It has long been the case with Facebook. It recently became the case with Twitter. Now Instagram seems set to jump on the bandwagon and re-order its timelines based on what it decides is the priority for you to view.
Timelines are something we are used to. A comfortingly simple list of posts, images and features ordered into chronological order, that has long been the staple of the social media sites. Recently, however, the big companies which own these sites are preferring to use algorithms to guess at the things we want to see, and put them at the top of our feeds.
In the case of Instagram, it means that a picture posted several hours ago could now, based on popularity, the relationship between your and the poster’s accounts, and any other number of factors the computational mind uses to decide the order, be seen at the top of your feed for hours after posting.
Twitter made a similar move not too long ago, and there was a wide-reaching response of indignation tempered with an underlying fear of change.
Twitter do have an option to remove this feature, however, so those who are big fans of chronological posting can go back to their old ways.
Instagram will hopefully allow this option. Otherwise it runs the risk of causing people to miss the posts they would like to see in favour of those that belong to accounts with, for example, more followers.
“To improve the experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most,” Instagram said, as “people miss on average 70 per cent of their feeds. As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share.”
Whether this change is necessary or not, judging by past experiences of changes like this, it will go ahead. There will, of course, be outcry against it, but if Instagram have sense, they will allow an option to opt-out and retain the old-school, chronological news feed for those who want it.