By now, I’m sure we’ve all noticed something different about our Instagram feeds. They are no longer in chronological order according to when pictures were posted, but are organized based off of algorithms instead. Initially, this announcement in March 2018 from Instagram came as a surprise. It’s safe to say that the timing of your post isn’t the most important variable anymore. Now, algorithm-based feeds can be influenced by a bunch of different factors, like how long people spend viewing your posts or the genre/type of content people often engage with. As a result of this switch, Instagram users are not as happy as the platform anticipated them to be. Instagram has tried to justify the switch by encouraging users that it will allow them to see the content they’re most interested in, but users just feel that this switch was mainly a business proposition that will allow business profiles to boost their accounts or run ad campaigns.
Something that is interesting to point out is that Facebook owns Instagram, and we are all aware of how Facebook uses algorithms. It was only a matter of time before Instagram made the switch, too. We also know that these algorithms are man-made even though a computer allows them to function. All these changes on Instagram were implemented purposefully, because Instagram makers thought it would be a good direction to go in.
According to Langdon Winner, technologies are forms of life, and life is unimaginable without a phone, computer, etc. Our world would be very different without them. Even though many people are not fond of the new algorithm, people will still use Instagram, they will just complain while doing so. “Those who have not recognized the ways in which technologies are shaped by social and economic forces have not gotten very far,” (21), and those who have not come to terms that algorithms are now everywhere will begin to struggle. They are now becoming a way of life, whether we like it or not. Algorithms are the newest trend and many websites are using them.
In my VoiceThread, you will see various example posts of algorithms at work. The audio in the VoiceThread will describe each post, as well as go through 5 hacks that will help you beat the Instagram algorithm. Overall, the presence of algorithms is growing rapidly as they are being used on many different platforms. Even though users are unhappy, their creators believe that switching to algorithms is a switch in the right direction. Before we know it, everything could start to revolve around algorithms.
“5 Hacks to Beat the Instagram Algorithm – Digital Branding Institute.” Digital Branding Institute. June 18, 2017. Accessed May 09, 2018. https://digitalbrandinginstitute.com/5-hacks-to-beat-the-instagram-algorithm/.
Carah, Nicholas, and Daniel Angus. “Algorithmic Brand Culture: Participatory Labour, Machine Learning and Branding on Social Media.” http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0163443718754648.
“Everything You Need to Know About the New Instagram Algorithm.” Later Blog. March 26, 2018. Accessed May 09, 2018. https://later.com/blog/new-instagram-algorithm/.
Winner, Langdon. “The Whale and the Reactor.” Action Record – The Whale and the Reactor : A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology. Accessed May 09, 2018. https://muhlenberg.on.worldcat.org/oclc/650531679.