While many are applauding Instagram’s recent shut down of automation [bot] service, Instagress, I have been left thinking of what this actually means for those of us on the other side of the spectrum – yes, the evil overlords sending the bots out to prey on the everyday Insta-user.
“While most people think that platforms like Instagress are only used for the evil spamming of our digital world, some used the platform as the tool it was intended to be – a tool that helped connect companies with similarly interested users.”
In a world that is curated to our every interest, these Instagram bots have become an unwelcome and impersonal intruder. Every “Good shot!” or “Keep it up!” comment is a slap in the face of everything that social media in this day and age stands for – a personalized experience for all. While most people think that platforms like Instagress are only used for the evil spamming of our digital world, some used the platform as the tool it was intended to be – a tool that helped connect companies with similarly interested users.
These users would curate a detailed list of hashtags to scour Instagram to find and interact with users that shared a moment engaging in a matching interest or hashtag. To a company, this is invaluable as it not only allowed them to find an everyday user/potential customer but also allowed that person to find the company. A shoe lover would be introduced to a new footwear manufacturer. Fashionistas introduced to new boutiques. Say what you will about bots/automation users – every now and then a useful connection came from it though.
Used correctly, companies could take the connection from this initial contact and interact personally with customers and continue to curate the content their interested followers would come to crave. [Enter monkey wrench stage right] – Companies of course quickly exploited Instagress’ variety of tools. It wasn’t enough to “Like” pictures through automation, it evolved into a machine that could Like, Comment, Follow & Unfollow profiles automatically, day and night. As an avid user of the platform, I can attest that there are posts that I have that are littered with spam-bot comments. It’s an exploitation that Instagram allowed, recognized and has now taken down.
It’s an understandable and expected next-step. But don’t think that this means you won’t get your fair share of cookie-cutter comments anymore. While Instagress recedes into our memories on the wrong side of history, others will come. Companies, agencies and the like will adjust and they’ll be back soon. Let’s just hope this time around there will be some checks and balances so we can all continue double-tapping our screens.