Can no longer see activity on Instagram?

Attention all late night Insta-stalkers: you can no longer see activity on Instagram! The ‘Following’ tab on your Instagram has ceased to be. Long gone are the nights spent scrolling furiously to find the posts that your ex has been liking. Instead, you’ll have to delve into the vast sea of the ‘Explore’ page to manually check your partner’s covert likes.

But why, for goodness’ sake, has Instagram done this to us? Surely we have suffered enough unholy app updates. As a social media agency, we at Monumental keep well abreast of these happenings. Do you remember when an alteration to the app required users to scroll sideways instead of top to bottom? We certainly do – it was a dark time, indeed. Not all updates are so heinous, however – read about Instagram’s new features in our Instagram Face Filters blog.

In this blog we will give you the 411 on why Instagram have taken this step, and look more deeply into what anxiety-inducing updates are in store for us in the future.



1. What on earth are you stalking about?


Early on Monday morning, no doubt still in bed, many of us were shocked to discover that we could no longer monitor our followers’ Insta-activity. The tab that was called ‘Following’, under the heart-shaped tab, was erased and replaced with the simple ‘Activity’. This feature has been a part of the Instagram experience since 2011, when it was implemented before even the ‘Explore’ tab was born. So why get rid of it? Apparently there is a simple explanation as to why we can no longer see activity on Instagram. Vishal Shah, the VP of product at Instagram, told Buzzfeed News that it was a feature that was barely used and needed to go. It seems that it is merely a case of removing dead weight from the software. But for many of us, it was a perfectly useful part of the app – hence the widespread frustration.



2. For whom does the notification bell toll?


From Shah’s justification, it is clear that despite many people’s outrage at the update, there are many more who simply won’t notice. He stated that, “People didn’t always know that their activity was surfacing […] so it was not serving the use case you built it for, but it’s also causing people to be surprised when their activity is showing up.” It seems that privacy was also an issue here. Instagram’s more intuitive users will readily have their activity shared in return for seeing others’. But naturally, the rest of the user base may find this invasive. Imagine if your Mum knew that everyone could see her obsession with George Clooney fan accounts. Mortifying.

From a marketing perspective, however, the effect is minimal. Advertisements did not appear on that section of the app, and the ‘Discover’ tab is far more useful for discovering and promoting new content. The issue lies more with user satisfaction; will these incessant updates put users off?



3. Do big updates have an expiry date? 


Updates are a necessary part of application function. Bug fixes are rolled out weekly by some platforms, merely to ensure our user experiences remain smooth. We don’t even notice these small changes. Bigger software overhauls, on the other hand, can be a shock to the system for the tech savvy. We spend so much time on our phones that software becomes somewhat of a mental habitat. Instagram removing the ‘Following’ tab can feel like someone painting your bedroom walls orange without asking you first.

Will this alienate users to the point of turning them off the app? Time will tell. Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger reportedly left the app because of ‘over-Facebookification’ within the software updates. If senior staff of Instagram are being put off, perhaps users will too. 

What’s your view on the fact you can no longer see activity on Instagram? 

Let us know what you think.

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