You know all those hashtags you’ve been adding to your Instagram posts in the hope that more people with similar interests will find your content and you’ll turn them into faithful followers? Well, hashtags are about to get a lot better and smarter, at least on Instagram, as the company wants to make content discovery even easier for the user.
The social network will let you follow hashtags going forward, which is a lot better than searching for hashtag content yourself.
Doesn’t that mean that spammers and marketers will try to abuse the system and make their products reach the top of your Explore tab? Oh yes, it totally does. But Instagram is building tools in the app to try to avoid that.
As The Verge explains in a post that has way too many hashtags in it, Instagram hired Matthew Ogle to do the job, who worked at Spotify as the project manager of Discover Weekly.
“Discover Weekly wasn’t about teaching an algorithm to understand and then recommend music. We taught an algorithm to look at what the community was already doing with this building block, the playlist, and to take the best of what the community was doing and extend it in a new direction,” Ogle said. “Hashtags are kind of the same way. You have something that is working organically on the platform, how do we add just enough additional structure so that more people can participate.”
So how does it all work? Well, you get to follow whatever hashtags you desire without having to search for them actively. Your feed will be populated with Instagram content from those hashtags. Every time you find an image or video you think Instagram shouldn’t show it to you, you can downvote the post. And you can heart the ones you like and leave comments to signal your interest in that type of content. That way Instagram will know exactly what you expect from each hashtag and update the feed accordingly.
The following video shows you exactly how hashtag following will work.