Sometimes, you don't want to keep up with individual people on Instagram as you do a trending topic -- say, the latest in tech (we're slightly biased here) or a big protest. That currently involves laborious searches for hashtags, but it might become relatively trivial soon. Users have discovered that Instagram is testing an option to follow hashtags, not just people. While this only includes popular and recent posts (it could easily become overwhelming if you got all of them), it could easily give you a sense of what's hot and suggest new people to follow.
Instagram declined to say more when asked about the test by The Next Web, so it's unclear just how many people have access to the test or how likely it is that you'll see the feature become a mainstay. The social network frequently tests features that aren't guaranteed to hit the mainstream.
However, this is one addition we could see taking off. Instagram has been growing rapidly, but keeping that user base may be difficult when newcomers are likely to see a quiet photo feed or just won't know who to follow. The option to follow hashtags could help them get the ball rolling. And of course, it could help just about anyone who's looking for a reason to keep coming back regardless of how active their friends may be.