Social media experts claim that it is both an art and a science.
Or is it really?
For Instagram, it might be more interesting alchemy than the above dichotomy presents us.
And it might include a healthy dose of cheating to get ahead.
At least that’s the claim behind a new documentary that shows the various ways users “cheat” at the world’s most popular photography social media platform to gain followers and clout.
The documentary was made by the public television station VPRO from the Netherlands who examines the ways that users grow, monetize, and continue to push the limits of Instagram’s rules to make a living or just collect likes.
FStoppers quotes photographer Sara Melotti when she explains the power of the metrics on Instagram.
“[Instagram] became a number game. Numbers are gods today, meaning the number on your social media — the number of followers, the number of likes — unfortunately, determines whether you get work or not as a creative freelancer,” she said per FStoppers’ report.
Of course, none of this is anything new to people who work in and with social media, but how widespread the phenomenon of bots and fake followers etc. is pretty damning stuff from an advertising standpoint.
Advertisers aren’t trying to appeal to computers, after all.
Yet it also highlights a really modern phenomenon in a society where some kind of worth – whether self-worth or even artistic merit – is somehow attached to nonsense engagement metrics.
If you’d like to watch the documentary you can do so on….Instagram itself.
VPRO released the following statement attached to the Instagram post with the video.
“The first documentary about Instagram released on Instagram, #followme, is now launched to audiences worldwide by Dutch public broadcaster and producer of the project VPRO. From bots, comments-on-demand and fake accounts to ‘boost boys’: in #followme documentary filmmaker Nicolaas Veul @nicolaas_veul dives into the lawless economics of Instagram, exposing a shocking world behind the medium that currently holds 1 billion active users.”
You can watch it by clicking here.
Do you use Instagram? Have you purchased followers or done anything of the sort? What do you think of this practice? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.