Both Twitter and Instagram are changing the way their news feeds operate.
Chronology no more
After a quick break from Twitter (which for me is about 24 hours), I recently noticed some abnormal chronological gaps between posts. I follow some chatty accounts, and after seeing a one hour gap in my timeline, I knew something was up. With just one swipe of the finger, I had scrolled back six hours in time.
Taking a page from Facebook’s playbook, where it has been noted that more than 100,000 individual factors influence what shows up in your feed, Twitter is now selecting the most popular posts for you. This takes away from a major strength the platform has – its immediacy. Thankfully for regular users, this feature can easily be turned off in a quick-three step process.
Better for brands
Now, personal tastes aside, if you’re a brand, you may be better off. The average life of a link shared on Twitter clocked in at just over 2.5 hours, back when we were in our naïve, post-algorithm days. As a brand, with a strong message, that latest member outreach post should now have more legs.
Instagram is following suit.
With rumours of a change swirling these last few days, many power users have been taking a pre-emptive strike, asking their followers to “turn on notifications” so that their posts aren’t lost in Instagram’s soon-to-come algorithm addition, as this platform also plans to do away with chronological timelines. However, there’s been a backlash among its user base, and Instagram responded with this Tweet on Monday:
If you’re following 30 Instagram accounts and don’t want to miss a beat, the “turn on notifications” step would result in a push notification alerting your mobile every time one of these said accounts posts a photo – a disruptive process to say the least. Though we all knew Instagram was going to get far more complicated following Facebook purchasing the company four years ago, it will be interesting to see how the company responds in the coming months.
As one of music’s most celebrated lyricists once wrote:
“As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
-Bob Dylan, The times they are a-changin