Instagram Algorithm Changes

This post has been on my on my to-do list for an age and is going to be the first of a short series of posts relating to Instagram. Instagram like all Social Media Platforms keeps changing its algorithms, for users of the platform, keeping up with these changes can be tricky. Instagram wants to encourage human interaction on their platform and they also want to remove as many of the bots and spam as possible, so they have made changes that mean it is more difficult to get engagement on the site. I appreciate what it is they are attempting to do, but, it does require more effort to get people to see your feed than it did previously.

The present algorithm settings mean that when you publish a post, only the most active 10% of your audience will see your post if you get enough early engagement, Instagram will release your post to the remaining 90% of your followers. When they refer to engagement, Instagram means comments of a minimum four words in length and they do not mean someone liking your post. Any account that uses emoticons only or less than four words may be treated as a bot, and the suspected bot account could be shadow banned. Should someone leave a comment on one of your posts, you have to reply within an hour or Instagram could decrease your visibility to other users.

The same loss of visibility could result from a lack of engagement with your posts.  One of the main methods people used to use to get as many views as possible was to use up to thirty hashtags, Instagram have also changed the rules in relation to hashtags too, now, they want you to use no more than five relevant and focused hashtags, but, you cannot use the same ones all the time, as, yes, you guessed, it could lead to been shadow banned or to decreased visibility on the platform. This is the trickiest part for me, as I have three Instagram accounts, one of which is a specific topic, which makes trying to find unrepetitive hashtags for it a little problematic. Any more than five hashtags could lead to your account being marked as spam, which we do not want to happen. I have tried only using five hashtags and the numbers of people looking at my feed plummeted but rose again when I reverted to more hashtags so I may ignore this suggestion for a little longer. Speaking of Hashtags, only add them as you are preparing to post, and do not post them later in the comment section, as they will get ignored and will, therefore, be of no use whatsoever to you.

Instagram want people to use Stories more, by doing so you will enjoy increased visibility on the platform, as you have proven that you are an engaged human and not a bot. If you realise that you need to edit a post after you have posted it, it is best to just delete it and repost it as editing posts will lead to less visibility.  Instagram is using the threats of decreased visibility and shadow banning in an effort to increase organic growth and to remove as many bots and spam accounts as they can, as these accounts have proliferated on the platform in recent times. You are not meant to use comment pods anymore, as Instagram knows about them and does not like them, and the use of these pods could lead your account to be shadow banned. Adding a description of your post will help to get people to see your feed, as will promptly replying to peoples comments on your post. Other things that will assist you are, consistent posting, using stories, and engaging in the community.
In case you did not know, Shadow banning means that your account looks perfectly normal and acts as it always has done, apart from the fact that Instagram has blocked your content from the community, and you don’t know it. The only way you find out is when you see a drop in peoples engagement with your feed. As I said at the start, I understand why the network needs to do this, but, trying to work around it, is a bit of a nuisance.

My Instagram feeds can be found at and


Snowmagedden 2018

We recently had a weather event that led to the heaviest snowfall anyone I know can remember, this was caused by two weather fronts meeting, these were the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm ‘Emma’. The photos below are some that I took in my area.


Open Training Session

I attended the Irish Rugby Open Training Session at the Aviva this week, I go to as many of these events as I can as I am a huge Rugby fan, sadly the open training sessions for Ireland only happen once a year. This year there were separate events, one was held in Dublin and, a couple of weeks ago, one in Athlone. It was snowing on this occasion, which is unusual. It is always interesting and enjoyable watching how the team train. I am trying to improve my sports photography skills.

Altamont Gardens

Altamont Gardens is located in Tullow, Co. Carlow, it has one of the largest collections of Snowdrops in Ireland. A group of members from Offshoot Photographic Society visited in mid-February in order to take photos of the Snowdrops as well as other signs of Spring. This was my first visit to Altamont Gardens, I found the gardens impressive and look forward to returning later in the year. The photos of trees below are reflections of trees on the lake. These Gardens are situated on the banks of the River Slaney and are considered both a jewel of Irish gardens as well as being one of the most romantic. The history of Altamont goes back as far as the 16th century. I have included links to both the club and the gardens.

Mount Usher 2014
Mount Usher Trees
Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers

A friend of mine and I went to Russborough House today to take some photos of Snowdrops, I have attached some of mine below. I love the fact that Winter is receding away for the arrival of Spring. Russborough is a great place to visit, if you want to know more, I have included the website for your information, as well as links to previous posts about the Russborough House.

Russborough House & Gardens
Russborough House
National Bird of Prey Centre
National Bird of Prey Centre

January 2018 Review

January was a quiet month for me photography wise, so these are three photos that reflect what I shot. I like the lady in the cinema covering her face, I can’t decide if she is laughing or sneezing, she is talking to someone, so I hope she was laughing. The body language and expressions of the Quidditch players reflect how they felt having just lost the opportunity to move to the next level and play in a Tournament in Germany. As for the Motocross rider, I like the juxtaposition of his reflective and mostly shiny googles versus all the mud that he is covered in. Today is the first day of Spring according to the Celtic calendar, so I look forward to seeing my flowers blooming soon.