What’s #keepinstagramchronological and Why Should We Care?

While scrolling through Instagram posts while still in bed this morning (no judgment — I did it, too), you might have seen the hashtag #keepinstagramchronological, accompanied by messages by a few users posting that they’d be boycotting Instagram today. So, what’s going on?


What’s Instagram Changing, and Why?


On Tuesday, Instagram announced that, soon, our feeds will show posts according to popularity instead of in the order they’re posted. We already know what this is like, because Facebook sorts posts this way — it’s the reason we don’t see most Facebook posts by our actual friends, and we instead see the same newlywed/new baby/political diatribe posts from people we barely know over and over.


The Instagram change isn’t too much of a problem for me personally, because I have a healthy number of followers and likes. Unless you follow gobs of people, you’re probably more likely to see my book pics and selfies; in fact, you’ll probably see them so much, you’ll get really sick of them. And that’s kind of the problem — when our feeds are full of only the popular posts (or when they’re the ones we see first), we lose diversity of thought; we lose inspirational posts that are thoughtful but may not get a lot of likes; we lose the ability to hear the voices of people who are speaking more quietly. (We also lose posts by small businesses who are just starting out and don’t have huge followings or advertising dollars — you know, the local businesses.)


Can Using a Hashtag Really Keep the Instagram Timeline Chronological?


Eh, I’m not really sure. Instagram and Facebook make these decisions based on advertising concerns primarily, so it might not matter what we think. But I don’t think it hurts to try. Instagram has changed their policy based on public outcry before, and they may be willing to do it again. If advertisers are afraid that usership may go down, they might push Instagram to keep organic search. And even if nothing changes, I’d like to know that I did what I could to make my voice heard.


If You Want to #keepinstagramchronological — What Do You Do?


First, you can post a picture on Instagram (take a picture you like, or draw a watch on your hand like I did — it was kind of fun), use the caption to explain what you’re doing, and use the hashtag #keepinstagramchronological in the caption. Then, just take a break from Instagram for the rest of the day (part of the movement is trying to show Instagram that user numbers will drop if they make this change). You can also sign this #keepinstagramchronological petition if you want to.


Can we change Instagram? Maybe, maybe not. But for me, keeping pro-Trump posts and baby bump pictures from sticking to the top of my feed for three days straight is reason enough to try. (Oh, and if you’d like to follow me on Instagram, I’m @crollwagen … but maybe wait until tomorrow.)


Carrie Rollwagen reviews books for Southern Living and BookPage. She’s also Communications Director at Infomedia and author of The Localist. Find her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @crollwagen.

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