The Update That Never Was – by Chris Zaccaro

“My god…it’s happening.”

I said to myself early in the workday Thursday, December 27, 2018. I had glanced over at my Twitter dashboard and saw the most peculiar trends afoot.

#Instagram

#NewInstagram

#InstagramUpdate

The Twitterverse was NOT happy. I jumped across my desk to my charging smartphone and immediately opened my Instagram.

There it was. The “new Instagram.”

As with any change in the Land of Steady Habits – it was horrifying. Rather than scrolling downward through a feed of the usual brunch photos and videos of college kids showing their disappointed parents new drinking tricks during winter break, I was having to swipe left through a horizontal slideshow to view content.

I wasn’t a fan. It was weird looking, awkward and, of course, very different. I met my lady friend before Tinder and Bumble became a thing, so my swiping motion wasn’t seasoned either.

But really one of the first things that came to mind was how this new feed looked remarkably like an Instagram Story. Over the past few months – and as referenced in my August 2018 blog post – I have mentioned to clients that Facebook (which also owns Instagram) had recently stated that Stories will soon overtake the traditional News Feed as the primary way social media users view content.

Was this it? Were they finally making the jump?

As I mentioned earlier, the Twitterverse was NOT happy with this change. When I say “not happy,” I mean that the update was being universally panned. So bad were the initial reactions that within the very same hour Instagram was back to its original and wonderfully addicting feed.

Oh, the Lords of Instagram were definitely watching and listening. It all happened so fast that my social media colleagues didn’t even get the chance to see it. It was the update that never was.

A couple of hours later Instagram put out a statement. “Due to a bug, some users saw a change to the way their feed appears today. We quickly fixed the issue and feed is back to normal. We apologize for any confusion.”

Yeah, okay.

My thinking is in line with what many others are thinking. That Instagram was clearly trying something out and gauging initial reaction. But this goes to show that the social media giants are clearly thinking ahead to what’s next for their platforms. If Stories are going to be the primary way users start viewing content, then the platforms will need to adapt to that eventually. This was probably the first move.

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