In a move to adapt to user preferences and maintain relevance, Instagram has launched its latest feature, "Flipside,” providing users with an alternative profile option offering a private and personalized space for sharing content, similar to what “Finsta” already is.
A few months ago, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, confirmed that a new feature called Flipside was being tested by the company. Instagram has now rolled it out to a small batch of users for live testing. Flipside's introduction aligns with a broader trend observed across social media platforms—the shift towards more private sharing, with users inclined to maintain smaller, more intimate engagement communities rather than posting to their public feeds.
On Flipside, users have the option to create a distinct list of friends separate from their "close friends" list. This secondary grid is visible only to the selected followers, providing a more exclusive and intimate sharing space. Users can then explore their Flipside as an alternative profile gallery, providing an additional layer of customization by allowing the addition of a new profile name and picture.
Instagram acknowledges the redundancy of Flipside, given existing features like sharing grid posts with "close friends" and audience lists for Stories. Mosseri expressed mixed feelings about Flipside, noting that while it feels good to create a clear and private space, it adds yet another way to reach a smaller audience on top of secondary accounts and close friends. Early reactions from users have been mixed, with some expressing enthusiasm for the update while others questioning the need for another social media profile. Flipside aligns with Instagram's broader strategy of leaning into more private sharing options. Instagram has observed a significant shift in user behaviour, with a decrease in main feed posting and a rise in activity on stories and direct messages.
Instagram's response to changing user behaviour includes features like inbox notes, collaborative collections, and DM channels, all aimed at encouraging private interactions. Flipside is positioned as another iteration of these efforts, expanding on past experiments to enable multi-profile management. This allows users to maintain different personas within the app. Instagram’s Flipside update is seen as an attempt to retain a younger audience, as at the moment they prefer platforms like TikTok and Snapchat. Notes, another recent addition, has proven popular among teens, and Flipside is expected to contribute to facilitating more engagement among this demographic. Flipside allows users to personalize their alternative profile space by adding a new profile name and picture. This customization feature enhances the overall user experience, providing individuals with the ability to curate their online presence in a way that resonates with their preferences.
Despite the live testing phase, Instagram remains cautious about the potential public launch of Flipside. Mosseri emphasized that the decision to launch it on Instagram is uncertain and will depend on user feedback during the testing period. As of now, Flipside is not available to all users in all regions, making it an exclusive feature for a select group. Instagram's evolution from a primarily public feed-centric platform to one that accommodates private and personalized sharing spaces reflects a broader industry trend. While encouraging increased engagement is a goal, it also aligns with the platform's need to address challenges related to advertising revenue, given the shift in user posting behaviour.
Flipside is a bold move to redefine Instagram user engagement. As user feedback accumulates during testing, Flipside's future is uncertain. However, its ability to adapt to user preferences, especially in the context of a growing trend toward private sharing, makes it a notable addition to Instagram's features. Whether Flipside becomes a staple in the Instagram experience or a temporary experiment, its impact on the platform and user interaction is worth tracking in the coming months.