We’ve known for a while that they are going to start slowly introducing an algorithm to your feed (translation: Showing you more of what it thinks you’ll like and less of the rest). And this week, another major step has been taken in that direction.

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That’s right, notifications have just been released to Instagram.

This chef/cheeseburger bit of magic aside – it hasn’t made for a good day in branded content. Instead of creating good stuff that people care about, far too many accounts are resorting to cheesy calls to action that offer followers no value.

What the update means is that you can now get a push message to your phone every time an account that you’re particularly in Like with publishes a post.

Of course, the only people more excited about this than jealous exes, are brands who seem to believe that we love them so much that we want our phone to buzz every time they post another square gem to the internet.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Some people love brands, and that really is the goal of all great marketing: to develop that type of deep relationship with the community. The way that it’s manifest itself today, however, is a feed filled with posts from otherwise self-respecting companies who are coming off attention-hungry teenagers.

My advice: If people choose to smash your notifications button, then that’s a great thing, and all of these other accounts are doing the hard work for us.

The toughest part of any new feature is educating users on how to use them. I think that it’s safe to say, that’s been done.

Now, all that we have to do is be so awesome that people don’t want to live without our content.

If we must ask people to give us their notification-approval, then I recommend taking cues from YouTubers and adding the call to action to the end of a video, or putting it in the captions.

Similar to our favourite YouTubers, however, we wouldn’t create an entire piece of content dedicated to shouting at people to click Subscribe.

If you’ve been reading my stuff for a while, I’m sure that this will come as no surprise because it’s been a recurring theme, my advice when the technology changes is this:

Tell a compelling story that’s worth sharing, and you’ll survive or adapt to any change that comes out.

Fortunately, there’s more insta-news, and goodness happening in the world

The top 3 things on the internet this week

1. Instagram adds features to desktop

You can now get notifications from inside your browser.

This is a strong move towards a more desktop-friendly Instagram. Remember when you couldn’t even view feeds from your computer? Desktop publishing can’t be far behind.

2. Microsoft’s robot goes rogue

Their latest project, known as Tay, used AI to learn how to interact with people on Twitter. Within a matter of minutes, the internet had corrupted her to the point that she had to be shut down.

Moral of the story? Never, ever automate anything that can be influenced by the internet. You’d think that we would have learned from the Canadiens’ and the Patriots’ epic fails.

3. VR Is totally a big thing. For real this time.
The long-awaited Occulus Rift has finally launched, and it may mean that all of your fantasy-worlds are about to come true. But probably not.

Spoiler: It’s probably not time to designate a VR room in your house yet.

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Thanks for reading Week 11 of the Social Brief. Have more offensive bot-related material? By all means shout it out in public: @Conner_G, or @JunctionYVR or just hit Reply to this email.

Briefed while trying to figure out how to cheer up Sad Affleck.

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