On social networks, a hashtag makes it quick and easy to find something you want to find. And now Instagram is letting you find them much easier in your main feed.
Today, The Verge has an in-depth look at one of Instagram’s newest features: The ability to follow hashtags in your main feed. To make it work, Instagram is using algorithms to “pick and choose some of the highlights” based on a hashtag that a specific user wants to follow. After following it, you should start to see that content pop up in your main feed.
That means you’ll start seeing that content mixed in with your regular feed and who you follow. If you follow something like #Boston because you want to see images from the city, Instagram’s algorithms will start throwing in the top posts that include that hashtag. To follow something, you’ll just need to search for what you want to follow and click on the “follow” button.
The algorithms will also learn what you actually want to see based on that hashtag. You can comment and like photos, and the more you do the better the service will understand what you want to see. This does mean you’ll start seeing some random accounts in your feed, though, so be aware of that.
“By contrast, the posts injected into my main feed based on the hashtags I chose to follow (#modernart, #bjj, #ancient) felt carefully curated. There is a lot of variety, even within those categories, but you can train the algorithm on what you do and don’t like. Engage with the post by leaving a heart or a comment, and Instagram will assume you want more. Click the menu button on the top right of the post, and you can downvote the offending image by asking Instagram not to show you similar content for that hashtag again. After a few days of this, the art in my feed, both martial and modern, felt fine-tuned to my taste.”
Instagram is rolling out this feature right now to all users, so you should be able to start following hashtags in your main feed beginning today.