Connect with us

SOCIAL

Instagram Launches Initial Test of Algorithm-Free, Reverse Chronological Feed Options In-Stream

Published

on

Instagram Launches Initial Test of Algorithm-Free, Reverse Chronological Feed Options In-Stream

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

After announcing the return of its reverse chronological, algorithm-free post feed late last year, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has today shared a preview of how its new options on this front will work.

Honestly, the way he says ‘it’s important to me…’ freaks me out a little bit.

As you can see in the video, Instagram’s looking to add two different chronological feed options, in ‘Favorites’, which would enable you to view a listing of accounts based on those you add to your ‘Favorites’ list, and ‘Following’, which will display the accounts that you follow, free from additional recommendations, in reverse timeline order.

The latter is particularly important, because as Mosseri notes, your algorithm-defined ‘Home’ feed is going to feature ‘more and more recommendations over time’, as Instagram looks to boost content discovery, and get people spending more time, and money, in the app.

So that’s good, right? You’ll soon have the option to view your posts in reverse chronological order once again, with an easy switch to toggle between the different feeds. That’s what users have been asking for for years, right?

Well, kind of.

The problem with Instagram’s solution, which has been in testing since early December, is that you won’t be able to make your preference the default option, which means that if you’d like to see your feed in reverse chronological order, you’ll have to manually switch over to your ‘Favorites’ or ‘Following’ feed every time you use the app.

Instagram feed toggle

Now, that’s not a massive imposition – tapping on an extra feed toggle is pretty easy, and it will give you simple access to an algorithm-free Instagram experience if you want it. But at the same time, Instagram also knows that most people simply won’t bother, which, in some ways, makes it a win-win for the platform, in that it gets the positive user PR of providing these alternative feed tools, while also not seeing any significant impacts on overall engagement, because most people will just keep using the algorithm-defined feed as they always have.

How can Instagram be confident of such? Because Facebook also provides the same option, with the capacity to switch your Facebook News Feed back to reverse chronological order, just like it was back in the days of poking and sharing how you’re feeling in your updates.

Facebook rolled out its now infamous News Feed algorithm back in 2012, and ever since, users have pushed for an option to switch the algorithm off, and give them more control over their experience. Facebook’s tested various ways to provide this, with the capacity to switch to a ‘Recent’ feed always in your settings, while Facebook has also been testing ways to make this more up-front, including this test in 2020.

Facebook News Feed sorting

Look familiar?

Yes, Facebook already provides the exact options that Instagram is now proposing, with News Feed sorting via ‘Favorites’, based on the people and profiles you choose, and ‘Recent’, which, much like Instagram’s ‘Following’ list, displays the latest posts from those you follow.

Some users have access to these options upfront, others need to dig a little in their settings. But even if you do have access, you’re probably not using them, because while you might like to see your feed in reverse chronological order, you’re not going to manually select the display option every time you log in. Right?

Facebook knows this, and Instagram does too. So while it’s good that Instagram is looking to provide more options, and it’ll no doubt work to reduce user complaints about lack of control, as these options will be readily available, in reality, not many people are going to use them.

So it’s not exactly a return to the Instagram of old, and a means to eliminate the algorithm altogether. Social platforms have all seen significant engagement increases due to algorithmic sorting, and highlighting content of interest to each individual user – and as such, they’re not about to let you just turn them off so easy, and lose all of those gains.

As Mosseri notes, most people don’t get through all the posts in their main feed anyway, and if you do switch away from the ‘Home’ feed display, you could well end up missing important updates. That’ll give further credence to its preferred, algorithm-defined approach, which will see even more users forget that these options exist.

In essence, it’s more of a placating move than one focused on utility, a way for Instagram to get some of the more vocal critics of its algorithmic approach to calm down, while still gleaning optimal benefits.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it may well be that the algorithm feed is better, even if users don’t think it is. But it is worth clarifying that this is not the return to user control that Instagram will be touting, even if it does provide more options.

Mosseri says that the new feed options are now in testing, with a view to a full rollout ‘in the first half of this year’.




Source link

SOCIAL

These Guys Are Stupid, And I'm Being Charitable

Published

on

These Guys Are Stupid, And I'm Being Charitable

Why do some organizations still solicit funds the way they did in the 1960s? You need to take a smarter marketing approach, or you’ll waste money like they do. I’m still getting about two bucks a month in cash from stupid, misguided charities that insist on sending me actual money in the mail. I get …

Source link

Continue Reading

SOCIAL

Internal Documents Reveal That the New Twitter Blue Has Fewer Than 300k Subscribers at Present

Published

on

Internal Documents Reveal That the New Twitter Blue Has Fewer Than 300k Subscribers at Present

Look, I know people have strong opinions about Elon Musk, and I realize that any criticism is going to be viewed as political commentary, even if it’s not (because I’m not American, I can’t vote, I don’t care about Hunter Biden, etc.). But Elon’s paid verification program is dumb, the dumbest move that he’s made at Twitter to date.

And I understand the logic – Elon says that when he came on, the company was losing $4 million per day, which lead to mass lay-offs, and a scramble for revenue generation options.

Paid verification, then, makes sense, while Elon also extrapolated the need for immediate cash into a pathway to combat bots, by using verification as a means to ‘verify all the real humans’ – i.e. bots won’t pay, and bot peddlers won’t be able to afford such at scale.

I get all the moving parts, and optimistically, they may sense.

But realistically, which is the more important ‘ally’ of the two, it just doesn’t.

Because most people won’t pay, especially when you’re offering nothing much in return, other than a graphic of a tick next to their username, while the very act of selling verification ticks erases their only perceptual value, that being exclusivity.

Now, everyone can buy one, so the tick is meaningless, at least as a status marker of some form.

My perspective on this been vindicated, at this early stage at least, by a new report from The Information, which says that, according to internal documents:

Around 180,000 people in the US were paying for subscriptions to Twitter, including Twitter Blue, as of mid-January, or less than 0.2% of monthly active users […] The U.S. number is about 62% of Twitter’s global subscriber total, the document says, which implies Twitter has 290,000 global subscribers.”

That’s consistent with the findings of researcher Travis Brown, who’s been posting regular updates on Twitter Blue subscriber numbers, based on searches of users that show up as ‘blue_verified’ in the back-end.

At present, based on Brown’s figures, the new Twitter Blue program looks to have around 300,000 subscribers, very close to the data The Information has seen.

That would mean that Twitter’s currently bringing in an extra $2.4 million per month via the program, or $7.2 million per quarter. Which is pretty good, that’s extra income at a time when Twitter desperately needs it. But it’s still way, way off from where Twitter wants its subscription revenue intake to be.

To reiterate, when initially outlining his Twitter 2.0 reformation plans, Elon said that he wants to make subscription revenue around 50% of Twitter’s overall intake. That would align somewhat with the aforementioned revenue and bot-battling potential – but in order to do this, Twitter needs to increase Twitter Blue take-up 81x its current state.

300k sign-ups is also only 0.12% of Twitter’s active user base – so to reiterate, revenue-wise, it’s not close to meeting goals, and as a bot disincentive, it’s nowhere near meeting its aims. And while Twitter has just this weekend rolled out Twitter Blue to more regions, there’s just no way that it’s ever going to reach the levels required to make it a viable consideration in either respect.

Which means that all the mucking around, all the impersonation issues, all the gold checks and gray ticks and square profile images and brand logos. All of this has, on balance, been a waste of time.

It’s not nothing – again, Twitter needs all the extra money it can get right now, and a $29 million annual boost in intake will help. But functionally, it’s been a series of blunders and missteps, one after the other.

And now, Twitter wants brands to pay $1,000 a month for a gold tick?

Yeah, safe to say that’s not going to be a roaring success either. And while Twitter will likely get a few more Twitter Blue sign-ups when it removes legacy blue checks sometime in future, that’s still only 420k extra subscribers, max.

The churn rate will also be high – because again, a blue tick isn’t valuable anymore if everyone can buy one – and unless Elon and Co. have some magic updates to build into Twitter Blue in future, beyond Blue-only polls or paying to qualify for monetization, I don’t see how this becomes a significant element of Twitter’s overall intake or process.

But maybe I’m missing something. Maybe, because it’s Elon Musk, we’ve missed the point, or the process, and there is actually another pathway to winning on this front that’s not been revealed as yet.

I don’t see it, but I can’t imagine the logistics of flying to Mars either, so maybe there’s more to come.

But I doubt it.



Source link

Continue Reading

SOCIAL

Housebound Jordanian football fan a social media star

Published

on

Amer Abu Nawas was born with osteogenesis, or brittle bone disease, a genetic condition hindering normal bone growth that has meant he rarely leaves his home

Amer Abu Nawas was born with osteogenesis, or brittle bone disease, a genetic condition hindering normal bone growth that has meant he rarely leaves his home – Copyright AFP Khalil MAZRAAWI

Kamal Taha

Having spent most of his life housebound due to a medical condition, Jordanian Amer Abu Nawas’s love of football has propelled him to social media stardom.

Offering analysis of matches from the leading European football leagues to almost a quarter of a million followers, his Facebook page — “HouseAnalyzer” in Arabic — has grown into what he describes as a “big family”.

The 27-year-old was born with osteogenesis, or brittle bone disease, a genetic condition hindering normal bone growth that has meant he rarely leaves his home in Zarqa, 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Jordan’s capital Amman.

“It is true that I have never played football in my life, and have never attended any match, but for me football is everything,” Abu Nawas told AFP.

With no schools in the country catering to his needs, Abu Nawas grew up spending much of his time watching football matches, analysing the teams and playing football video games.

“This always made me feel like it is taking me from this world to a different one,” he said.

His relatives noticed his passion and encouraged him to publish his match analyses online.

In 2017, he launched his Facebook account, which now counts more than 243,000 followers.

– ‘Reach people’ –

Filmed on a phone in his bedroom, Abu Nawas’s videos usually feature him wearing a football jersey, excitedly commenting on matches and news from the world of football.

Discussing leagues from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, he sometimes uses a football pitch-shaped board to explain tactical nuances.

One of Abu Nawas’s latest videos reached more than 1.4 million viewers and he has started posting on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.

He said he was grateful for modern technology allowing him to connect with so many people.

“From this room, from this small place isolated from the world, I was able to cross these walls, reach people, communicate with them, create content, and become what I am today,” he said.

He expressed sadness at sometimes seeing people attack each other in comments to his posts, and said his relationship with his followers was “like a family”.

“This family is growing day by day, and I hope it will reach as many followers as possible,” he added.

Abu Nawas’s own family do their best to provide him with a comfortable life.

He is the youngest of three brothers and his father is a doctor and his mother a pharmacist.

Inside his room are shelves with a PlayStation, a computer and plastic baskets keeping items he might need.

On his bed are phones, remote controls, headphones and a long stick used to reach distant items.

– ‘Not an obstacle’ –

“He has his own world, in a room with a temperature of 27 degrees to avoid cold and pneumonia. He can operate anything using the remote control,” his father Yussef told AFP.

He said his son has friends who occasionally visit.

“When he feels bad, they take him out for a tour in a minibus,” he said.

Abu Nawas lamented that in Jordan “nobody cares” about people with diseases like his, and said he wished he had had the opportunity to attend school.

“The conditions for people with special needs are catastrophic,” he said.

“I could not learn because there are no special schools for people like me.”

Last year, the organisers of the football World Cup invited him to attend the tournament in Qatar.

But due to travel difficulties linked to his condition, he arrived late and missed the matches he was scheduled to attend.

Even so, Abu Nawas said it was “the best 10 days of my life”.

“I know my condition, I learned to be content, and I will remain so,” he said.

“Disability need not be an obstacle to success.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

en_USEnglish