Pro’s and Con’s of Instagram’s New Update

I hate change. I’ve never been good at it. When my friends updated our group chat’s name, I made them do it in several steps so that I was eased into the new name. Needless to say, when Instagram redesigned their platform, my gut reaction was very negative. 

However, I was not alone. I put out a poll on my Instagram story on July 6, 2022, asking “If you have Insta’s new update, do you like it?” The results were this: 

  • Yes: 3 votes (9%)
  • No: 21 votes (64%)
  • No preference: 9 votes (27%)

Overall, it seems like people are not reacting well to the new update. I even had a friend avoid Instagram for a few days because the update was stressing her out so much. Still, after a week with the update, I’ve come to see a few benefits. Here’s my take on Instagram’s new update.

PRO: It’s easier to see posts. 

Now, instead of being able to scroll continuously through posts, Instagram automatically stops your scroll at the next post to ensure posts are centered on your screen. Admittedly, I initially didn’t like this feature because it means I have to slow down my scrolling by a few milliseconds (which feels longer than it is). I’m still not a huge fan of the fact that when I accidentally cause my explore feed to reset to the top of the feed, it’s not easy to find the post I was initially looking at. Still, having the posts line up to fit better on my screen has been nice. Unless you’re searching for something specific in your feed, I think it’s actually easier to look at posts this way.

CON: There was no point in some changes. 

Maybe I just haven’t found the reasoning yet, but the relocation of the tags, likes, comments, and locations seem like unnecessary changes to me. I don’t think the app looks cleaner this way, so it’s simply confusing to change a layout that users have been accustomed to for years. 

Beyond there being no reason for this reface of the app, I think there were some features that are actually worse off than before. For instance, I enjoyed being able to see featured comments on posts to help me decide whether or not I would read a few comments. With no featured comments shown, it takes intentionality to look at comments. 

Further, looking at tags is definitely less user-friendly than before. When in one’s main feed, instead of tapping on a photo to see where each tag was placed, users must press an additional button to get a list of the people in the photo. Looking at tags on people’s profiles is the same as it was before, but this added step makes it more difficult to identify the people in the photo. 

Change can be good. But in this case, it just seems pointless to me. 

PRO: It takes off the emphasis on getting reactions to posts.

In February 2022, Instagram came out with the feature to allow users to hide the number of likes they get on posts. This allows users to stop stressing so much about popularity, and simply enjoy seeing what their friends are up to and documenting their favorite photos. This new update takes that concept a step further by making the number of likes and comments on a post less noticeable. While it takes some adjusting to, I think this was a nice touch that will allow users to better enjoy the app. This feature shows that Instagram was listening to the tag with 16.4k followers: #makeinstacasualagain.

CON: There are too many videos from people I don’t follow. 

I thought I had a lot of random posts in my feed from people I don’t follow before the update, but now it’s even more. When I was scrolling through my main feed to see what friends were posting, roughly every third or fourth post was an advertisement or featured video. I get that Instagram has to make money somehow, but if I’m trying to look at my friends’ posts, at least take out or minimize the number of featured posts. I keep thinking I accidentally followed some baking account or dog account, and it’s getting confusing and annoying. 

PRO: It works better for reels.

While it started out as a photo-sharing app, in June 2021, Instagram’s Head Adam Mosseri stated that he wanted Instagram to become more of a video-based app. Regardless of how you feel about this change, one has to admit that the new layout works much better for the direction Instagram wants to take. Instead of needing to click on a reel in your feed to see the full content, reels are now automatically formatted to take up the full screen without any additional steps, can be watched on the same feed as regular posts, and can be paused. This was a nice touch that makes Instagram reels much more user-friendly. 

Overall, there are definitely pro’s and con’s of Instagram’s new update. I think the biggest thing for organizations to remember is that if they are going to shock users with a website or app redesign, it should be an obvious improvement and not just a desire to change. In my opinion, this redesign does have elements of both productive and irrelevant changes. What do you think? What do you like or dislike about Instagram’s latest update? 

Nicole Steele, PRSSA 2022-2023 National Vice President of Brand Engagement, is a junior at Biola University majoring in public relations with a double minor in communication studies and biblical & theological studies. She found her passion for public relations by volunteering in a branch of the Boy Scouts of America known as Venturing, where she currently serves as the founder and editor in chief of their national publication. She has also practiced PR in a variety of other positions, including as the communications intern at Benchmark and the account executive at her school’s PRSSA-affiliated, Student-run Firm. If you’re interested in writing a future Progressions article or simply want to connect with Nicole, feel free to reach out via email or LinkedIn

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