Yup. That's my phone with my Instagram pulled up. #shamelessplug #neededaprop
So. I did it. Despite my previous hemming and hawing, I went and tried an Instagram bot. For a grand total of 12 hours.
Instagram and social media are, as they say, a game. With the objective being to get your work in front of as many people as possible. As a new blogger, of course I want to win or at least do well in this game. Who doesn't, right?!
So I decided to buck my moral reservations and give the 'ol bot a try. Everyone else is doing it, right?
How did it go, you ask?
Welp. I kind of hated it. Like a lot. And I am going to tell you why. Because I am a blogger and by nature I like to broadcast my unsolicited opinion on things to the world.
So, without further ado:
Why I Stopped Using and Will Not Continue to Use Instagram Bots:
1. First and foremost, there is the most obvious reason: Instagram is cracking down on automated feed management. I will pass on the (shadow) ban hammer, thanks!
2. My bot followed a TON of random people, some of which were not particularly relevant or (sorry!) interesting to my account (we are talking random men and teens). This led to two things that I found mildly uncomfortable or inconvenient:
- Once I made the decision to break up with my automated friend, I had to spend about an hour weeding through my "following" list to determine which accounts were relevant and which weren't. This created quite a bit of extra work. Isn't the point of a bot to create less work?
- I felt like the follow-unfollow asshole I have come to hate so much. And I see no point in doing anything that makes me hate myself on purpose. (I say "on purpose" because the few too many glasses of wine I may consume on a Friday night are definitely, almost always an accident).
3. Isn't the whole point of social media to be social?? That's not a rhetorical question. The answer is yes, yes it is. Now, I know that it is also a game, which, fine. But what about the relationships you can build through these networks? What about genuine interaction? I feel like the general consensus in the blogging/whatever community is that bots are a necessary, annoying evil to even have your work be seen. But why? Isn't this supposed to be fun?
I, for one, feel like social media and blogging should be a fun process. A process of finding new and interesting people to follow all while growing one's own brand. Perhaps that is not how everyone views this industry, but it is my view. For me, the creative joy in blogging comes from interacting and collaborating with others. Which is why I always strive to reply to each and every comment I receive on this blog, and to return the favor as much as I possibly can. While I am still a growing blog, my goal is to continue this spirit of collaboration and interaction regardless of the direction this site takes.
Granted, I am a very relational person (as dictated by the personality tests we had to take back when I worked in sales in the US-but that's another story). My interactions tend to be more oriented to relationship building rather than goal completion. This personality trait is a likely factor in my huge distaste for the bot. An algorithm cannot a relationship build. Plus, it is glaringly obvious when an Instagram user is engaging via bot. And a lot of people find it rather annoying and off-putting. I know I sure do! And I am not about to contribute to the collective irritation.
Besides, Instagram is so much more fun now that I have taken the reigns back from the bot. And while it may be time consuming to network manually, it doesn't leave me with an icky feeling in my stomach. And that, to me, is the whole point.
Have you tried an Instagram bot? What was your experience like?