Instagram Update – Panic and Post Notifications

The Instagram world is in upheaval. But wait before you turn on those post notifications.

There has been a lot of talk, a lot of panic, and now a lot of back-peddling, all over some changes Instagram announced it was going to make. I had written a post about the alarm that has swept through the Instagram community, but then came reassurance that it wouldn’t all happen immediately. I also noticed a few others were coming to the same conclusions, so I decided to wait and rethink a little.

Know Your Facts

If you’re not addicted to Instagram like me, I’ll fill you in. On March 15th, Instagram announced that it would be making a change to the timeline. Instead of showing posts chronologically, they will be ordered using an algorithm showing you the posts that are most important to you first. Note: important, not popular.

Change is very rarely welcomed. It’s well known that the many changes Facebook has made to it’s site over the years has mostly been met with anger, and petitions to change it back. When Facebook bought Instagram back in 2012, it put a lot of people nervous, so I guess we knew something like this would happen eventually.

When this timeline change was announced, it’s fair to say it annoyed rather a lot of people. I follow a lot of small businesses, and Instagram is a key way for them to interact with their followers. It’s a great platform for relatively unknown people to show their work and get feedback, gain followers and create a sense of community. Since this announcement, they’re worried. I’m worried! The instant reaction is to think that small accounts will find it hard to reach people. But it’s already hard to reach people, you’ve just got to work at it. You’ll still need to post great content and engage with your followers, that’s not going to change.

Do I Need Post Notifications?

It is a worry, but come on guys, I think we all need to take a step back and relax a little. I don’t know who first thought of turning on post notifications, but it coursed through Instagram like wildfire. Scrolling through my feed I saw so many posts encouraging people to turn on notifications for that account. People were scared, but their worry was feeding off everyone else and growing. I even saw a tip to turn off updates for the app so the timeline wouldn’t change.

I follow a lot of people. 733 at the current count. Could you imagine how annoying it would be if I put post notifications on for even just the handful of people I really want to keep up with? It would be just as easy to simply look up those accounts myself, and in doing that they would probably appear in my feed anyway, as they were important enough to search for. Take a second to think about it. Do you want your phone buzzing every time someone posts a photo? It would likely be annoying, but also distracting. I try to limit my Instagram/Twitter usage to particular times in the day, so I can focus on it for that period and not get distracted when I’m working on other things. If your phone kept going off your attention would be divided.

It’s Not the End of the World

There was no way Instagram would always stay the same. There are always updates, and we may not always like them, but there’s usually not a lot we can do about it. They might make changes based on suggestions by users, especially if there’s a large group with a similar feeling, but it’s hard to say. Since I haven’t actually heard of anyone who agrees with this particular update, I would be curious to see what Instagram does about it. Remember though, it’s not the end of the world. Instagram isn’t disappearing. You’ll still see photos of coffee and avocado on toast.

So don’t put post notifications on. I don’t want to be clogging up your time. What I do want is to get the most out of Instagram, and keep the community alive. The only way to show that an account is important to you is to interact with it. So comment on each others posts, post great images and choose your hashtags well. Keep using it, because it won’t exist without you. The main thing we need to remember is that we really don’t know what the outcome of this will be yet. Hold your horses, it will take time to figure out how this affects us, and what changes, if any, we need to make.

On a happier note, did you see my free knitting pattern this weekend?