Call them content creators, influencers, or maybe just fellow narcissists with a camera, but whether you like it or not, the people you follow on social media are how you get introduced to things like news, memes, or trends. But in an update scheduled to start rolling out later today, Instagram is trying to change that by letting people follow hashtags for the first time.
Currently, there are two main ways to find photos and videos with a certain hashtag. One way is to search for them under the Explore tab, the other is to click on a hashtag in the body of post in hopes of finding more related content. But with the new update, Instagram will allow people to follow entire communities, instead of just singular entities.
Let’s say for example that you’re a big fan of basketball. Instead of trying to follow all the big stars like Lebron James, Steph Curry, and Russell Westbrook, you could just follow #NBA and then stumble upon silly clips like that one time Delonte West gave a young Gordon Hayward a wet willie. Or maybe you just like cuddly critters, so instead of following an account like @maruhanamogu, you could follow #kitties, #cats, or any other cute animal that sparks your interest.
Anyone who uses Instagram on a regular basis already knows that the more hashtags you add to a photo, the more likes you’ll probably get—that’s why some hashtags are overrun with spam. With the new update, Instagram is essentially trying to surface all of that existing information in a more digestible way. That said, if you’re already having trouble finding enough stuff to look at on Instagram, maybe deeper hooks into social media is the last thing you need.