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Instagram’s new Explore tab is a wonderful reminder that these sections are basically dumpster fires

Published Jun 26th, 2018 3:43PM EDT
Instagram Explore update

Instagram is breathing new life into a section of its app that too often is a chaotic mess of content in other social media apps’ versions of the same thing.

As part of a slew of changes and new features that have started rolling out to its app, the Instagram app will now have a new version of its “Explore” tab organized by topics, making this tab a bit more personalized than the halfway-personal, halfway-random melange of content that’s there now. A “For You” Instagram channel that’s keyed into your interests is also part of this rollout, along with channels for things like art and travel.

Making more sense out of all that content that’s out there that I might want to see, and then going a step beyond to organize it, seems useful. As it stands now, when I open my “Explore” tab, I see lots of Beatles-related posts. I’m a massive Beatles fan, so that’s good. Meanwhile, there are also too many other random posts, featuring everything from memes to animals, screenshots of tweets, and those ubiquitous shots from beauty gurus. I am not beautiful, so that’s not good.

“Topic channels on Explore give you new ways to discover your interests on Instagram,” reads a company blog post published today. “Over 200 million people visit Explore every day to discover new ideas and find inspiration. Now it’s even easier to browse through posts you want to see and accounts you want to follow.”

It’s a great idea. Be honest — when is the last time you found something useful in, say, YouTube’s rough equivalent of the same thing? Let’s head over to the trending section there now. Some game highlights I don’t care about it, a smattering of video game vloggers, something with Jaden Smith, Paul McCartney on Carpool Karaoke (good but already seen it). Nope, nope, nope and – ok I’ll give you that one.

Facebook will occasionally pull into my News Feed posts that are popular across the network. Sometimes they’re funny. Sometimes they’re cats. Let’s check out Twitter Moments. Let’s see — something about Little House on the Prairie, the Jimmy Fallon-Trump hair thing, Sarah Sanders targeting a Canadian restaurant. Where is Simon Cowell when you need him? It’s a no from me.

Here’s hoping that channels like these get better at figuring out how to help my waste my time looking at content that doesn’t so bore me it makes me want to put the app down and actually, well, get on with my day.

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Andy Meek Trending News Reporter

Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.