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.

Big shot robot

Big shot robot

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.

Swallow the leader

Swallow the leader

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.

Rant. Over.