of toxicity and negative impact on users. For instance, Instagram is primarily dominated by younger people and the Wall Street Journal has reported that Instagram makes body image issues worse for 1 in 3 girls. Also, a lot of these new features are inspired from competitor apps like Snapchat and Tiktok which can be seen by the “stories” and “reels” elements on Instagram.
In summary, social media adapts to user preferences that have been created by norms set by social media standards in the first place so it is a very constant and vicious cycle. Social media will definitely be playing a big role for businesses and individuals in 2022 but we will have to wait and see if this role will be negative or positive.
Bursztynsky, Jessica, and Lauren Feiner. “Facebook Documents Show How Toxic Instagram Is for Teens, Wall Street Journal Reports.” CNBC, CNBC, 15 Sept. 2021, www.cnbc.com/2021/09/14/facebook-documents-show-how-toxic-instagram-is-for-teens-wsj.html.
Hutchinson, Andrew. “Instagram’s Coming Chronological Feed May Not Work How You Expect.” Social Media Today, 8 Dec. 2021, https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/instagrams-coming-chronological-feed-may-not-work-how-you-expect/611225/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Issue%3A+2021-12-09+Social+Media+Today+Newsletter+%5Bissue%3A38513%5D&utm_term=Social+Media+Today.