When younger users started abandoning their Facebook profiles, they were on the hunt for a new social that continued to peak their interest and fit all of their aesthetically pleasing needs. This time period was considered the rise of Instagram. I, like many others, immediately became infatuated with Instagram, because it was a creative outlet made completely out of pictures. Before the introduction of VSCO and high quality phone cameras, Instagram was just a fun way to post a picture of your dog, but now it is taken way too seriously. Social media influencers have changed the way users interact on their socials. Instead of having a personal blog where one can simply express themselves, now everyone is obsessed with followers, likes, and the possibility of becoming “Insta Famous”.
Earlier this year, Instagram changed its algorithm so profiles with more engagement could be monetized. This change immediately represented how Instagram was not only a social media anymore, but also a business. The upsetting part about the new algorithm is that it only increases engagement for profiles that already have a decent following. Basically, if Jennifer from high school has 3,000 followers and you only have 500, her pictures will be at the top of your mutual followers feeds, so she will get more likes. With everyone’s obsession with likes, followers, and engagement, in general, this actually hurts smaller profiles a lot. The new algorithm heavily influences feed layout, and there have been complaints by users that they are tired of seeing the same five profiles on their feeds. It is more common to see a famous person’s profile than the friends that you actually care about, and this is all because those famous profiles are cashing-in on the engagement, and therefore; giving more money to Instagram. This change represented that Instagram was no longer a social media platform focused on its users and their experiences; it immediately signaled a shift to a business-focused model platform-wide
Social media is used daily and has become a passion for many people. Receiving likes on a post and gaining followers is a way to gain a form of validation without having to outright ask people. The new algorithm is not a big deal on the surface level of world issues, but it does feel like an attack on personal expression for the average user. With a current society that is so obsessed with the idea that validation only comes from a little bit of fame or clout, the fact that Instagram is literally hiding smaller profiles really sucks. Unless you actually go up to someone on the street and say “Follow my Instagram!” or become a famous Youtuber, your chances of gaining followers just on your feed is very low. Personally, I used to gain 10 followers per week and achieve at least 300 likes on every post, but now I’m lucky if I get a new follower every two weeks and 250 likes on a post. At first, this really bummed me out and then I realized this only reaffirms the issue that my self-confidence truly stemmed from my social media interactions, and that I was only feeding into what Instagram wants its users to think now. What used to be innocent fun on our socials, is now just a way for these big companies to monetize from us, and, to put it into simpler terms, that’s really messed up. Of course, these changes to Instagram coincided with Facebook’s purchase of the platform, but I’ll save writing about “Instagram from Facebook” for another article. And don’t even get me started on their latest idea (read: threat): To remove “liking” from Insta altogether.
Move on. Seriously—that is an option. Of course, you’re sitting there thinking that there are no other options, right? But what if there were—would you still just sit there and let your posts get buried so advertisers and celebrities can get more feed views? Or would you actually try something new? What’s new...in case you’re wondering is Emenator. Emenator doesn’t employ algorithms that hide your posts or favor a celebrity’s posts over yours in their feeds. It’s a brand new social—waiting for us young people to use it and shape it. We actually have an opportunity here because unlike the giant socials where nobody listens to the users, Emenator actually welcomes feedback. We can decide what it becomes. Or, you can keep getting your posts buried and just take it because that is what you’re used to. Just taking it. I would rather get new followers and see what my friends actually post.