Thursday, 27 April 2017

INSTAGRAM, WHAT THE HELL IS UP?


I promise this isn't just an excuse for me to dump my Instagram feed on you - it's actually far from it. Today's post is a controversial subject, but it's definitely a one that's been hot topic over the past few weeks or so. During these few weeks and months, I've seen tweets, vents in group chats and comments online discussing the changes to our beloved and favourite photo sharing app, Instagram.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I depend too much on Instagram - it's an app with a great niche and a one I most enjoy using, posting on and connecting with other people. But lately, I am slowly growing to dislike it and I know others share my pain. 

Instagram itself I feel is growing a lot faster than it predicted, and with over 600 million users as of Jan 2017 - well, according to the infographic below - more and more users keep signing up to be a part of IG. Come to think of it, I don't actually think I know anyone under the age of 25 that doesn't have an account. For business or personal use the opportunity for exposure, marketing and collaborating with people is massive and so important for success nowadays, yet, I feel it can all get a bit out of hand at times.

I thought this would be a good one to discuss/vent to you for a while because it's quite clearly been on the mind of other avid IG users and lovers. I'm talking IG 'bots', app crashing, unwanted updates and that dreaded photo feed order.


BYE, BYE TO THE 'BOTS'
Now, let's get this one out the way because it's quite clearly going to be a long rant. I see and have seen a lot of bloggers, influencers, celebrities and what not enhancing their lives and attempting to climb ladders by 'cheating the system'. Understandably, these people become fame or follow 'hungry' meaning they will go to great lengths to be just like 'so-and-so' or to get as many followers as her or him - like, what has the world come to?

I feel my dislike began due to the capability to so easily buy your 'following' and be a part of the pesky 'bot' crew - yuck. If you hadn't already caught on/if you've been in hiding, Instagram 'bots' or to better put it 'spam bots' have been taking over IG for what seems like forever.

Through these 'bot' services, you can trade a little money for a so-called marketing robot to completely take over your account without the need to do anything yourself. Yet, it goes against everything under IG's terms & conditions and comes with the risk of having your account closed down if caught out. To be perfectly honest, it's pretty obvious when a user has succumb to the 'bot' craze, we all have you sussed out (you are too easy to spot). 

The sad thing is, from a marketing perspective, brands tend to glance solely at your following without the need to delve deeper into the ingenuity of your followers. This meaning that 1. Users that have bought a bunch of followers are unfairly getting offered opportunities that I and so many others work hard to gain - how is that fair? and 2. No one actually bothers to look at their engagement, I mean hello?

Since the successful shut-down of Instagress last week, IG have now reduced the limit on the amount of photos you can like per hour - so, is that a good or a bad thing? For one, it's a plus for beating those 'bots', but for all those overly active IG users it could mean a temporary ban/disable on our accounts from 2-24 hours - not so good if you can't keep off your phone, huh? 



WHAT'S WITH THE CONSTANT CHANGES?
I can't even remember the day I first joined IG, but it's had a great concept since Day 1 that I could hardly fault. I completely get that apps have to stay 'current' and appealing, as well as the best out of its competitors. I do love the introduction of insta stories, but don't you think IG needs to put its foot on the brakes?

From the now old news (and utter turmoil) of it's algorithm shift, I feel as though I hardly see half - if not less - of my followers photos and I don't understand IG's reasoning behind it. I follow them because I want to see their photos, simple. Yes, it's all good and well seeing the 'popular posts', but what about users with smaller followings - our pictures need to get seen too?


I HAVE A SMALL FOLLOWING, SO WHAT?
This kind of ties in with what I said in my previous point. But I feel people can be blind to the fact that a huge following doesn't necessarily mean that that user has high engagement. Tens or hundreds of thousands of followers can be of little importance unless they are all genuine and most importantly engaging with your media. This of course isn't helped by the algorithm and 'bots' craze but hopefully they're both on their way out (fingers crossed).

A good way to track your followings (and to spy on others) is the web service, SocialBlade. I'm not sure on how accurate this is, but by simply by typing in a persons username you can see their social growth data and score for a number of platforms. Annoyingly, I have heard of so many big influencers that have shall we say 'suspicious' statistics on it. This is both gutting and laughable - but what can you do?


IRREGULAR ENGAGEMENT
When I hear the word engagement flung about on Instagram, the word 'inconsistent' comes straight to mind. Unfortunately, due to the new algorithm, likes and comments on posts can drastically vary - but you have no option then to just go with it. If you got 300+ likes on that photo, you need to come to terms with the fact you're probably not going to get that every time.

Much like video 'views' that now appear - which I actually quite like. I could go from 700 views to 150 views on another post - but so what? It doesn't make that post any less better than your previous. It's obviously just showcased on fewer feeds and seen by less people, no biggy. 

Having such a positive attitude towards it is probably easier said than done. I know so many individuals that are left disheartened because of all these changes and rightly so, that's why I feel we are all starting to develop that love-hate relationship with it.


CRASHING & ERRORS
Lastly - and this might just be me. But, since 2017 hit my Instagram has been crashing, logging me out and just recently, displaying refresh errors and not loading. Like hell, everyone went into panic mode but surely something isn't right?

For me, I use and am active on social media for most of the day, for both job and personal. Any change IG makes I usually spot straight away. Considering it is an app that's supposed to have its s*@! together, I seem to see it in the update section of the app store 19482 times in the last month to quote: "Bug fixes and performance improvements". Sure this is probably a regular, standard procedure but, you still keep crashing and logging people out unannounced. Again, this could just be me, but I know others have struggled with getting disconnected to third-party apps they're connected with (liketoknow.it etc).

I've kind of gone off on a tangent of negativity here, but I do love all the pro's that comes with IG and it will always be my favourite platform. I really hope the app's just going through a phase. What's your view?


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