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November 28, 2018

Why you shouldn't use hashtags anymore on Instagram


Since I'm fairly new to Instagram, I had learned that you should use hashtags there. Apparently it helps people to find you. For example, after you post a photo of your dog, you write in the caption #dachshund, and then anyone who wants to find photos of dachshunds can find your photo.

I have a personal account, where I post photos of my dog mostly, and also my garden, and my dumbbells, and I have a "business account", for my hobby, which is collecting old photos of Phoenix, Arizona. And each time I did a post, I would include some hashtags, like #dachshund, or #flowers #fitness or #history, or whatever. And what I discovered is that the robots of Instagram were bugging me. I'll see if I can explain.

Instagram is infested with robots. I mean really, really, infested. They read the hashtags and then try to sell you something. So if you write #dachshund, you'll get robot comments, and even followed by them. They want you to go to their Instagram page and buy their tee-shirts, or doggy treats, or whatever. Some of them just want you to follow them so that can have a lot of followers, which in itself can be turned commercially. The point is that they're not interested in you, or in what you post. They're robots. Yes, it only takes a few seconds to go block them, but it's annoying.

As far as I know, the robots mostly read hashtags. There may be more sophisticated robots on Instagram that don't need a hashtag to bug you, but I know that most are designed to respond to a hashtag. And when I stopped adding hashtags, just a few days ago, I saw a sharp drop in robot activity.

No, you'll never stop the invasion of robots, it's just too easy for computers to do. In computer-geek terms, it's called a "macro" - a short set of instructions to do something when something else triggers it. So a 'bot (robot) macro responds each time someone posts the hashtag #dachshund, and responds by following, and often writing something like "cute dog!". Since it's a computer program, it does it 24/7 and can do it millions of times in the blink of an eye. And that's why people who sell stuff are using robots. I understand.

But I'm not selling anything on Instagram, I'm just sharing. Like so much I do, I do it for fun, to learn, and to enrich my life. Now that I've learned about the robots of Instagram, I'll see if I can make things just a little bit more difficult for them to bug me.

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