Instagram has added a new follow button on images that you find when you search on a specific hashtag or location. This change has the potential to increase the number of accounts users follow because it removes a few steps. Now if you see an image you like you can instantly follow that account with one click as opposed to before when you had to click on the user profile in order to follow that account.
It’s a smart move but the downside of this change is that the follow button has replaced the time stamp (“Följ” is Follow in Swedish).
The loss of the time stamp is bad for two reasons:
Hashtags on old photos
First of all, searching for images from a location or from different hashtags is a great way to discover new accounts to follow. But some people like to game the system by deleting and adding hashtags to old photos just to get more likes and followers. And since Instagram displays images in reverse chronological order under hashtags, the images with the most recent hashtags are displayed first, even if they are a year old.
Previously you could instantly see if a photo was old, but now you can’t see the difference between an image that was uploaded 1o minutes ago and one that is 10 weeks old. Well, you can, but you have to click on the user profile and scroll through that person’s feed. In the feed, time stamps are still visible.
Photos in Instagram competitions
The second reason is that when brands arrange competitions on Instagram, there are almost always a time frame in which photos need to be uploaded to be eligable for a prize. If an image is uploaded after a certain time and date, it can’t win the competition. Previously you could see that immediately under a competition hashtag in Instagram, but now you can’t. You can still do this on sites like Iconosquare so it’s not a big problem.
The replacement of the time stamp is somewhat of a trade off. It removes a few steps in one place and adds them in another. If Instagram could have kept it and still added the new follow button, that would have been great.