Social media is a great way to stay in touch with old friends, like the girl from high school who insists on live-tweeting The Bachelor, or that guy freshman comp who posts thrice-daily gym selfies on Instagram. We all have our fair share of guilty pleasure shows, and can respect what’s-his-name’s #FitnessGoals, but these posts are beginning to clutter our news feeds and keep us from seeing content we actually care about (puppies dancing to Drake, anyone?). Lucky for us, Twitter and Instagram have developed new algorithms for delivering content that can help slim-down our bloated news feeds.
You may have noticed that your Facebook feed feels a little more curated than Twitter and Instagram; there’s more content from your closest friends whose posts you like and comment on. Facebook’s algorithm, which debuted in 2011, uses your likes and comments to determine which posts interest you the most.
Factors, like articles you’ve clicked on or the amount of time you’ve spent watching videos, help Facebook craft a news feed of content catered to your specific interests. Five years later, Twitter and Instagram are following suit by ditching the chronological feed and making the switch to algorithmic feeds.
Twitter’s new algorithm rolled out on February 10th and Instagram jumped on the bandwagon in early March. Some Twitter users are critical of the new algorithm; after all, it’s hard to live-tweet a rose ceremony when your tweets may be rearranged or struck from someone’s feed altogether.
Instagram has faced criticism as well, with users afraid that the new algorithm is too similar to Facebook’s game plan. But the change in both Twitter and Instagram is much more innovation than imitation. HOW SO? Twitter defends the change, citing increased user engagement as their motivation for the update — a boost they could really use, since their user growth has all but halted in the last quarter.
If you’re among the tweeters and ‘grammers who are opposed to the change, have no fear: you can still disable the new algorithms in your settings. As for us? We’re always down to try something new!