Is Instagram Going Back to Its Roots With New Update Coming out in February?

Is Instagram Going Back to Its Roots With New Update Coming out in February?

Instagram’s navigation is set to change in February with a new update that sees the Reels button lose its prime position and the Compose (plus icon) will be placed in the middle. 

This might be good news for photographers preferring still images if Reels are no longer pushed on the main navigation. Many users have felt that Instagram forced them into posting Reels instead of photos.

There has certainly been backlash against the social media app to go back to being a photo-sharing platform instead of copying the likes of TikTok. Celebrity influences such as Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner famously voiced their disappointment of sidelining image posts in favor of videos. Having said that, Kim herself has since embraced reels by posting many of them.

The new update will also remove the Shop tab. Instagram users will still be able to set up and run their shop on Instagram, but it is looking like this feature will also be pushed less after the update.

Of course, moving the buttons around doesn't necessarily mean anything. There is no knowing if the algorithm will favor images again over Reels. However, it does feel like Instagram may be going back to its roots with the changes. Users may embrace photos again, and in return, shape the future of the app. 

Kaisa Leinonen's picture

Kaisa Leinonen is a photographer specializing in homeware and interiors, still life and food content. Originally from Finland she is based in London, UK.

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Video is clearly much more consumed than images in this era. It seems to me that it might be a bit too naive to think that Instagram will now go back a few steps.

Yep, They are never going back to the way it once was.

Personally, I view the situation on instagram as a hallway that is shrinking in size as it goes on.

What I mean by this is that there was once a time in which follower growth wasn’t to hard, but they changed the algorithm to fix that problem, there was once a time when higher like counts weren’t that hard to get with a good photo, but they fixed that problem, there was once a time when you didn’t have to live on the app in order to have reach in general , but they fixed that problem and it goes on and on with everything they do to “ make things better”.

The hallway just gets smaller and smaller and smaller which in turn just makes things less fun or even worth participating in. Another analogy is that it is kinda like a video game in which you can’t get past the second level in unless you’re cheating or devoting a insane amount of time & energy a day playing it or a natural phenom of some sort.

I hear you, time will tell if this update will change the way still images are pushed on the platform.

But if your goal is to amass a large following, or to get a huge number of likes, then you are misusing the platform. Such goals are inane and foolish.

The right way to use Instagram is to use it to stay in touch and connected to a few hundred people who you know personally in real life, or to do research on things by finding experts on certain kinds of photography and communicating with them in detail via direct messages.

Numbers and algorithms don't matter to those who are using Instagram properly. If I want to see someone's work, then I search specifically for that person's account by entering their username in the search bar, and their account pops up and I can see everything they have posted. I do not need some algorithm to put their images into my "feed" because I can override the automated feed and instead go straight to each person's account.

Why let Instagram have control over what you see there? YOU should take control by going thru the list of those you follow and clicking on their usernames to see what they have been posting. Any other way of using Instagram is just laziness because it is taking the easy way instead of being intentional and specific about what you see and what you don't.

Instagram is losing a ton of ground to TikTok as the platform used most often. The most recent MRI Simmons data is showing that for Adults 18-34 years old, Instagram is the most used by 17% while TikTok is just behind with 13%.

As TikTok grows in usage, Instagram needs to copy it to stay relevant.

Instagram will continue to push short form video because it's more engaging. They don't need photographers. I say this as someone who would rather see IG go back to a photo focus.

This was a huge part of why I started using VERO, but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like many people are on there. Which is weird, bc it doesn’t have ads or the bs algorithms.

IMHO Instagram is no friend of the modern photographer. I will remain a skeptic until I see an uptick in organic growth. I'm not one to play algorithm games at the behest of a random board of shareholders.

Just cancelled my membership. I post no more on Instagram.