The image-sharing social media network Instagram has begun sending unsolicited emails to its users in a bid to re-engage those who have drifted away. These emails contain a selection of updates from their friend’s posts, showing them what they have missed while they were away. Like Twitter, Instagram posts show up in reverse-chronological order. While this display method is useful for keeping news feeds fresh and relevant, it does mean that users can easily miss out on interesting content due to the constant updating, especially if they are not visiting the app frequently.
The new email updates have been designed to offer a curated experience, giving users the ability to see only the most popular content from the network. Although these updates are still in the early stages, Instagram are claiming that this will be the only time they will send promotional or engagement emails to their users. Their parent company, Facebook, do use email notifications to let their users know about new activity, but this option can be turned off in the user settings.
Instagram’s new feature is similar to Twitter’s recently launched ‘while you were away’ tool, which is designed to place older but more popular tweets in the limelight. Popular tweets are placed at the top of news feeds allowing users to see the latest trends. However, unlike Instagram’s emails, all of these social networks have the option to turn off subscriptions from their settings. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the future and if Instagram will allow users to turn off their subscriptions.