The Intricacies of the Algorithm
It's not uncommon for users to wonder, "Why is my Instagram explore page full of models?" The answer lies in the mysterious yet intriguing world of algorithms that govern Instagram's behavior.
The algorithm is like the backstage crew of your Instagram experience - unseen yet influential. It curates the content you view based on your interactions, shaping your digital universe based on your 'likes,' shares, saves, and comments. Instagram's objective is simple: to provide content it believes you will enjoy and engage with.
The Explore page on Instagram isn't merely a reflection of your explicit actions but rather a blend of your engagement patterns. If you're frequently seeing images of models, it's likely because you've been interacting with similar content, even unintentionally. In other words, if you've liked, commented on, or spent a considerable amount of time viewing posts of models, Instagram takes that as a sign that you want more of it.
Another factor is the domino effect of the algorithm. Once the algorithm identifies a preference, it continues to cater to it until there's a shift in your engagement pattern. It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy — the more you engage with a type of content, the more similar content is shown to you, leading you to engage more, and the cycle continues. This is referred to as 'burstiness' in the context of social media content.
This system, while designed to create a personalized experience, can sometimes lead to an unexpected influx of specific content, such as models. This inundation can be particularly perplexing if your conscious interactions don't align with the content shown. The phenomenon is a testament to the complex nature of algorithms and their ability to pick up on even the most subtle patterns in our digital behavior.
Impact on Perception and Personal Growth
Instagram's algorithm, while providing an efficient, personalized user experience, can also create a distorted perception of reality, especially when it comes to body image and beauty standards. When your Explore page is constantly filled with images of models, it can inadvertently contribute to unrealistic standards and expectations.
Multiple studies have suggested that prolonged exposure to idealized images can lead to body dissatisfaction, negative mood, and even disordered eating. In other words, the algorithm's well-meaning personalization could inadvertently impact your mental health and self-esteem.
The influence is not limited to our self-perception. Our worldview can also be shaped by the content we consume. The homogeneity of content resulting from the algorithm's 'burstiness' can create a bubble that limits our exposure to diverse perspectives and ideas. It narrows down the digital world to what the algorithm perceives as our preferences.
Hence, a key aspect of personal growth is becoming aware of our digital consumption patterns. It requires recognizing the skewed reality that algorithms can create and taking proactive steps to diversify our digital diet. Understanding the inner workings of these algorithms can empower us to use them for our benefit, helping us cultivate a healthier and more diverse social media landscape.
Regaining Control of Your Digital Space
The question then arises: how do we regain control of our Instagram Explore page and ensure a more balanced content diet?
Start by intentionally interacting with a variety of content. If you want to see more nature posts, for instance, spend time searching, liking, and commenting on nature-related content. In time, the algorithm will catch up and start showing more diverse content.
Another tip is to use the 'See Fewer Posts Like This' feature on Instagram. When you come across a post that you'd rather not see, click on the three dots on the post and select 'Not Interested.' Over time, these actions will help teach the algorithm your new preferences.
It's essential to remember that digital spaces are part of our environment, impacting our perceptions, beliefs, and growth. It's crucial to cultivate these spaces as intentionally as our physical environments. By taking control of the Instagram algorithm, we can ensure it works for us rather than against us, creating a more balanced and enriching digital experience.
- Nelson, M. C., & Lowrey, T. M. (2020). The Effect of Instagram “Likes” on Mood and Body Image Concerns in Young Adult Women: Examining the Moderating Role of Extraversion and Appearance-Related Social Comparison. Journal of Happiness Studies.
- Tiggemann, M., Slater, A., Bury, B., Hawkins, K., & Firth, B. (2013). Disclaimer labels on fashion magazine advertisements: Impact on visual attention and relationship with body dissatisfaction. Body Image.
- McHugh, M. L. (2012). The Chi-square test of independence. Biochemia medica: Biochemia medica.