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Gram Out of Time - Instagram Ditch Chronological Feeds

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On some social media platforms it makes sense that you should see things in the order that they appear, but not all. Since the early days of Facebook and Twitter feeds, that's been the standard, and most newcomers have followed it simply in the name of comfortable familiarity.

Instagram has always been one of these, but it only really ever makes sense if you regard the platform as a form of photo-journal, and if that's the case, you're better off browsing user profiles than scrolling through the feed. It's kind of surprising it's taken them this long to deviate away from it, given how much their popularity has surged over the past few years, but no matter, it's happening now. What's more, they're taking a leaf out of Twitter's playbook - introducing an algorithm which will sort the posts by relevance.

Of course, it's easier to measure relevant interests with text posts than it is with photographs, as you can't necessarily scan the content of each image and figure out which categories it belongs in. A small pool of users will occupy the proving ground for this change as it's rolled out gradually over the next few months, and results will determine whether or not this feature is primed for a general release, or needs a bit more tinkering.

Instagram haven't made clear exactly how the algorithm works, but you have to imagine it'll be more based around user engagement than anything else, basing what you see on what you like and comment on most frequently, as well as which profiles you take the time to browse.

Facebook operates using a similar system, although it's still a bit rough around the edges, and often prone to showing you things that you're not actually all that bothered about. For example, an acquaintance of mine is currently travelling through South East Asia, a few months ago I spent 10 minutes looking through one of her photo albums, and since then her posts have always, always appeared at the top of my feed. Presumably the Instagram one will follow different parameters, but will likely have the same basic skeleton.

Still, the approach makes a lot of sense, and Instagram has always been cleaner and more focused than Facebook, so perhaps it won't be blighted by the same hangups.




Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


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Gram Out of Time - Instagram Ditch Chronological Feeds Reviewed by Callum Davies on Thursday, March 17, 2016 Rating: 5

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