When you look inside Instagram reinvention you will see that most of the creators and developers of this photo and video sharing platform looked beyond the minimalism concept and more focused on the building mode.
In 2015, Instagram experts realized a couple of this such as:
- The app is drifting away from its roots too far though it was growing at a rapid pace
- It was also seen that the user base was also growing which was not at all a good growth and most importantly
- The Instagram feeds were becoming more impersonal in nature which was once dominated by pictures of family members and friends.
It was seen that different business brands, small and big, along with several celebrities and publishers who use this platform for their business and professional benefits. With such an increase in the customer base and the diversity, there is an increased pressure on the users to take the perfect photo and share it on Instagram.
A consequence of the surge
As a consequence of this surge and shift in users, the Instagram feeds of its users are now more peppered with over-produced and even inauthentic pictures that reflect the lives of the people in a wrong, if not incorrect way.
Now, the platform and its feeds have become a digital game. Users now will have to keep up with the changes in the system. This compels the users to keep the bar high and rising continuously. This is done with the intent to maintain the quality of the pictures and what they want to achieve through their posts.
Instagram, in fact, did not want that. According to a report of The Information published in June 2016, this is because:
- This pressure on the users actually became the internal pressure on Instagram itself and
- The users also started to share their pictures and videos a bit less frequently.
On the other hand, Snapchat, another popular app for messaging that Facebook wanted to buy but failed, also offers the young people with an idea and type of experience that Instagram could not.
The idea behind was to covey that Instagram is actually not a low-pressure way to post and share pictures and videos simply because these do not stick around online. It is for this reason, sometimes, it is quite hard to get Instagram followers.
Moreover, a study from investment bank Piper Jaffray revealed that:
- Snapchat is the most popular social networking channel for teenagers and
- It has surpassed the Instagram platform to become the most important one now for the users.
This means that teenagers especially will choose Snapchat over Instagram for information, news, tips, suggestions and even for help in exigencies.
Major product changes
It also means that there is an immediate need to change the features, functionality and offers made by Instagram. It needs to evolve and such changes, experts thought, should be made based on the priorities that this platform once had in its early days.
This resulted in a major product push and updates made in the Instagram platform in 2016 to make it more honest and authentic and to encourage the users to share their posts beyond the customary feeds with their friends and families.
Some of the major updates made since then include:
- The Instagram Stories: This feature helps the users to share photos and short videos with their followers but the Stories expire in 24 hours after posting.
- The feed ranking algorithm: This is actually a computer model that will show the posts that the platform itself thinks that you will like which may not be the most recently published post.
- Live video broadcasting: This feature enables the users to stream live video directly in their feeds for the followers to see. The followers can, in turn, send you messages back while they watch the video. These video feeds will disappear once they end.
- Ephemeral messages: This is a new messaging feature introduced in the platform that will erase the photos and videos that you may send to your friends once they open it.
With such an extensive product and feature revival the platform now has really become more innovative and important than before.
Instagram now has got much bigger as the product organization started to use it even more. However, even with such a growth in its user base, Instagram is still compared to peers and considered to be small in comparison.
When you compare the staff count and the number of users of different social media platforms you will see that Instagram has made the maximum advantage of its deft staff. According to a report it is seen that:
- Instagram has about 450 employees and more than a billion active monthly users
- Twitter has more than 3,500 employees but only 317 million monthly users and
- Snapchat has more than 1,500 employees and has a paltry 15 million users.
The reason for this difference is that Instagram is owned by Facebook and therefore has the edge and luxury of using different resources of Facebook such as the data centers, advertising technology and content moderation. This means that Instagram builds and support these on its own like its competitors have to.
The turning point in social media
The change that has been the turning point in social media is the removal of the ‘like’ counter by Instagram, though in select geographic areas. This is an interesting change which the industry experts think was a long-overdue measure.
Ideally, this change is a techno-social experiment and there are a lot of benefits of it along with some unintended cons.
- It lowers the competitive pursuit of getting more follower, failing which results in stress, depression, anxiety and also lowers the self-esteem of the users, especially the young.
- It helps in aligning more with social collaboration and helps the authority to take the concerns of cyberpsychology more seriously.
This, in fact, cements the place of Instagram in the social medial and digital landscape enabling it to take a few risks to follow the philanthropic purpose of ensuring mental wellness of the users.