Instagram is an image sharing juggernaut.
And rightly so. Instagram is a great way to share images with friends, family and like minded individuals.
It’s useful for promoting websites, blogs and businesses. But it does have a few issues that I’m about to cover that spoils some of the fun
So today my “Musing” category is momentarily becoming a “Rant” category.
Editing with a Sledge Hammer
A growing blight is slowly and steadily taking over Instagram. Images on Instagram have taken a serious nosedive into editing fantasyland.
Now I’m not suggesting never editing an images. I personally edit my images with Lightroom. Editing can create some unique and interesting images.
I’m not targeting techniques like long exposures to produce those smooth flowing waterfalls. Or messing around with contrasts and colours to create striking visual effects. If that’s what you’re aiming for, then edit your heart out.
This is about images that have been over edited and passed off as reality. I’m sure if you’ve spent any amount of time on Instagram that you would have seen images like these.
“Look at the stunning sunset tonight” is often accompanied by an image with an unnatural, ultra bright, iridescent orange sun. With rays of blazing fire red light. And soft fluffy clouds of bright fluorescent purple.
Is that a sunset? Or are you standing in the heart of the sun? Nature is being ruined by heavy handed editing.
What I dislike about this practice is how deceptive it is. You see a stunning image and you want to go see it for yourself. How disappointed will you be when you arrive and its nothing like the images?
We jump up and down in anger whenever some fashion or celebrity icon gets caught editing images. So why don’t we do the same with everyone else?
I’d like to see a change to keep images more realistic. Editing should be used like a fine tuned instrument to improve an image. Not a sledge hammer to destroy them.
Instagram auto comments
Personally, I love genuine engagement. If you like what you see, leave a comment! Show some appreciation.
It’s great to get a comment from someone who’s enjoyed an image you’ve put time into. Maybe you’ve inspired them to try a new technique or style? Maybe they want to know how you achieved that image? Genuine engagement is one of the better aspects of Instagram.
Sadly, it’s becoming uncommon and auto comments are on the rise. Ughh! Why do people still do this? There is nothing worse than leaving a bad auto comment.
The auto comment either doesn’t make sense or doesn’t match the image, or its a blatant plug to gather more followers or visit their page.
Auto comments stand out like a sore thumb. You know they’ve only commented because it matches a certain hashtag that their auto comment app is looking for. They haven’t visited your feed. Or enjoyed your image. And they certainly don’t appreciate the time or effort you put into it.
I shared an image of 4 fluffy and cute caterpillars hanging out on a leaf. Just a fun image that I enjoyed and wanted to share. I captioned it “just waiting for a mate”.
“Bored? Come travel on our page!”
Yep. Someone left that comment. Doesn’t make sense does it?
Now if Id captioned the image “I’m bored, here’s 4 fluffy caterpillars” it might have made some sense. But I didn’t.
Now what has this comment achieved? The exact opposite of what you wanted. For most people it’s probably ensured that you’ll never ever visit that instagram feed.
Leave a genuine comment. You’ll find most people will visit your feed afterwards. If they enjoy what they see and it lines up with their interests. You’ll get a follow.
Annoying auto inboxes
Second only to auto comments in the annoying category are auto inbox messages.
You find an awesome image, you check out the Instagram feed, you like what they are sharing. so you decide to follow them.
BOOM! You get an inbox message seconds later. Oooh, its from the person you just followed. That’s a bit exciting!
It’s a crummy auto acknowledgement message.
“Hey, thanks for following, we really appreciate it. Check out the latest things we are trying to sell. 10% off if you order now”
If you feel the need to thank everyone who follows you. Then don’t let an app do the dirty work.
Be genuine and send them a thank you message tailored to them. Or don’t do it at all.
Don’t try ram your latest sell down their throats. Whenever I get an auto inbox, the only link I’m clicking is the “Unfollow” link.
The follow and unfollow game
Anyone who has tried to grow their Instagram following for whatever reason has surely encountered this one.
You get the notification that someone has followed you. Great! Someone likes your work.
Naturally, you check out their feed and see what they are all about. Maybe you like what you see and follow them back. Maybe you don’t?
A day later that person has unfollowed you! Yep! They only followed you, so you would follow them back.
Maybe I’m just old fashioned? Out of touch? But I dislike that Instagram has become a popularity contest.
It’s all about suckering someone into following them. It doesn’t even seem to matter if you like their content. Or even if you engage with their content. They just want you to follow them!
I liked Instagram when it was just about following what interested you.
Movie length Instagram stories
Instagram Stories are relatively new on the scene. But already they have become the bane of Instagram.
Now I love people sharing the highlights of whatever their doing. And by highlights, I mean highlights!
No one want a never ending itinerary of your every move. Hours of footage, spread over 20 separate Instagram stories. All mashed up into a never ending stream.
Keep it short, keep it sweet, keep it interesting!
Just give a little taste of what you’re doing and leave me wanting more. Anything’s fine as long as it’s just the highlights. Anything more than a few minutes and you’ve lost me.
It’s a story, not a full length feature movie.
The dreaded shadow ban
Ahh Shadow bans. Instagram has really taken the cake with shadow bans.
They are possibly the most annoying thing on Instagram.
Now if you don’t know what a shadow ban is, it basically when Instagram stops your new images being discovered by anyone who isn’t already following you.
One day you’ll be averaging 200 likes per image. And the next you’ll be getting almost none!
What’s so annoying about shadow bans is you never know you’ve been banned.
Instagram doesn’t tell you that you’ve been banned. Or even why you’ve been banned. You’re just sent to the naughty corner without knowing why? They don’t even tell you how long you’ll be in the naughty corner for!
Now apparently this can be caused by using the same hashtags to often. But when you’re sharing images with a similar subject. you’ll often be using the same hashtag repeatedly. So it’s rather annoying.
There is talk about Instagram doing this on purpose. Trying to force users to spend money on Instagram advertising. But no one seems to know for sure.
Its one feature I would love to see removed. Or at least send a notification when you’ve been banned.