Instagram is Likely Changing for the Worse, Get Over It and Adapt!

Instagram is Likely Changing for the Worse, Get Over It and Adapt!

As many of you have seen and made clear on your feeds across various social networks this week, Instagram is changing its algorithm and from the looks of it, possibly for the worse. Chronological feed to curated feed is the proposed plan for the Instagram team in hopes "to show the moments we believe you will care about the most." How exactly will they know what I want? Facebook seems to do pretty well in retaining users so they must be doing something right for the majority. Now what does that mean for us photographers and professionals? Who knows but change will come so adapt and get over it!

​Do you really think a petition will make a difference with 150,000 signatures? Not a chance in hell with over 400 million active users on Instagram. Those are most likely professionals fearing their business pages will take a huge hit like they did when Facebook made the changes years ago. Then a small percentage of those signatures are probably just those getting in on the action to throw in their blind opinion, because it's popular to do. Either way people are pissed and I get it. I'm not a fan of the curated feed myself, and I absolutely love the way I can manipulate my posts to times of days and areas of the country and world. In the end, I will see the changes and make it work to my advantage in time. 

For you professional creatives out there that use various tools like social media to manage, market, and push yourselves above the pack, this is simply a swift kick in the ass. We are not in control of many of these factors that play into our industry. This should simply be your motivation to quit complaining and move forward. Do what you can with what you have and be the best at it. 

As Instagram has made clear in the past with big changes they do them in a timely manor. Ads, were one of the slowest rollouts of a new change I have ever seen in any business and one I still find appealing overall. Change doesn't mean it will happen instantly and be 100% shit, at least in their case they have the knowledge that their users come first and they respect that when making announcements like this, they do it with great regard for the overall majority. Sorry to be the one to tell you, but the majority are not people looking to grow a business like photography from social media and interaction. Most users are people you went to high school with or people documenting life a few snaps at a time throughout the week. 

Instead of bringing so much negativity to change as it happens around us on social media lets figure out ways we can take this to our advantage, and continue to grow out reach and creative process well beyond a stupid algorithm we have no control over. I will link to this again but to grow a following on Instagram it's fairly simple and they even post this on their own website. The suggested user list is a list of Instagrammers IG feels exemplifies the perfect community member. Curated with some of the most creative minds in the least likely places. Though the list can gain you tens of thousands of followers in a very short amount of time, it's the rules that help to get on the list that truly matter and will help you push forward on the platform. 

Check out the list below and tell me how many you are doing right now. 

  • Bring a unique perspective to Instagram by sharing inspiring, original photos and videos
  • Are actively engaged in and help cultivate the larger Instagram community
  • Inspire creativity in fellow Instagrammers by doing things like participating in @instagram's Weekend Hashtag Project or bringing people together in the real world through an InstaMeet
Rant over, please hit me up in the comments below or on Instagram. More than happy to chat more on this subject and help push each other in the right direction to learn how we can really capitalize as a community rather than complaining about how its changing around us. 
Andrew Griswold's picture

Andrew Griswold is a photographer and designer based in Indianapolis. Born and raised in Indy he has made a name for himself by staying very active in the creative community in both photography and design. He has also founded a community of photographers via Instagram connecting them with brands to work with and shoot locally.

Log in or register to post comments

I signed the petition. dont know if itll make a change but it cant hurt to try. 10 seconds of my time.

Who hell is this guy? Says get over it, but then goes on to list everything that failed with Facebook algorithm. This is exactly why people don't want it. Is it cool too rant on the hot topic for clicks and get that last shameful plug into your IG?

I try not to be negative on FStoppers, but I (and many others it seems) agree with you. I'd also like to add his three uber-helpful bullets of advice. Be unique, interact with others,participate in hashtags. Gee thanks, I feel enlightened. Of course any author who is classy enough to use "shit" on a nice website like this makes you wonder as well.

I actually agree with you here.

just let them put an option to use the chronological order .

It's free. And it wasn't made expressly for photographers to promote their business. That's the sad truth, and one you'll need to accept.

For what it's worth, I feel that anything Facebook gets their hands on will eventually turn to shit. But they do have to make a profit, even if that means alienating a percentage of their user base. Pandering to selfie-obsessed teens and fans of celebrities will always trump (now that's an ugly word lately) meeting the needs of business owners.

For the moment no one knows what is going to happen. With the announcement they are probably trying to get a first feedback and maybe adapt along the way.

Let's just hope that they introduce this new curated feeds as an option but not as default.
Depending on what kind of changes they are going to make the life of "social influencers" might get a lot harder and unpredictable.

So far you can still send them a message through the app (report a problem -> General feedback) and let them know that you don't want curated feeds as default.

Instagram is a company. They are going to do what they want to do. A petition is not going to change their minds. For those 150,000 that signed the "petition", get hired as executives and change Instagram from within.

First, yes, they are a company and as a company, their survival depends on people using their app. Frustrate and/or alienate enough people, their business will suffer. Who knows if enough people care on this particular issue to affect them, but you won't know unless you speak up.

Second, getting hired as an executive of ANY company is hard enough - getting hired at a specific company is damn near impossible, regardless of your qualifications. Someone would have to leave/step down for that opening to exist in the first place...

Plenty of companies have reversed course after public outcry against their chosen course of action. Suggesting that the only way to change course is to run the company is beyond ridiculous.

What they depend upon is advertising revenue, not the number of people using their app unless they rely upon a paid subscription model.

Advertising dollars go up as users go up. There's a reason it costs more to buy ad time during the Super Bowl compared to 2AM Saturday morning. Losing users = losing ad revenue.

Your making the mistake in thinking this will drive away a significant amount of users. It wont. They know exactly what they're doing. I didn't;

"Who knows if enough people care on this particular issue to affect them, but you won't know unless you speak up."

"Be the change you want to see in the world." In economics this means creating your own business. There is little barriers to entry in the App world. If there's a big enough market for a better photo sharing App then someone will make one or you can step up and do it yourself. IG is free to its users so they're not going to care when a tiny few people get upset. The reality is that this will help them as a business because the more serious photographers are smaller demographic than the teens who use it to show their duck faces and new Kanye shoes. We are more insignificant to the world.

I am not a professional...I am a pure user. I honestly don't care about business interests, but I do care about actually seeing the work of those I follow. Given the way Facebook curates posts, there's a very good chance images I want to see will get lost.

People who claim the easy road is to just create a new app or run the business are, frankly, beyond naive. People aren't upset about this because they have to use an alternative...they're upset because THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE...and establishing a user base larger than the population of the US is no small task for a new app...if it were easy, everyone would do it.

Further, its a pretty safe assumption that if you are a successful photographer, you aren't a high level programmer capable of creating a successful app...

"People who claim the easy road is to just create a new app or run the business are, frankly, beyond naïve" ....well with that attitude sure you wont be the one who makes an alternative.

My point is that Instagram really doesn't give two fucks about what their Free user base thinks. What they will care about is what their revenue shows. If they can make a change to make more money off advertising they will and should do it to serve their own best interests.

I read someone post what happened with Coke as an example but that's a poor reference for what could happen because none of us are paying for Instagram.

"Further, its a pretty safe assumption that if you are a successful photographer, you aren't a high level programmer capable of creating a successful app..." where there's a will there's a way. If there's a market for a different or better photo ap, someone will make it. If there isn't one because like I referenced before, the people who are complaining about this are such a tiny fraction of a fraction of the user base then we will just have to get used to what Instagram wants to do.

Since I've literally already addressed everything in this rebuttal already, I'll assume we're done now.

It sounds like we were done before any of this started. I understand that you're focused on your own personal feelings in IG's change rather than looking at the economic factors that influence changes like this and the creation of substitutes.

This reply right here is why we're done - I've been addressing economic factors since my very first post on this topic.

I would think calling you out on your failure to read what is written would have made you read what is written. But it didn't...not only did you fail to even acknowledge your mistake (a clear sign you aren't debating in good faith), but you've been plowing forward with your own dialog rather than addressing what is written ever since.

Thanks for confirming: we're done.

I like this article, awesome read.

I'm still holding out hope that this will actually be a great thing for Photogrphers. If you have fans who follow you.. And you are curating your own feed with high quality content I would think that Instagram curating feeds would mean that your content gets put in front of your fans no matter what time of day they look at it. Maybe I'm wrong.. But like I said I'm holding out hope. And yes we will all need to adapt to what ever really happens.

Follow me on Instagram @versace_van_londen tell me you saw me on fstoppers and I'll follow you back.


Curious, since every post in IG is a photo, how will they know to focus on curating for photographers?

Well I'm not sure how that will work. Figuring out what is high quality and what is not will be hard. And I'm guessing high quality content won't always mean high quality photos. But Google is able to distinguish between high and low quality photos based on pixel density and I think a few other things and will prioritize rank based on that. So hopefully IG will do something similar.

Interesting point. It's possible it will pull in type of image, camera it was shot with maybe, editing software that was used and possibly the amount of time you put into a caption or editing in app.

Hey man.. There is a ton of meta data they can use. I'm also not convinced that it will be quality of the photo. It's possible they plan on using under engagement or location. But like you said I think they will be testing and tweeking it for a while. so its too soon to tell.

Fancy seeing you here.

Hey buddy! What the fucks up?

we should of catch up IRL sometime

its all about youpic you can upload you camera setting with your photo put in more info and is more for the photographer

You could be right, complaining and letting IG know no one likes what they are planning to do could all be for naught.

Just wondering though, have you ever heard about the Coke fiasco?

It is what it is. I'm sure there will be ways to grow your followers with the new algorithm. If they make it biased to what they feel is a quality experience, I don't think that's a bad thing. It separates those who truly shine. I for one will learn all I can, adapt, and move forward.


I've never been on Instagram, but I can testify that the curated timeline in Facebook is driving me crazy. I always go to the chronological timeline.
But sometimes, for no apparent reason, Facebook switches me back to the curated timeline and I get completely confused until I realize the change. Facebook has absolutely no clue whatsoever what posts may be most interesting for me.
It proves this every time it tries ...

The goal with social media (besides showing off your work) should be to point people to your own website. If you live by social media platforms only then you die by them. Where is your amazing MySpace portfolio?

Just what I was about to post.. So, what you said sir!

I use it as my site and have for 7+ years with Twitter, Dribbble, Facebook and also Instagram. All powerful and have been for years. MySpace made it 3 years before declining and dying in 4 years. Twitter is running at 7 years. Facebook at 10+ and Instagram at about 5 years. This stuff is not to be ignored or said to not become the new age of websites. They are easier and far better to reach an audience. It's just hard to tell which will do well and for how long. I highly doubt Facebook is going anywhere it's still growing at 10 years old. Instagram is growing but fast in users and slow in features which is great. Smart because that is what Apple is doing and has for 5 years now. Slow incremental changes with little gamble. Doing things that they know people want but it the best way possible.

MySpace is still around lol!

One mistake that many photographers make is that they omit their own website and blog. Many don't even take the time to make one. Outside of their vanishing Facebook fan base, they will be dead in the water unless they fork over cash to boost their content. Likes and comments are good for boosting one's confidence, but social media isn't a good venue for constructive criticism, nor permanent web presence. It's a landscape dominated by 2-second reactions. You're absolutely right, the only items of value are your audience's e-mail addresses. Point them to your site, and have them sign-up for your mailing list. That information is then under your control, regardless of what changes Facebook or Instagram undergo.

I think instead of adapting it is time to move to a new social media home. Honestly did anyone really not see this happening when Facebook bought Instagram? Remember when likes were important on Facebook? Now its the same algorithms on IG becoming notorious for lack of user engagement. What do you think will be hte next big images hosting site?

I really don't see what all the fuss is about. If you're a photographer who gets 90% of your business through a single channel (such as Instagram), which in itself is an ever-growing, ever-changing platform, you are putting all of your eggs in one runaway basket. Relying solely on social media puts you in a bind, because the very marketing channels you rely on are not under your control (and never will be). It's only a matter of time before Instagram follows its parent company - Facebook, in charging for premium and business-owned content. They exist for-profit.

Oh for the simplicity of a basic RSS feed. I have always wondered why Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter don't offer unique RSS feeds for each user's account. It would provide a great alternative notification to some feeds.

1% of people even know that RSS even existed.

Harder to advertise to.

Lets all just take a deep breath, go out and take pictures and stop whining.

Where's Dani Diamond with his melodramatic article about getting so terribly screwed by the free Instagram service? Didn't he claim to give up on FB for this very reason and move to IG? Time to move on to... I dunno, Pinterest? ;)

He did write an article about that. But he is still on Facebook and engaging daily on that thing building. So, his answer was adapt and push forward and continue growing. The dude is a damn machine!

My social media is used to promote a website, not to sell my photography services. But I just checked my Analytics, and FB accounted for a little over 3% of my traffic in the last 30 days. IG was included in the bottom 4.5% of "Other" sources. So it's safe to say I don't have much in this game. But I feel your pain. Time to brush up on your SEO.

I wish it were easy to say that moves like this will lead any service to become the next MySpace, but it just won't happen. Sadly, the average user of Instagram (or Facebook) won't notice and/or won't care.

Just maybe because IG was designed for the average user and NOT for professionals or businesses to get free advertising/exposure (pun intended) in the first place?

Hopefully, they will at least get one thing right... stop showing the same content you've already seen as Facebook's algorithm seems to do. Or, show me repeat comment because someone I know commented on it... if I didn't like if the first six times you showed it to me, I won't just because of this.

More comments