You know what? I’m pretty obsessed with social media.
I mean, I have to be for my job but I do like it in my personal life too. From finding out the latest Brexit saga on Twitter to reading the Coleen Rooney / Rebekah Vardy beef on Instagram, social media serves up an unrivalled mix of entertainment, news and social interaction in one fell swoop.
But I do find myself on there too much, mindlessly scrolling when I’m supposed to be watching the latest episode of Peaky Blinders and having to rewind (much to everyone’s annoyance).
This is why I’m coming round to Instagram’s shock move of deleting its following tab from users’ accounts. It provided yet another way of staying on the app longer for me and my fellow obsessives, another feed to scroll, another time-wasting exercise.
However, from a business and marketing perspective, I’m worried removing this tab could do brands and influencers harm in the long run.
I used this feed to discover new accounts, with most of my ‘I don’t know you in real life’ follows coming from this tab. Yes, there’s still the ‘explore’ section of the app but a good majority of those images are from accounts I’m not really interested in.
I asked quite a few of my other Instagram-loving friends if the following feed was something they benefited from. Many did, agreeing that it was somewhere they could find new people or brands to follow via their like-minded friend’s activity. Others weren’t too fussed about its demise – they said it was nice knowing people weren’t lurking in the background watching what they were doing.
Could this mean the number of new followers to a company account will slow down? Who knows. What with the number of likes soon disappearing on photos, will brands start to feel the impact of change on Instagram? I guess we’ll soon find out.
As for me, I promise to use the time I would have spent on the following tab on something more valuable. Like looking at Boris Johnson memes on Twitter.