Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Feeding You This Instagram


"Instagram may change your feed, personalizing it with an algorithm" by Mike Isaac New York Times   March 15, 2016

For years, we have been trained to view Web postings from our friends in a certain order. As our online networks of friends have grown larger and the social media companies have matured, the feeds have evolved.

More broadly, the change reflects the adjustments that occur time and again on the consumer Internet. In the early days of the Web, users largely congregated around portals like AOL and Yahoo, before Google gained ground, beckoning people to type in queries to find exactly what they were seeking. Then, social networking ushered in the era of the feed: a simple, linear way to gather and display the content contributed by your friends and family worldwide.

At the time, it was a revolutionary idea. “Feeds are a powerful way for users to navigate the Web and get to the information they need,” Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist and early investor in Twitter, wrote in a personal blog post in 2008. “My kids are growing up with the news feed as their start page. Not Yahoo’s portal approach and not Google’s search box approach.”

Doesn't anyone listen to radio anymore?

While feed-based networks have grown dominant over the last decade, they must be reinvented to keep audiences coming back and staying longer. That is especially true as older networks face newer competitors like Snapchat — which is almost entirely focused on the camera as the user interface — or text messaging apps like WeChat in China.

I'm going to check that before checking out.

“These companies want to always, always give you the next best thing to look at,” said Brian Blau, a vice president at Gartner, an industry research firm. “If an algorithm can give you much more engaging content more frequently, you’ll stick around longer.”

Yet changing Instagram’s feed will most likely be tricky and may arouse the ire of fans, who are accustomed to the way their photos and messages are ordered. Many Web companies have faced complaints when they altered the way their feeds were presented....

Revolutions usually do.