How Instagram Followings and Followers List is Ordered

With such a widespread population of the world using Instagram today, there are bound to be doubts about some features of the platform among Instagrammers. Some users feel confused about how archiving posts work, others are struggling to create reels, and yet others are exploring how highlights work. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The more questions we have, the more answers we can find, right? But if there’s one confusion that a majority of Instagrammers share, it’s about the order of the Following and Followers lists of the platform. From as long as this platform has been around, its list-ordering has been a mystery to all users trying to find a pattern in them.

instagram followings and followers list is ordered

For a long time, it was believed that these lists were arranged randomly, an explanation that didn’t sit well with the users. If you’re one of these curious Instagrammers who has always wondered about the arrangement of these lists, your curiosity will be fulfilled by the end of this blog. Let’s get started!

Your Following list on Instagram

First things first, let’s explore Instagram’s Following list and see how the platform orders it. As many of you must already know, the Following list on Instagram displays the names of users that you follow and interact with.

Now, let’s explore how this list is arranged!

Categories available on your Following list:

To make it more convenient for you, we’ll talk about each section in the order it is placed on this list. When you open your Following list, the first thing you see is a search bar on top, right below which is the Categories section.

The job of this section is to divide the accounts you follow into three narrower categories, which makes it easier for you to take bulk actions on them if needed. Below, we’ve mentioned all three of these categories. Let’s see what they talk about!

Least Interacted With

This is the first category on the list and contains the names of accounts you follow but have had very little (often none) Interaction with on the platform. If you follow any public figure or celebrity, their names are most likely to show up on this list.

instagram followings and followers list is ordered

Most Shown in Feed

The second category on this list displays the names of the accounts you follow on the platform that is most active and upload content most consistently, which is why they show up on your feed most often.

Hashtags, Creators and Businesses

Lastly, in the third category, you’ll find the names of any hashtag you follow, in addition to the creators and businesses you follow on the platform.

An important thing you must keep in mind is that it’s not necessary for a particular account to show up in only one list; you might find some accounts added to multiple lists as well.

instagram followings and followers list is ordered

Sorting options available to you:

Now that we’ve figured the Categories out, let’s move further down to the main Following list and see how it’s ordered.

The default setting of this list, which most people claim to be randomly ordered, is indeed set in a pattern that is not easy to comprehend. However, we do have some observations about the factors that influence the algorithm of the list. We’ll get into it in the next section, but for now, let’s explore the sorting options available to you.

Other than Default, you have two separate sorting options you can use. Read about them below:

Date followed: Latest

The first sorting option, this setting arranges your Following list in reverse chronological order, wherein the accounts that you have followed most recently will show up first, and are followed by those that you’ve been following for a long time.

Date followed: Earliest

This option is the opposite of the last one, wherein the accounts you follow are listed in chronological order, with the oldest accounts placed first and the most recent ones at the bottom.

instagram followings and followers list is ordered

Factors that play a role in the algorithm Following list:

Coming back to the factors that influence the algorithm of your Following list, they’re listed below:

Mutual Interaction on the platform:

In the Default setting of your Following list, you’d have noticed that the accounts with whom you interact the most are always placed on top. This interaction could be in any form, be it calls or DMs, tags and mentions in posts, stories, and comments, or meme-sharing.

The more you interact with users, the higher place they’re going to find on your list.

Mutual followers:

Another factor that influences the order of this list is mutual followers. From the point-of-view of Instagram’s algorithm, the higher the number of mutual followers you have with someone, the higher the chances of you knowing them in the offline world are.

And compared to someone you just know on Instagram, you’re bound to be closer to people who are your friends in real life as well, right? We don’t know about you, but this order makes a lot of sense to us.

instagram followings and followers list is ordered

Your Followerslist on Instagram

As every avid Instagrammer might know, when it comes to ordering, the Followers list is the easy one. This list contains the names of all accounts that follow you on the platform and have access to the content you upload here.

And how is this Followers list ordered? Alphabetically. But why doesn’t it seem that way to the users?

Here’s why:

Although the list is indeed ordered alphabetically, it doesn’t use the first letter of people’s Instagram username but rather the first letter of the name they’ve added in their bio. Also, if some of your followers have chosen not to add any name in their bio or have begun with a character (an exclamation mark, semicolon, and so on) instead, their names will come up first.

Keeping these factors in mind, open your list once again and tell us if we were wrong.

The bottom line

With this, we’ve come to the bottom of our blog. Our topic of discussion today was the order in which your Following and Followers list is arranged on Instagram. We learned that while understanding the arrangement of the Followers list is quite straightforward, that of the Following list is quite complicated.

But you needn’t worry; we’ve explained it to the best of our abilities above and are certain that it’ll clarify all your doubts and queries. Is there anything about Instagram that you have trouble understanding? Feel free to tell us in the comments section below, and we’ll resolve it soon.

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