Thoughts on Instagram’s 2016 Updates

instagram updates thoughts

Instagram, Instagram, Instagram – why must you become problematic when you’re one of my favourite social platforms? If you’re an avid Instagram user like myself, you will have noticed that everyone’s favourite photo-sharing app has undergone a range of updates in the recent months with not all of them to everyone’s tastes well, not to mine anyway.

The platform was subjected to many a meme when they changed their logo back in May time from a retro-looking camera (at least I think that’s what it was meant to be?) to a minimalistic rainbow camera. The revamp of the logo I could get on board with, it made the platform feel more fresh and modern along with a bunch of new filters to play around with and a sharper home screen.

The next noticeable change Instagram decided to implement this year was algorithms. I already have mixed feelings towards algorithms in general; I think Facebook does it really well, Twitter is still a bit hit and miss with it and I haven’t been sold on the idea for Instagram as of yet. In case you’re not familiar with what algorithms on social media are they are essentially patterns the platform picks up based on user activity and interactions to push what content they think you will most want to see to the top of your feed.

This began being slowly rolled out around March (remember when everyone posted those arrow pictures telling people to turn on their notifications) and my thoughts are similar to Grace Moon’s LinkedIn article about it. I can’t fully explain why exactly, but there’s just something about my Instagram timeline not being in time order that really irks me – perhaps it’s because I only really follow people I actually know and a handful of brands that I don’t think my timeline is busy enough to be juggled up and down in a random order?

Drawing influence from Snapchat, Instagram Stories all of a sudden appeared at the top of the newsfeed with the majority of first posts telling people to follow them on Snapchat, how’s that for irony? operating in a similar fashion to Snapchat stories except no dog filters/facial recognition features (so far). The reason why I’m not so keen on this particular update is that Snapchat did it first and it does it better – stories and short snaps are what Snapchat is all about and whilst it’s another way for Instagram users to share and connect with their followers it feels a lot more open (despite being temporary) whereas Snapchat feels a lot more private.

With roughly 500 million monthly active users on Instagram (minus one Justin Bieber currently) it would be silly of the platform not to adapt and grow as its user base does, bringing out these new features is a way to mix up the app a little bit as well as keep people interested and excited in what changes will come out next.

Parting thoughts: Whilst I’m not the biggest fan of these recent Instagram updates (TBF, I was a bit of a hater when Twitter Moments first came out and now I quite like them so maybe I’ll end up liking the new updates soon too?), there probably are users who do enjoy the new features and it’ll be interesting to see what new updates Instagram bring out in the future.

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