Instagram Users Have Zero Chill With Update

Turn On Instagram Notifications Post Fad

Monday, March 28th, 2016 should be marked in the annals of Instagram history as the day users lost their cool. On a platform that runs on cool…it’s an issue. Instagramers generally have a lower tolerance for boring content than users of other platforms. If you spend any amount of time on Facebook every day and comb through long-winded political soap box grandstanding from your uncles or suffer through Twitter’s endless droll of inspirational quotes and bot generated clickbait…you have more patience than the average Instagram fan. It’s suppose to be a refuge from the uninspiring and a place where aesthetic matters above all else. That’s all true except for when fear and knee-jerk reactions hurt a person’s credibility.

To be cool, you have to keep your cool.

My gut reaction to any social media content fad is that if everyone starts doing something, you better have a unique take on it or you are just part of the noise. So when everyone reacted to the impending change to Instagram’s feed being algorithm driven versus chronology, I took pause before jumping on the bandwagon. If you don’t know what happened, here’s a summery. Me feed became inundated with people asking their followers to turn on their post notifications so they wouldn’t be lost in the mix of content. Since I had seen this behavior before on Facebook three years ago and found this request to be pointless, I continued to watch how people reacted.

When everyone pointed up, I pointed down.

Even savvy social media users were all pointing up with their graphics about turning on notifications (I’m also not a big fan of graphics on Instagram) or pointed with their hands to tell people that they feared no one would see their posts anymore. My intuition just screamed “uncool!” each time I saw and I shook my head at reactions versus strategy playing out live. It took me a few hours to distill my thoughts on their behavior to one line: “Don’t point up, point down”. Since the new Instagram algorithm is based on showing users content from accounts they interact with the most, it’s only going to affect people who are poor at influence and aren’t being social enough. The only longterm strategy to take is to double down on making your content more interesting and asking more questions. Drive people to go below your posts and like and comment on them. Pointing up, to me, was like declaring you don’t believe in the value of your content and you need to trick or guilt people into seeing it. I like the Darwinian market driven algorithms that order content. This change will absolutely negatively affect non-natives, those without strategy, and the un-cool. Those in the know, however are going to see a big boost. I’m not at all worried…are you?

Examples of pointing up found in my feed:

(These are smart people I like so…no judgement on them personally or as professionals…in fact, for many, I chickened out and cropped their names out.)

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The best example of someone who jumped on this smartly and impacted their brand:


The funniest responses:

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No matter how you asked people to turn on their notifications, I just read it as people either not thinking about what the algorithm really means or people just being transparent that they are boring.

This next Instagram post sums it up for me:

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You’re right. From now on only the best posts will be on top. I’ve got nothing to fear…do you? (hire me)