A while ago there were rumblings of Instagram changing their reversed chronological order system for an algorithm that would decide which photos you should see first, based on your online behaviour. Which not only sounds creepy, but also, like, fuck off. I follow the people I follow for a reason, and don’t want to see some of them obliterated from my timeline because they maybe post less frequently than others (hence, fewer “likes”) or end up seeing ones I’m only slightly interested in because they are Hugely Popular. Twitter also threatened something recently and – at least for now – has made it possible to opt-out and stay with a chronological feed.
Then an unfounded rumour about the algorithm apocalypse happening this week went viral, leading to countless Instagram posts like the one above, pleading with followers to enable notifications so they would still be able to see… THEIR posts. Like, what? My main concern about this change was that I wouldn’t be able to see everyone I enjoy following. But the idea of enabling notifications for the 500+ people I follow is a ridiculous notion, not only because doing this would be very time consuming, but seriously, I do not want to get notified every time a photo pops up on my Instagram feed. Part of the pleasure of Instagram for me is lazily scrolling through the various pics and stories, from various time zones, when I feel like it. I know I don’t end up seeing all of them. Though, for example, if I know someone is on holiday somewhere I’m interested, I will click on their profile page to see all their recent pics (instead of waiting for them to appear on my feed). And frankly, some people do interest me more than others, but I want to be able to decide who those people are, not some algorithm that – let’s face it – doesn’t REALLY know me.
Anyhow, it was interesting to see how many people were so concerned about their own photos being seen that they posted versions of the above “look at meeeee!” notice. Surely they should know people like me would be looking them up anyhow, if truly interested.