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    • The facebook post had me thinking. I gave up on FB for a few reasons and I love photography so instagram was a good fit. The platform has it's draw backs but for the most part I find it more direct than FB and a bit more personal depending on the type of application use.
      I have 2 accounts, 1 is personal and private for family and friends, the other is my more artistic work in black and white. This account I do not follow anyone, I wanted to see if my pictures could speak for themselves and not be a traded commodity. I started not liking other images but started to send direct messages on images or accounts that I found appealing.
      That morphed into looking at every page that liked a photo of mine and either direct messaging or liking images I thought were interesting and well executed. So I fell into the trap a little.
      I block all insta-followers and bulk add type accounts.
      I see quite a few accounts that do not use hashtags yet have lots of followers and likes, wish I knew more on the algorithm, the hashtag thing deserves it own post. Sometimes the tags are ludicrous and have nothing to do with the image.

      p.s when do we get spell check? this took forever to write!! ;-)
      p.p.s blackmirror had a great episode on the like for a like, social ladder.

    • Slightly off topic the picture is from my IG and was the stinger of a yellow jacket that stung my son, so we froze it and it now resides in a small glass cylinder. macro olloclip on my iphone. :D

    • I've learned that comparing one Instagram page to another is never going to be apples to apples. So many pages have fake or mass follower type accounts. Many have real engaged users, I have no idea how to really tell the difference. Even sites like HypeAuditor get it wrong.

      There's millions of fake bots / accounts on IG. This New York Times article about the follower factory is accurate and should have included Instagram as well. In fact they don't mention Instagram once in the entire article.

      I once bought an Instagram page with 250,000+ followers for fun. I assumed it was mostly BS but I just wanted to see for myself. It was. The page went from 5K - 15K likes per post to 800 or so the when I posted. They were buying followers and then propping up the stats with paid likes. Right after I took control of the account the seller told me to message his friend on FB to buy likes for $3 / day. lol.

      I do probably have about 20,000 real followers in India and the Middle East.

      For real organic followers, being authentic and using hashtags definitely help. Getting into the feed on the search page is probably how you win these days which requires real engagement... from real users. There's no shortcut, great content wins in the end.

    • Fascinating how IG works. There’s one account that follows me but in a strange way. I post, it likes, follows, then unfollows. Every time.

      I also notice other accounts follow and unfollow if you don’t follow back.

      What about tools to manipulate activity? Idk if i ”trust” IG for much. It seems manipulation is a big part of how IG works.

    • I agree, it is like a contract of social reciprocation. Don't "follow" the rules and it is rescinded. Many comments of like for a like, or follow/follow, paid followers. I am not sure if IG cares that is going on, counterfeit currency.

    • Unfortunately the follow / unfollow method is popular and effective for anyone using bots on their account to grow it. Basically you can setup a bot that targets followers of certain accounts or hashtags and follows them. I've been told the follow back rate can be 10% - 25%+ so if you follow 500 new people a day you'd add about ~100 new followers per day. You can only follow 7,500 accounts on IG so the other side of that coin is the bots will unfollow at the same rate.

      IG has a limit of actions per hour I forget what it is something like 500 - 1000 per hour. They also know that you can't be a human and doing it for 24 hours a day so the bots have been designed to somewhat appear "human like".

      If I had to rationalize that strategy I might say it's a form of advertising or marketing the account but it's insincere. I doubt this method will work much longer as users notice it now. And it's annoying.

      More then anything I hate the automated comments people leave.