Instagram Algorithm Angst



I don't know if you heard but Instagram is changing its algorithm. I'm not surprised, every one's at it. At this point I'm waiting for my mum to tell me she's diverting her attention to the children that interact with her the most and therefore going forward she'll be spending all her time with my brother, who calls her every day (I know right?!). 

In truth, I probably wouldn't have noticed any changes to Instagram; I didn't notice when Facebook changed until someone I had forgotten existed commented on my post and I thought, where have you been? Much as I love Instagram, I'm no Columbo when it comes to observational skills but I couldn't escape the fact because so many Instagrammers were pointing out the change and helpfully suggesting I turn on my notifications for them. This was helpful, I didn't even know Instagram had notifictions (seriously, observation skills - zilch). And now Now We Are 40, Content Mum and Channel Mum amongst others are blowing up my moby with notifications of pictorial joy.

What shocked me about the development wasn't the change a-coming but the extreme level of emotion that it seemed to generate, emotion specifically directed towards those that put up Instagram posts requesting that followers activate their notifications for them. Emotion that I can only really describe as wildly disproportionate vitriol. There was a lot of criticism of people flying about the interwebz, with many stating that they would unfollow anyone publicly making the request. It seemed peculiar to me that you would unfollow a person whom presumably you enjoyed previously because of one dud post, on a forum where I received a significant increase in followers after posting a picture of an empty plate. 

So I decided to give it some thought and if you found yourself feeling emotional about yet another 'notifications' notice, you may have been a victim of one of these Instagram angsts 

YOU'RE OVER INVESTED As much as I love Instagram for me it is the fast food of social media - scroll, scroll, like, scroll, scroll, like. It can be very low effort enjoyment and all quick fixes are susceptible to abuse. Are you turning to Instagram for support rather than friends and family? Are you scouring through thousands of photos of quinoa based salads, whilst eating only soggy cornflakes yourself? Perhaps it's time for an Instagram detox and that simple call for notifications has reminded you just how many people's lives you're following...

MARKETING HAS BECOME YOUR LIFE MISSION On the internet, any vaguely interesting titbit of information is like a yawn in a crowded room. You've copied, pasted and shared it before you've even noticed. In the end the message about Instagram changes was probably being shared by people that had no idea what an algorithm is, or a notification, or possibly Instagram. Within 24 hours it was too late to stand out by repeating the same message the only way to shine a light on your profile was to deride the cult of notification and establish yourself as someone with no desire for interest from the public whatsoever. 

YOU ARE ALL UP IN YOUR FEELINGS Do you find yourself crying over adverts featuring abandoned pets? Are you still feeling crushed by the defeat of your Year 5 egg and spoon race? Perhaps you just can't handle change - maybe, to you, Cif will always be Jif. If this is the case, continue to play out your emotions through social media - it may be safer that way. This is me. I often find myself loving the heck out of a feed and then one day I am confronted with a post that makes it clear that my new virtual BFF is in fact shilling wraps, the not so distant cousin of Bacofoil clingfilm, the stuff that helps you to sweat out your blubber overnight or whatever and instantly I unfollow them; not because I have anything against wraps or women building businesses but because I feel betrayed. All this time I thought you shared my love of latte art and you just wanted my money...

YOU'RE A HATING HATER THAT HATES That unfollow may seem like an extremely quick and barely perceptible process but it's actually a strong statement; a statement that says, how dare you believe yourself to be worthy of my attention? Or indeed more attention than I have already willingly allocated you. Sometimes I think that's about jealousy. I know, I know that word is bandied about so much online it has started to lose all meaning but isn't there maybe a little bit, just an amuse bouche size portion of you thinking, I wish I was confident enough to tell people to follow me. To let them know that I am worthy of their time and that maybe my presence in their life could bring them a teensy bit of happiness. I know I do. So for one post and one post only I'm going to pretend: 

You can find me on Instagram here and (if you like family stuff, quotations on being a kid and obviously lots and lots of coffee) I'm well worth a follow. Or not. Do whatever makes you happy. 

What do you think of Instagram going all maverick on us and those notification posts?


If you're not on Mission Acceptance sign up for a life affirming self acceptance challenge every week (removal of Instagram angst not guaranteed). 


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18 comments

  1. I really appreciate this post. I have stayed clear of the IG posts largely because I just cannot get all caught up in FB/IG doing what they want with their platform. It would be nice if it worked the way we wanted, but...oh well. I like the points you make about the source of the vitriol. Very observant and valid, I think. Thank you for sharing this! #BrilliantBlogPosts

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    1. Thank you, it seems strange that things change when users haven't asked for it but from what I understand it's to oush up ad revenue or something?

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  2. I was wondering what the Instagram outrage was! Will you be turning on many notifications? I don't know if I can be bothered, I go to my favourite accounts for a look every few days anyway!

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    1. I've turned on a handful, mainly people that I love but that don't post loads so I'm afraid might slip away.

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  3. Fab post. I can't decide whether to turn notifications on or not. Although I am thinking, like you say, I need to maybe detox my instagram so I am only seeing the people I want to see anyway! xx #Thelist

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    1. I'm always trying to do a full digital detox to no avail!

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  4. This subject seems to be getting everyone's goat today! I have to say I don't like the idea of Instagram aka Facebook picking and choosing what it thinks I ought to be seeing... #thelist

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    1. It is annoying, I mean if it aint broke!

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  5. Amen sister! I am an observer. I sit back and I evaluate my thoughts. Often the way you put things is just as I would have wanted to articulate it just like this - as I wasn't sure just how to put it. Instagram is one of my favourite social media channels but nothing is changing for me. My enjoyment comes from the people I follow. I love getting a picture peek into their world - including yours :) I hope that others also enjoy a peek into my world but that's not the be all and end all for me. I would far prefer blog subscribers because all of this is really just an extension of the bigger picture right? X

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    1. I love this comment almost as much as I love you and I love you A LOT. I do have to check in with myself sometimes regarding your last comment, it can be easy to get caught up in the game and lose sight of the end goal x

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  6. The change is happening for simple reasons. IG is a business. Businesses need to make money - but IG is a free service, so advertiser revenue is where it's at.

    I was (and still am) one of those who were annoyed by people asking others to turn on notifications simply because (a) the amount of hysterical panic it ignited among bloggers was utterly disproportionate to the likely impact of said changes and (b) no one seems to have thought through the implications of asking people to turn on notifications. Do I want to be bombarded with hundreds of new notifications every day? No.

    I like IG a lot but I don't need to be notified of every new post, just as I don't need to be notified of every new tweet.

    I'm also slightly amazed at the (sometimes faux) naivete of many users who seem to think that IG have no right to make changes to a service that generally works well already. Of course they do. It's their business (actually, Facebook's business) and, like any business, they have every right to try to make a profit. To think otherwise is, frankly, a little silly.

    Ultimately IG will go on (just as Facebook did when they messed around with News Feed). And so will we. If people object to it that much, they can always leave and use another platform (which, of course, they won't). In the meantime, I'll keep using it and enjoying it, with a timeline that works in a slightly different way to before (when it eventually rolls out).

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    1. I one million percent agree with you, it's free so essentially stop your noise. If there was a paid option without the change I'd love to see if people put their money where their mouth is :) With regards to the notifications announcements I think that some people make a significant amount of their income (and of course one man's significant is another mans paltry) either directly or indirectly through instagram and I saw the request to turn on notifications as a plea to their customers to stick with them.

      Yes, it got a bit panic at the disco. The message got distorted and people seemed to be suggesting that you would only see them in your feed if you had notifications on but I can't judge anyone for a boo boo like that because if I did less things in ignorance or haste I wouldn't have thirty eight pairs of unworn shoes under my bed. Luckily I often have people like you to pull my head out of my proverbial, with things like this fab overview https://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2016/03/28/instagrams-new-algorithm-what-is-it-and-what-should-i-do-about-it/

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  7. Oh this post did make me laugh! I feel the same about all the awards posts and the reaction to them. I'm not going for the awards but I really don't care if other people do, why are we all so bothered??x

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  8. To be honest, I would not have normally clicked to read this blog because of your title alone, However I am glad I did! I am not an Instagram person so I thought, “I will not be interested in this but I must fulfill my Linky requirements!” I was completely wrong! Even though I do not use Instagram, I do know the basics, so following along was not hard. I was noticing as I read, "this can pertain to any social media". Thanks for this post. I made me realize I need to be more open-minded when reading others posts!

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    1. I absolutely LOVE how committed you are to your Linky requirements, I cannot say I'd have been as gracious. You've given me food for thought about my titles because as you noted whilst this is about Instagram it's not entirely about Instagram x

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  9. I love this post. You're right. People are just too invested. We need a special poster 'Calm down dear, it's just social media'. haha

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  10. Hahah this is hilarious. I love how this is written, "wildly disproportionate vitriol" made me laugh. You're right, people need to back the eff off and just chill, people saying they're going to UNFOLLOW you if you put something up about notifications, I'm like 'Fine, unfollow me bi***, I'll unfollow you back.' ; ) Joking. It's like kids in the playground. I actually think we all need a little detox from social media sometimes, occasionally I find myself thinking in Tweets haha jokes! Anyway, I love your Instagram pics! Thanks for linking up with #StayClassy

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  11. #nailedit again! I never thought about Instagram being the fast food of social media, but you're right...I for sure just scroll uber quickly through it looking for a metaphoric Big Mac.

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