Social Medi…EURGHH!

Last weekend I had a weekend away from social media. Last weekend I wasn’t peering through a lens or scrolling through my phone, instead, I was swinging off a drop saw and a nail gun.

Anyway, come Monday evening, when the tools were packed away, I sat down with a well-earned beer to check in on what I’d missed on Instagram. Or should I say, what Instagram decided I’d missed?

I just want to be alone
Yeah, I don’t want a social life
Disconnect my telephone
Yeah, I don’t want a social life
Teenage Bottlerocket – Social Life

Opening up IG, the first post in my feed was from 4 hours ago. I thought to myself, “Wow! It’s been quiet on Instagram while I’ve been away?” only to see the previous post was 2 hours. So, I “need” to see a photo from 4 hours ago before I see one from 2 hours ago do I? But I’ve been away all weekend. Just catch me up on what I’ve missed. When I missed it. Not what you think I might’ve missed!

Seeing folks’ photos featured on toy and LEGO photography groups, after I’d seen their origin post. Or was it before? I’m confused.

Yet, when I clicked through to users’ profile pages, to see if I’d missed something that IG thought I didn’t need to see, there were all their posts, in the order they’d posted them? So why Instagram, do you display individual’s profiles in chronological order, yet my feed is all over the shop?


There’s a real cool club on the other side of town
Where the real cool kids go to sit around
And talk bad about the other kids
Yeah it’s a real cool club, and you’re not part of it
Screeching Weasel – Cool Kids

What’s next IG? I know you suggest photos and feeds to me, which is great; I’ve actually discovered some amazing LEGO photographers through your suggestions that I now follow. But why stop at suggesting? You seem to think you know what order I need to see photos in, what about choosing the photos I see all together? Or whom I follow?

I’ve never really bought into the whole algorithm debate up until now. But spending some time away from Instagram has just reinforced in me what I’ve heard so many others complain about.

Three days away, and I don’t think I’m any wiser to what happened in those three days.

Although Instagram thinks I am?


  1. Keith_lowry

    It’d be lovely if IG gave us a choice of a chronological feed via an option. Surprised they haven’t yet, seeing as they’re owned by Facebook and that has the option.

  2. Me2

    Brett, I feel you.

    On the other hand smart selections or curation will be the future of social feeds if they want to stay relevant. The AI that is curating your feed is tapping not only in what you liked the most, but the bigger data lake of IG (and FB) to give you the most relevant posts first, depending on your time you have.

    I know that most of us feel we should not be curated, but think of it from a different angle. You just enjoyed three days away and on your return, your personal curator presents you with a selection of what you should really see, including a gem that was posted 2 days and half ago. The more you scroll down, the more you get into the normal regular timeline feed, but your personal curator took care of what really mattered first.

    I really believe AI as a personal curator is here to stay and will add value. Offcourse, a little switch to go “classic” would be nice for us who want the good old linear timelines …


    • Oh, I’m all for “targeted marketing”, I think it’s not only clever, but it filters out irrelevant content. But I’d like to choose how I’m targeted. Enforcing their feed onto me feels a little too “big brother” especially without the option to opt out. I get confused as to what day of the week it is most of the time. Heck, last year I thought I was turning a year older because for about 3 months I thought it was 2016 when it was only 2015?! Jumbling up the order of my feed doesn’t help this! 😮

  3. Excellent post! Although, I still do not know how that algorithm works, they don’t run it over here – yet. But I dread the day they do.

    The very idea of someone, or something, deciding what I like on my behalf is an abomination. I follow the people who I want to follow, what is wrong with that? I welcome the suggestions, it works well, but this, this is just wrong.

    An algorithm that highlights “the best content” is actually playing down the unexpected and interesting material; the new styles and looks that are bubbling under here and there with just mere hundreds of likes, or less even, don’t necessarily pop up on your feed because you haven’t interacted with those accounts earlier. How can an algorithm feed you an image that even you don’t know if it’s the best thing you never saw?

    Inspiration from the raw and untested, unexpected connections with the seemingly unconnected content will be buried under the popular posts the algorithm already knows you’ll like, you’ll be lulled into a haven of comfort where everything is safe and familiar.

    A curated feed can look great, sure, but you can only eat that much mac and cheese. You know?

    There is another thing that bothers me with this: how on earth does Instagram know what kind of typography I like if I haven’t liked any? See, because of my background as an illustrator and graphic designer I follow some interesting typography themed feeds mixed in my Lego and Star Wars dominated selection of contacts. How does Instagram know I want to be surprised from time to time with this stuff even if I don’t interact with that parallel world as ”Avanaut”? Will it throw random posts from these dormant connections to my ”best content” selection? What if I don’t want to see them random, what if I want to see all of them? I have already curated my feed myself!

    I do not want to go through my contacts’ posts manually one by one to be sure I haven’t missed anything, that’s ridiculous!

    Am I just being negative here? Well, maybe I should experience the thing myself before judging. But based on how much I dislike Facebook now with similar algorithm, I reckon I have a fair reason to expect all things annoying from this as well.


    Dear Mr/Mrs Instagram, if you are reading this, please include an opt out when you force this horror on us!

    • I couldn’t agree more. Just because I haven’t interacted with someone for a while, it doesn’t mean their latest post should be bumped down my feed, being deemed “less relevant” or “less important” to me. When advertising was introduced, we were given the option to opt out, stating it wasn’t relevant. Maybe we could be given the option to request “promoted” images be placed back into chronological order? Or the option to view our entire feed in chronological order?
      Oh, and good job on editing out the cuss words too mate! 😉

  4. Krash Override

    Oh the dreaded algorithm how I hate it. I was just talking to Shelly about this today….it has destroyed my visibility on Instagram. I feel they do nothing but promote a stale user experience.

    • It’d be interesting to see some data on “interaction rates” since the algorithm was implemented. As I said in other comments, I’m not adverse to change, but, I’d like to the option to opt out if that change doesn’t work for me.

      • The data on interaction rate since the algorithm would be intriguing. Most likely gloomy, but fascinating. And yes, if likely partnerships’ feeds are also being jumbled, potential connections are bound to be missed or overlooked. Or in the case of the algorithm, underlooked?!

  5. It and Facebook’s algorithm, likely managed by the same team, are the worst! At least Facebook still has a ‘Most recent” though they seem to be trying to make it harder and harder to find until you forget it’s there.

    We already have the ability to curate our own feeds, it’s called the follow button! But yes, at least give us the ability to look chronologically too.

    I sometimes find that I have to go through my own following list to find folks to jump into their feeds to see what they have posted, and doing so, and liking a bunch of photos still doesn’t get them to come up in my regular feed. :-/

    Unlike Me2, I’m hoping this isn’t the way forward, I’m worried that it’s a continued social experiment, more so on Facebook than IG, that sees them controlling us a little bit. It’s not a conspiracy theory type thing, they’ve been caught out before when their research department was only showing sad things to see how it affects the individual’s posting and they found they COULD influence the viewer in such a way. That’s a bit scary.

    • Ah, yes, the “follow” button? That’s how I want my feed curated! Please show me posts from the folks I follow, when they post.
      Maybe at the gallery, I should have lined up all the attendees and chatted to them based on the last time we’d interacted? Or got someone else to decide how relevant that interaction was? Spotify suggests music to me, “Discover Weekly” based on what I’ve listened to the previous week; which is great, but it doesn’t then force me to listen to an album’s songs in the order it thinks I should?

  6. Interesting read indeed. Of course I´ve experienced some of this, too, but…
    As I still own an old mobile that runs on a slowly dying OS (yes, a Nokia WindowsPhone) I´m still using a third party app called 6Tag. Instagram had been very not-caring to this platform so 6Tag was a clever and well made equivalent to still see and do everything on IG. These algorythms just as ads seem to appear less there than on my even older iPhone I´m still using from time to time.
    Showing the people that they´re not actually in charge of what they´re shown isn´t a very smart way of introducing new technologies. Let´s see where all of this takes us to…

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