A hard act to swallow
Allow me, if you will, to address the plastic elephant in the room.
I grew up on a steady diet of mathematics as a kid. I like numbers. Numbers don’t lie. Words can be fraudulent. Current. Season. Mine. All these words have multiple meanings. But the number 3 is always the number 3; it’s not 2, it’s not 4, it’s not 3-ish. It’s 3.
That’s the Magic Number
Yes it is
It’s the magic number
De La Soul – The Magic Number
Or so I thought.
The question of numbers came up recently at our #brickstameet in Melbourne. One of the attendees enquired as to my secrets to gaining followers on Instagram. I replied that I was as surprised as anyone at the numbers I had amassed over my five years of posting.
I was then asked about the ‘buying’ followers trend that has recently raised it’s ugly head.
It was interesting that this subject came up. Recently I’ve been tagged in an abundance of posts to gain followers. Apparently, by commenting on a post and tagging other accounts, this will gain you followers? Swipe right. Spam. My posts’ comments have also been spattered with ‘copy/paste’ invitations to visit websites in order to also gain followers? Swipe right. Spam.
Let me premise the subsequent rant by saying that I am truly grateful to everyone that has decided to click the follow button or double-tapped to like any of the posts on my Instagram account. However, the number of followers I have is not what inspires or motivates me to continue doing what I do. Also, the ensuing rant is in no way directed at any particular individual. It is however unswervingly pointed at the ‘followers for hire’ providers and the ‘wanna be famous’ mind-set that propels the demand for such things to exist. And finally, the words that follow are mine, and are not necessarily the opinions of the StuckinPlastic collective.
In the quest for the test to fulfil an achievement
Everybody’s only in it for themselves
Bad Brains – I Against I
It’s hardly surprising that these ‘click to gain followers’ [dis]services exist in today’s ‘social media 15 minutes of fame’ world. I don’t think Bros could’ve predicted this craving for attention when they sang “When Will I Be Famous?” in 1987. I doubt the Goss twins, or the other one, could’ve foreseen this ‘famous at any cost’ scourge, nearly thirty years on.
However, I find it repugnant that these follower [dis]services exist. Look, if gaining followers this way is your bag, fair enough. Good luck to you. Just know that I think you are undermining all the hard work that the trailblazers of Lego photography have done on Instagram. I’m not talking about myself here. I was somewhat late on the Instagram Lego scene. By the time I’d dipped my toe into the Lego photography pool, there was already a strong, thriving community in existence. And it was there because of the tireless slog of those who busted their guts to establish and grow it.
These trailblazers are still around, toiling away to enrich the community.
Yet, every time someone signs up to gain followers, they dwarf all this hard work. Every time an Instagram account with fraudulent follower numbers surpasses one of these Lego torchbearers, it undermines the community’s efforts. Every time one of these accounts overshadows one of these plastic pioneers, a little bit of the Lego Instagram history is forgotten.
I’m not saying our Lego photography foreparents deserve numerological reverence over anyone that succeeds them, not at all. It’s just that these deceitful, purchased follower numbers belittle everything that originally drew us to the Lego Instagram community, and, I hazard a guess, everything the originators of our community had in mind for it.
Compete, compete, do it for the boys
Empty barrels make the most noise
Minor Threat – Small Man, Big Mouth
If the only numbers we have to gauge respect and engagement on Instagram are followers and likes, and your numbers are lies, you are slurring the very community you think you are succeeding in. By gaining numbers through any way other than time, effort, input and peer respect, you are discrediting the community you are trying so hard to gain popularity by numbers in.
If there is no demand for these abhorrent ‘followers for free’ services, they will simply cease to exist.
Zero demand. Zero supply.
You can’t argue with those numbers.
I agree with you, just amazed that someone follows me! I don’t have that many follower but then again I don’t mind. If someone else but me likes what I do, then I’m happy. Have also got loads of “Click here for bla blabla”, could not care less. Thanks for a good post and yes sometimes a good rant can clear your head.
Thanks mate! Yes, my head feels a lot better after that rant. 😀
I totally agree. I’ve been getting these cut and paste replies stating I can get more followers by doing this. I’ve been getting them for quite a while now. I just ignore them. I’d rather have a follower that actually appreciates my photos for what they are. I currently have 491 followers which I find amazing, though I think some of them are bogus and just followed so I would follow back. I only follows those that have work that I appreciate or that are real world friends. To be honest if I had 10 followers I would be happy, but that is not why I do this. I do it because it’s fun and something I like.
I completely agree with you Donald. If my follower and following count were the same, I’d be more than content. I too do it because it’s fun and something that I love! And that is more important than any number.
We live in a strange times. Everybody must have followers, it’s a curse of XXI century. People used to “follow” favourite and unique artists and now? It’s almost all worthless when it comes to numbers.
It’s also an era of “ghost followers”, when someone follows you just to be followed back. What’s the point of it?
I always cringe when someone reminds me to “leave a like and subscribe” or “follow for more content”…Gosh! Everyone wants to be a star but only few remember to focus on what’s really important.
Thank you for sharing this post Brett, I’m glad there are still people who remained normal in this weird, digital world 🙂
Are calling me normal Nilsøn? I can’t recall ever being called that? I couldn’t agree more with what you say. It truly is a shame that numbers seem to overshadow true passion for some. But I take solace in the fact that there are still ‘real’ folks like you other there who see past this and remain normal! 😛
Great post, Brett. I work in social media and this problem is endemic on Instagram, where a large majority of “influencers” have inflated follower counts to “look good”.
I’ve also had clients come to me and ask if it’s okay to buy followers just to make their brand look popular.
It all comes to vanity, instead of being passionate about what you do.
Vanity over passion. Well put Jay!
Great post Brett! I am always amazed at the “girls” looking for men spam messages I get… wow!
While I totally agree with your message, something to keep in mind is some are monetizing their accounts based on those #s, more followers more brands willing to pay. Now, I’m not in that game, but surely some are. I follow accounts who share images I like, I “Like” images based on the content and Sometimes I even comment… not too often but sometimes! Thanks for sharing your “rant”.
Thanks for reading my rant!
Hahaha I know what you mean man