Yesterday, Instagram announced that they had made some changes in what they will now allow to performed automatically. With this update, Instagram business profiles have gained the ability to have posts scheduled and published without any additional manual work via third-party applications. Non-Business profiles will likely gain this feature in 2019 according to the announcement. This news has been very favorably received so far, but instead shouldn’t we be running for the hills? Hear me out.
I believe the disconnect here is that most people are only narrowly envisioning themselves using this tool for their own work. From this closed perspective, sure, this all sounds like it’s easing a burden and that’s that. I’ve been using social media scheduler Hootsuite for a few years now managing the Fstoppers Instagram account. At a rate of posting about four images every day, it’s great to be able to schedule out the next few days, sometimes a week if I’m traveling, in advance with this service. Before this new update, once the scheduled time rolled around, my phone would get a notification and the Instagram post would auto-fill with my previously entered image file and caption, but I’d still have to manually look at and publish these posts myself inside the Instagram app. The difference now is that I can schedule posts from my computer and never check in with the Instagram app ever; there’s nothing manual to do at the scheduled publish time on my end at all anymore.
Now take a step back. Think of your Instagram experience five or so years ago; the origin of why you became attached to the social media network in the first place. No ads, a chronological feed, no “pods,” nothing too serious. Just photos from the people you cared about, and posts from you when you thought you had something interesting to share. So many people today claim they want to go back to when Instagram was much more basic and much more awesome. Strangely, it’s these same people I’m seeing applaud a set-it-and-forget-it scheduling system. Isn’t this straying the furthest we’ve ever been now from the core Instagram social experience that so many of us cry out for?
Are we becoming hypocritical without realizing it? Sure, yeah, I know, it’s the other Instagram users that are bad and going to abuse the new system, but not me because what I schedule is always top-notch content. My stuff matters!
But eventually, who’s even going to be looking at the stuff that’s being posted? What’s the point when you can keep churning out your dank content and ignore the pesky burdens of passing through a photo feed. You’re after Internet fame now, Instagram no longer serves any other purpose but to be noticed for what you yourself post. The social structure of Instagram — the give and the take — is coming onto its last legs, and automatic publishing will not be doing it any favors.
We are possibly about to be barraged by endless posts from businesses and people because of its ease of use. I believe that small burden before of manually publishing in-app was just enough to keep a lot of the self-serving spam at bay. And if this feature makes its way from third-party apps only to inside Instagram, oh boy.
One other concern I have is with quality control. This was actually my first thought I had when I heard the news, but I didn’t think I’d run into trouble so quick with it. Yesterday I enrolled the Fstoppers Instagram account into self-publishing via Hootsuite to try it out. For the first couple scheduled posts, it was actually a little scary. Posts being published to your account without a final “sign off” is stressful. People begin commenting and liking something that you haven’t even seen yourself in its native context yet. Today, I opened up Instagram to find that a post got put up with an incorrect color profile and therefore the colors were dull compared to the actual image. This would have 100 percent been caught if I were still manually pushing images to publish, but since this was all automated, it wasn’t. This is just one example, but I’m sure in the time coming more embarrassing errors that would have normally been caught are going to get sent through by accounts using this new feature.
What are your thoughts about the new scheduling and automatic publishing changes? Do you see it as liberating for your business or a disaster in the making? Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle and it’s just a sign of the times for you. Share your thoughts in the comments below.