This morning, you woke up to an Instagram feed (if you wake up to that kind of thing) that was flooded with posts about turning on notifications. An action that, if taken, will turn your phone into a constant stream of text message-like alerts. No, thank you!
All the panic is over changes that Instagram tells SFR are still a ways off. “There are still weeks, or even months of testing to come before we roll this out more broadly,” Amy Auerbuch, a spokeswoman for the company, writes SFR via email.
The new algorithm announced by the photo-sharing social media app shows you popular pictures before recent ones, making Instagram a whole lot more like its parent company, Facebook. Unknown or up-and-coming artists, musicians, designers, businesses and individuals fear they could lose a platform for discovery and promotion if the popularity-based algorithm pushes their accounts to the end of user feeds, which have been chronological since the app’s birth in 2011.
Some Santa Fe individuals (and businesses) are already "Instafamous."
“We all have something to benefit by people paying attention to Santa Fe,” says Amy Tischler, co-curator of the locally based Instagram account @simplysantafenm. Caitlin Jenkins, Tischler’s business partner, says, “We met through the platform and starting utilizing it, and it became something really special.” The Santa Fe-centric account has nearly 14,000 followers as of presstime, and with many who have addresses in places like New York City, Italy and Peru, that is a lot of attention paid to Santa Fe.
“Every single day we have people come in because of Instagram,” says Zoila Cleaver, social media manager and a sales associate at Shiprock Santa Fe. The gallery has 13,300 followers on its account, @shiprocksantafe. “We have really been able to expand our audience and our client base because of it. I have seen our followers grow exponentially in just the last year,” Cleaver tells SFR. “We have people all of the time that say, ‘We were driving across the country, and one of the reasons we wanted to come to Santa Fe was to come see you.’”
“The way it is right now allows everyone to have that moment,” says Bri Cimino, who runs a Santa Fe horseback riding business with her boyfriend. She says the nearly 8,000 followers she has on Instagram's @palominocimino boost her business. “Someone might be flipping through their feed and see people on a horseback ride in Abiquiu,” Cimino says, “and they might be inclined to reach out, just based on their Instagram feed.”
The budding fine artist had her first show in Los Angeles recently with a group she connected with on Instagram. “One specific artist found me because he was interested in horses," she says. "He paints horses and horseback riders, and when he and his wife visited Santa Fe, he contacted me through Instagram to come out and ride, which led him to discovering that I am pursuing a fine art lifestyle, and they invited me to debut my work at this show.”
Tischler says she is skeptical that the new algorithm will ruin Instagram’s vibe. “It’s not quite the Facebook algorithm where you literally just don’t see all of the posts that everybody does,” she says, “So it does change it, but it doesn’t do away with the work someone is doing.”
Instagram claims the adjustment to your feeds is in your favor, writing in its promotional materials that the change lets you “see the moments you care about first.”
Pro tip: Insiders say you can give this new algorithm the tech finger by turning automatic updates off in the settings of your smartphone. But there's no solid proof this strategy will work for long, if at all.
Follow SFR on Instagram @santafereporter and @SFRAroundTown.