Algorithms are one of the most annoying things that people have to deal with online. Who would have ever thought that was going to be a thing?
Facebook tinkered with people's timelines, in a bid to squeeze some pounds and dollars out of everyone. In stopping the chronological order, then can ask people for money to promote their posts.
Looks like the Facebook owned Instagram is going down the same road.
IG users may have noticed that, when they checked their feed this morning, things weren't in the order you'd expect. A post from an hour ago at the top of your timeline, and something posted 5 seconds ago behind another post from 43 minutes ago.
It's all a bit of a mess.
You may remember it being announced last March, and the general response was a mixture of irritation and anger. And a good pinch of 'meh, whatever'. IG said that they thought this was a good idea, because they said that the average Instagram user missed 70% of their feed.
That's code for: 'suck it up - you'll get used to it and we'll make a decent wedge of money from this'.
Their actual wording was that the feed is now "ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most".
While this might seem like small fry to many, Instagram could have a problem here - if people feel like their photos are being buried by the algorithm, and they stop getting likes and comments (the very point of social media), then they'll stop using it.
If people stop using it as frequently, Instagram and Facebook have a decision to make, or sink. Seeing as Snapchat is doing a roaring trade, combining the visual element of IG, the private chat functions of WhatsApp, and the social elements of Twitter - and most importantly is a load of fun - it is obvious that no-one in social media is guaranteed reams of traffic.
Remember how quickly MySpace withered on the vine?
If users aren't seeing the photos they want, and there's visibly more advertisements and promotions, people won't be missing 70% of their feed - they'll miss 100% of it, as they find some other app to play with.
The new timeline will be rolling out to everyone. We've seen the new out-of-order feed and, frankly, it's a bit of a dog's dinner. We'll see if it gets sorted out or not, in the coming weeks.