Instagram to stop showing chronological feeds

Instagram claims that an average user misses 70% of what’s on their feed, with photographs that have amassed loads of likes and comments being lost as a result of that cruel dictator: time. Well, not any more, Instagram has announced. No more will users of its app be subject to the whims of chronological temporality.

Instagram will start to show photos “based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post”. The company says it will begin testing to find the best way to optimise what’s shown and that, at least to start with, “all the posts will still be there, just in a different order”.

The changes mean that if someone you usually interact with on the app posts something during the night but you don’t check your phone until the morning, it will be there waiting for you at the top of your feed. This is similar to the method used by Facebook and, more recently, Twitter.

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For the user, it should in theory surface the images you’re most likely to want to see. You can follow more people without their posts drowning out those from your close friends, and you won’t have to check your phone every 5 minutes on the off-chance you missed a picture from that person you fancy.

Instagram will want algorithmically sorted feeds to drive up user engagement, with users less likely to go back to the real world after seeing an offensively boring photo. On the downside, this all brings an element of SEO to social media. Users will have to worry about whether the images they post appeal to Instagram’s algorithms, lest they sink without trace.

What do you think? Is the switch a good idea or would you prefer it if Instagram stuck with time-ordered posts?

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