Instagram is dead - And Instastory allows hashtags
How do you use instagram today? I don't know about you but I have noticed my own habits change just within a year alone. Well "The Algorithm Change" happend, Insta goes biz and remakes SnapChat. And whatever else is going on behind the scenes. Shadow ban anyone? So, as I spend quite a portion of my day on Instagram, it is also a great source of frustration to me on daily basis. All my self-help books tell me to let go, but there it is on my phone screen and I can't not let go. I know that is pretty dramatic but here is my two cents on what is going on inside everybody's favorite social media app.
When the feed was changed from chronological to Instagram pretending to read your mind and trying to guess what you prefer to see on your feed, it all just changed. I don't know if you would call that a down-hill or up-hill but it just wasn't the same. Then they introduced the business accounts, which makes sense now because you can buy your way to people's mindless morning commute browsing instead of hoping that posting at a peak hour would matter. Relief? Maybe if your wallet won't complain.
What it seems like is that you can certainly generate engagement by buying ad-space for your account but the follower growth doesn't follow (I know that's a bad pun). So what are you supposed to do when your engagement is low and nobody seems to see your posts anymore? Few years ago you would just hashtag your picture with #love or #picoftheday and that would generate people to your account, but not in 2017. This past spring the blogger community got frustrated because all of a sudden something as shadow ban begun to happen! My friend Maria just made a very detailed post about it so you might want to check out her blog.
In short, what is a shadow ban? So basically even if you use hashtags, you might not actually show up in that hashtag! Unless you are using very niche hashtags and tags that are not over-saturated. I really don't understand WHY this is a problem but of course it is harder to use Instagram as a search tool when certain hashtags do have completely unrelated pictures tagged under. Other reasons for shadow ban could be the use of like bots, follow bots etc and that's something I understand.
But now this past week, Instagram allowed instastories to have a hashtag in them and so that you can search stories now too! Well, that is exciting! So is this a solution for the problem or was the so-called shadow banning just a preparation for the story hashtags? That's what I think. Yet you don't automatically end up into the story either if you use a hashtag. Matter of fact, you could just use your location in the story and instagram will make it's own assumptions and add you to one or two different stories. See example in the this picture below.
Back to the original question. How do you use Instagram today?
I myself have noticed that I forget to browse the feed as the stories are right up there to distract me and I must admit that I'm more interested what happens behind the filters in the life of people who inspire me. Also the authentic feel of 'right there' 'right now' feels nice. I really enjoy beautiful photography and the inspiration from style, food and yoga related posts on my feed too but I feel little lost on the feed.
So is this the death of Instagram as we know? In my opinion, yes Instagram is dead. As many changes as there have been during the past year I think the way we use Instagram in 6 months will be a lot different. The way we engage with posts and others is changing and not forgetting how we represent ourselves to companies as bloggers and influencers. The good thing is that Instagram truly seems to try to get rid of all the spam and push quality content. But are you really just a number that represents a like or a follow to someone else?