This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

October 7, 2016

The robots of Instagram

Instagram is a lot of fun. It's an app that you use on your Smart Phone to post photos. Nothing elaborate, just fun. The app is designed to discourage getting elaborate, as it prevents hyperlinks, and because most people are looking at it on their phones, and minimizes the space for captions. Large-format, highly-detailed images are kind of a waste there, so it's a place for snapshots, like back in the day when people had "Instamatic" cameras.

A lot of people use it because of that. It's eye candy, it's easy, and fun. It doesn't require a lot of reading, it doesn't require a lot of commenting. In fact, it you never comment, that's fine. Clicking the "heart" button is the same as clicking the "Like" button on Facebook, it shows people that you've seen what they've posted.

And then there are the robots. Now don't get worried, they don't do much. They're set up by people who want to attract lots of followers, and they look for particular hashtags and automatically "heart" a post, or maybe even make a short comment like "How cool!" The idea being, of course, that when you see their "heart" or comment, you'll go over to their page, look at their stuff, and maybe follow them.

If you're new to Instagram, you'll see the robots (technically, they're called 'bots) and their phantom comments. Since they're set up to write comments automatically, some of them can seem kinda strange, like "Looks great!" when you've posted a photo of your broken arm. Makes you wanna go, "huh?" Well, they're 'bots.

The reason that some people want a lot of followers is so that they can attract the attention of companies that want to sell stuff. It works like this - if a company sees that an Instagram account has thousands of followers of, for example, dachshund owners, they can pay the Instagram account person to throw in a post every once in a while promoting their doggy treats for dachshunds - dachshunds love 'em! In the competitive world of advertising, especially internet advertising, which a lot of people block, this can be very effective advertising.

So you can safely ignore the what the 'bots are saying to you on Instagram. They can't see your posts, anyway, they're just robots.

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