Again the photo-bug bit, with unknown consequences, and infected my phone with a rash of pictures.
Not that many years ago, I would have treated the notion that a phone could become not just the most ordinary, everyday amateur camera, but a medium for photo-sharing, with laughter that could have been heard on Saturn! Then, not long before Christmas just gone, came some words which not only silenced that laughter, but replaced it with the oohs and ahhs of wondrous discovery: ‘Mum, you should go on Instagram.’
Now this is where the children of technically inept adults like myself really come in handy – for suggesting the idea in the first place, then fiddling with the phone of their bewildered parent to accommodate said idea.
Then the journey began, and I continued alone, navigating uncharted terminology such as ig (instagram). So what (to put my work head on for a sec) are the policies and procedures re: using instagram correctly and to optimum potential? What’s this hashtag business about? How come some people seem to have accumulated 1,056 followers from only 12 posts, and can get 360 likes for a badly composed picture of someone holding up a pair of shoes?
I try to be a bit careful with the photos I select to post. At first I played about with the inbuilt novelty filters no end, but the more I saw of professional images which had been poked, prodded and tweaked out of all recognition with far superior and sophisticated hardware than I have, the more I now tend to leave mine as natural as possible. There’s certainly a place for enhancement I think, it can improve position, light, colour and clarity, and put a new slant on the image (and there’s no denying certain images do look better in monochrome) – but I try to keep my images as uncomplicated as possible.
So, I built up my profile and very slowly gained some followers, all the time wondering who were the mysterious folk behind icons of Fit Bird or Ripped Bloke who called themselves names like ‘Getlikesnow’ or ‘igfoll0wsb00st’, types that rarely like anything I post, but seem to miraculously send two comments within the first seconds of my post appearing, enquiring if I ‘Want more followers?’ or to ‘Check my page.’ A friend told me that they’re angling for cash to bombard you with likes and fictitious followers. Maybe that’s what happened to the instagram user who wangled 360 likes for his shoes picture.
Me being me, I decided to reply to one such. ‘Popularity is not my motivation,’ I tapped in. ‘Taking pictures is. Instagram should not be a popularity contest. I will not be checking your page!’
Fat lot of good it did me. The things are probably automated anyway.
If there is protocol, and a right or wrong way of being an instagram user, I don’t know, so I continue to post pictures which get a few likes, gain a few followers, lose a few followers, like other people’s work and sometimes let fly an appreciative comment. There are heaps and heaps of talented photographers out there, and gazillions of amazing and astounding images to blow my little efforts out of the water. Never mind. I’m no further to understanding what I’m doing or how to really promote my bits of stuff…but I’ll tell you this, I’m proper enjoying doing it!
All above images are my own, completely natural and posted on instagram within the last two weeks.