Social Media

# Instagram Chief Says Follower Counts Are Not a Good Indicator of Account Worth

Instagram Chief Says Follower Counts Are Not a Good Indicator of Account Worth

Right here’s a query. Right this moment, Instagram/Threads chief Adam Mosseri posted this:

Okay, all good, that is smart, as engagement is extra necessary than follower counts, which could be gamed, cheated, and so on.

However that being the case, why show follower accounts so prominently in each of your individual apps?

Like, you’re the one in cost, buddy, why are you making these metrics a spotlight, by making them so “distinguished and simple to search out”?

You’ll be able to change it if you need.

Over time, this has repeatedly been recognized as a possible difficulty for social media apps, as they study the incentives that drive damaging behaviors and experiences.

Former Twitter chief Jack Dorsey, for instance, famous again in 2018 that by emphasizing follower counts, that then drives people to publish extra polarizing content material, as that then boosts their publicity potential, and helps them achieve extra followers. And the apps themselves are inadvertently incentivizing this.

As per Dorsey:

“[We initially] made the [followers] font dimension a bit of bit larger than the whole lot else on the web page. We didn’t actually assume a lot about it, and we moved on to the subsequent downside to resolve. What that has performed is we put all of the emphasis, not aspiring to, on that variety of how many individuals comply with me. So if that quantity is large and daring, what do folks wish to do with it? They wish to make it go up.”

Twitter sought to handle this by… making the follower rely font barely smaller.

Which, as you may in all probability guess, was not a very efficient method.

Instagram, too, has made strikes to redirect consumer incentives, by hiding like counts on posts, as a way to “depressurize Instagram for younger folks”, in accordance with Mosseri himself.

So Mosseri, and Meta, are well-versed within the potential harms and damaging behaviors that focus metrics can drive.

But, when designing Threads, what bought prime placement?

Threads App

I imply, you possibly can argue that Threads has made the font right here lighter, which reduces its presence barely. However once more, if Mosseri believes that follower counts will not be a terrific indicator of worth, and engagement per publish is extra related, why not listing that as an alternative? Why not show a mean likes/feedback per posts ratio or one thing as a substitute?

You are able to do this, Mosseri. No person else can. So why are you telling us?

That is the newest of Mosseri’s varied stances on social platform engagement which appear to contradict the norm, but proceed to be applied in his personal apps.

Again in January, Mosseri stated that issues like Trending Subjects gained’t be overly useful for the app, a minimum of to not the diploma that many count on.

As per Mosseri:

My sincere take is that requested options like lists, an edit button, a following feed, trending, and hashtags are all good to construct, however none noticeably develop Threads or Threads utilization. We’ll proceed to construct them as a result of it’s good to construct options that your most engaged customers are enthusiastic about, but it surely’s exhausting to prioritize them when the measurable influence is negligible.”

But, Threads has applied, or is constructing (as Mosseri notes) variations of all of those.

So why? If Mosseri is aware of that these will not be extremely useful, and he has different approaches, and it’s price noting right here that Adam Mosseri has been main engagement tasks at Fb and Instagram for a few years, so he in all probability would know what works.

If he desires to take a unique method, why doesn’t he? Why inform us tips on how to use the app, in variance to its UI, when you have a greater possibility?

And there might be worth in a unique method, differently of taking a look at issues. Perhaps eradicating follower counts and follower lists would assist to scale back the emphasis on this factor. You may have a possibility in Threads to vary this paradigm, why not strive it out?

It simply looks as if an odd stance to take, if you’re the one making the calls on such.

I do assume that there might be advantage to creating such adjustments, as a way to see if/how they influence utilization behaviors. But it surely’s all educational until somebody takes the leap and tries it in follow.

And the individual in control of an evolving social platform is the one elevating it. Looks like an excellent time to check.

Andrew Hutchinson
Content material and Social Media Supervisor


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