What You Need to Know About the New Twitter and Instagram Feeds
These two popular mobile apps have gone totally algorithmic. What does this mean for you?
Remember last year, when Facebook changed its algorithm to showcase the posts by your closest friends? A lot of Facebook users weren’t too happy about this change, because Facebook got to decide which posts were and weren’t relevant to them, while posts from the Pages they liked were prioritized as well. Many users preferred their newsfeeds in chronological order. If you were one of these people, then you’re probably not too happy about the latest changes to Instagram and Twitter either. Here’s what you need to know about the popular apps’ new algorithms:
This past February, Twitter went the Facebook route by announcing that its timeline would prioritize posts by users you interact with the most. Your timeline would, for the most part, still be reverse-chronological (where the newest posts are displayed at the top, and the posts get older as you scroll down), but when you log in, you’d see a “While You Were Away” section at the top that showed you the tweets Twitter’s new algorithm found most relevant.
Of course, many Twitter users weren’t happy. Some critics accused Twitter of trying to track users’ behavior and interests to make it easier for advertisers to promote their own tweets.
While the new timeline was optional at first, it became the default setting about a month later, prompting numerous articles about how to change your timeline back to its original format. For the Twitter Android app, users have to tap the menu icon in the top right corner, go to Timeline in Settings, and turn off ‘Show me the best Tweets first.’
Surprise, surprise! This past March, Instagram followed suit when it came to reorganizing users’ feeds, showing users the most “relevant” posts first instead of the app’s typical reverse-chronological feed. People seemed to react with slightly less hostility than they did when Twitter pulled this trick, but users still weren’t too pleased!
In addition to the new feed, Instagram added a feature that enables users to turn on notifications when their favorite accounts posted photos, which led many users to ask their followers to turn on a feature that would send alerts for their photos specifically. But don’t worry: while Instagram’s relevance-based feed is here to stay, you do not have to turn on notifications for individual users. After all, do you really want a buzz every time your Aunt Gladys posts a pic of her beloved poodle? Well, maybe, but probably not!
Do you like the new order of your Twitter and Instagram feeds? Not a fan? Let us know in the comments below!