Instagram is in her Flop Era and Here's Why
From using the in-built filters to the reign of King Kylie, Instagram has provided a constant source of entertainment for many of us growing up. Previously posting #OOTD's, we now post random zoomed in photographs of plants and rocks. Unfortunately, despite our best attempts at adapting to the new updates of the app, Instagram has been adamant in evolving into a killjoy.
First, the atrocious algorithm
The people want one thing and that's the return of a chronological feed order where posts appear from the most recent to the oldest. However, Instagram seems to hold firm to the belief that the more complicated, the better. It combines a variety of algorithms to create a "personalized experience" for each user. It ranks filtered posts with tagged locations and more likes first. Despite claiming that the algorithm also takes into consideration people you interact with often, ironically, users complain that they rarely see posts from accounts they care about due to inaccurate assumptions about their preferences. How then do we snoop around other people's business if they are absent from our feed? While we live in fear of missing out, creators on the other hand fear being missed out on. They lament about the decrease in their interactions and beg for followers to "click on the bell icon to be notified everytime they post", but today I will be focusing on us regular people instead.
Suggestion to stop suggesting
The "follow" button has lost its meaning ever since Instagram started spamming people's feeds with suggested posts from random public accounts that users do not follow. Like the algorithm, such suggestions are based on the content we usually like or accounts we interact with. Unfortunately, there are several problems with this algorithmic recommendation. First of all, there is a reason that these suggested accounts are not on our following list— we are simply not interested. Secondly, seeing faces we do not recognize and having to wonder who
they are takes away the satisfaction of endless scrolling through posts we are here for. Upon receiving many (deserved) complaints, Instagram has introduced a "Favourites" feature to only view posts from chosen people on the list. However, why put users through the trouble of having to tap two more times to switch to "Favourites" when you can just remove suggested posts altogether? The explore page already exists for the same purpose as anyway!
Reel more like Fake version of TikTok
You know it's a big deal when the KarJenners sign a "Make Instagram Instagram Again" campaign to express their unhappiness with the Reels update. Gone are the days where photos would fill the feed as Instagram introduces short video content called Reels, with the belief that videos are the new norm of content online rather than photographs. By promoting more video content, it expresses support for creators and creates an outlet for them to increase engagement through posting more Reels. Sadly, there have only been complaints of the feature being an imitation of TikTok, or that creator-audience engagement has dropped ever since the update.
Ads, ads, ads
The app has evidently become more profit-focused over the years with the addition of a shopping page and now, constant sponsored posts on the feed and advertisements on stories. These new additions help generate ad revenue through capturing user's attention and capitalising off of users’ search or viewed history. As much as I hate to admit, some ads are surprisingly and undeniably good that I find myself hoping to chance across them again after tapping away a little too fast. However, the app's shift of focus from having a platform aimed at building personal connections to one that features online commerce is truly disappointing and counterproductive. Needless to say, it is also problematic to make use of user's activity to sell them products through targeted advertising.
With that said, I hope this article was relatable for all the addicts who spend hours scrolling through social media and I was able to articulate your grievances with Instagram! With its now tarnished reputation that is built off of imitating stories from Snapchat and short videos from TikTok, the Instagram team should really prioritise pioneering innovative features. Shifting its focus back towards regular users like ourselves who seek enjoyment from the app rather than creators could be another way to help its case. Meanwhile, perhaps it would be time for us to go off the grid and enter the mysterious era where we learn that it is alright not to publicize every meal. or breakdown, we have had online!