by Brittany McSorley
There’s some breaking news in Cape Cod social media marketing: a little-known but controversial Instagram feature is being phased out.
As we all know, tapping the heart tab on your Instagram app brings you to a feed of activity related to your content: likes, follows, comments, and tags. But what only the most experienced IG users know (and that I was personally clueless about until a friend pointed it out) is that this activity feed is neighbored by another. It’s labeled “Following,” and it gives you an inside look at what the people you follow are doing on Instagram.
Let’s explore a purely hypothetical example that is not at all based on the friend who showed me the ways of the Following tab. Let’s say you’re in a challenging, emotionally draining, and ultimately useless on-off relationship with a man with questionable character. This man is, by this point in his life, so good at being selfish and dishonest that you’re never quite sure where you stand with him. Well, if that man happens to have an Instagram account, you can use the Following tab to see just how often he likes or comments on content posted by very attractive women who are not you. Ah, to be in love.
Surely there are other legitimate uses for the Following tab, but the reaction most people have when they learn about it is along the lines of, Well that seems creepy. According to Fast Company, Instagram finally thinks so, too.
Instagram’s head of product Vishal Shah said of the change, “People didn’t always know that their activity is surfacing. So you have a case where it’s not serving the use case you built it for, but it’s also causing people to be surprised when their activity is showing up.
The tab’s demise should be complete within the week, so if you’re one of the few who haven’t yet lost the option, I recommend you get your fill of Insta-stalking while you still can. Alternatively, therapy.
What will those of us in digital-age relationships do now? Talk to each other? Please.