Instagram's Half Measures

Close, but no cigar 🚬
Close, but no cigar 🚬

In a press release today, Instagram announced a few changes to their timeline experience:

We’ve heard it can feel unexpected when your feed refreshes and automatically bumps you to the top. So today we’re testing a “New Posts” button that lets you choose when you want to refresh, rather than it happening automatically.

So, no more returning to the app after an absence only to have it jump up to the “top”[1] of the timeline.

Based on your feedback, we’re also making changes to ensure that newer posts are more likely to appear first in feed. With these changes, your feed will feel more fresh, and you won’t miss the moments you care about.

The non-chronological timeline will feel even more non-chronological, apparently.

One step forward, two steps back 😒

So if your best friend shares a selfie from her vacation in Australia, it will be waiting for you when you wake up.

That last bit is like when you ask Siri something, but she fails miserably because Apple sucks at cloud services, and instead of providing you real answers, Siri instead makes a sarcastic comment that makes you go full 🤬

I am happy about that first change. Oftentimes, in the past, I’ll be reading the comments of a post, and I’ll have to leave the app to do something else. When I return to the app later, I’ve been transported to the top of the timeline, and I’m left disappointed because I can’t remember where I was previously.

Ultimately, my desires for Instagram are the same as any other sane and rational person: I want Instagram to ditch Facebook-imbued algorithms and return to the chronological timeline. Oh, and please remove the stupid ads for watches I admire but am not yet financially prepared to pay for and won’t be for a decade.

I would even pay for that privilege!

I’ve unofficially polled a lot of my friends and family, and sadly, none of them would be willing to pay a monthly `service charge` to get rid of ads and/or go back to a chronological timeline. I can’t personally understand that thinking, but I guess it is not that surprising. For them, the current annoying Facebook-ized model of Instagram is fine.

Still, I can’t help but feeling like I’m not alone. There just has to be other human beings on the planet who would give up ~$5/month to have a normal-person Instagram experience.

But let us not give up! I have no doubt Instagram made this change because enough people whined and complained about it long enough. Maybe we can keep whining long enough and loud enough to inspire Instagram to completely return the timeline to the days of old.

Here’s hoping.

  1. Thanks to the non-chronological timeline, there is no real “top” anymore, since nothing is in chronological order, because Facebook is the root of all evil, and because the world isn’t fair.