Monday, February 20, 2017

What Is the Point?

Hey, Friends.

Did you have a good day?  I know it was a Monday.  Hopefully it wasn't too bad.  I'm actually in a pretty good mood, which might be hard to tell after reading this post.  Consider that your warning. This is probably going to wind up as kind of a rambling rant.  If you're in a good mood, you might want to skip out now.  Maybe you find my blathering amusing and can't wait to see what set me off this time.  Your choice.  I wash my hands of all responsibility if you choose to read on beyond this point.

There are many things that have contributed to this airing of grievances list of complaints discussion, but it can be most easily covered regarding Instagram. (We'll go with discussion, since you are free to agree or disagree in the comments!)

"But you love Instagram!"  I do, Friends, I do.  Probably more than I should.  That does not mean that it and/or its users are infallible.

Before we get to the rant/ramble portion of things, let's start with this:

For those unfamiliar with Instagram (and I really don't know who that would be at this point), that is what I see when I look at my Instagram profile.  I honestly don't think anybody was unaware that this was my account.  I post stuff here pretty regularly, and to my Twitter and Facebook accounts, which is where most of you fine folks are coming from. If there was any confusion then consider this to be me lifting the veil of mystery and clarifying it for you.  Ta da!

This brings us to the first item of our discussion, Friends.

Public vs. Private

My account is public.  That means I don't care who can see my photos or my profile.  If I did, I certainly wouldn't be posting it here.  

  • I'm never going to post something that I would not be cool with the whole world seeing. If you're that worried about it, you probably shouldn't be posting it anywhere on the internet.
  • I like people being able to discover my pictures, just as I love to discover other accounts.  There are some incredibly creative people in the world.

That's really all it comes down to, for me.  There are many reasons why people may choose to have a private account, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  Whatever makes you comfortable.

Since my account is public, I have actually been contacted a few times by people asking permission to use my images.  First, the fact that they actually asked permission and gave credit is amazing! I can't even tell you how many stories I have heard about people having their work used without permission -- and I'm not talking solely about Instagram on this matter. Every time someone asks it usually results in a mixed reaction on my part: squeeing in excitement and doing a little dance of joy (which I can totally get away with as I live alone and there are no witnesses to silence later) and disbelief that someone actually wants to use one of my pictures.  On purpose.  Where other people will see it. It doesn't happen very often, but it's a pretty cool feeling.

Side note, Friends:

It's never okay to use someone's work without their permission, or to take credit for it, or to leak it online.  Let's take a trip to the music industry for a hot second. Just because you paid $1.29 for a song on iTunes does NOT give you the right to then upload it to a website and cheat the artist out of future sales.  You're a horrible person if you post songs that haven't even been released yet.  

And we're back.

If someone has set their account to private, that means they are probably going to be a little bit selective as to the people they give access to viewing it.  If you make the cut, consider it a privilege. The person either knows you or trusts you enough to let you in.  This in no way gives you permission to share their posts all over the place. Not only is that reprehensible and rude, it makes you an asshole.  Why? I'm guessing it was not done with any consideration for the person you are actively screwing over.  I would assume that in 99% of the cases it was done to try to make yourself look cooler by sharing something private, or because you want to use it against them -- these are not mutually exclusive, either.  If someone allows you to follow their private account?  Keep it private. Consider it your job to prove that their trust in you was not misplaced.


Remember the picture above?  I have 309 followers, at the moment. You can see that clearly listed, and it will show up if you were to look at my profile.  I'm perfectly happy with that number.

What annoys the hell out of me are the spam messages that get posted as comments -- more so on Instagram, but it happens on Twitter as well at times -- offering me "followers".  I tried being polite at first, when it looked like it was posted by an actual person, and explaining that I wasn't interested. Didn't get any results. Now I just block the accounts.  This can turn into a mess very quickly, I've learned, as blocking one account sometimes leads to multiple other spam accounts finding you.  

I have 309 followers.  Do you honestly think that is because no one has ever made me such a grand offer before? 

 "Thousands of "real followers" for free!  Just click the link in my account!"

 "Buy 10,000 followers!"

"Click the link in my bio to learn the secret to getting thousands of followers!"

No.  No to all of it.  I have zero interest in your bullshit.  I prefer to have actual people who like the things I post and choose to see more as my followers. Many of them are friends and family which is very nice.

I do not, and probably never will, understand the fixation people seem to have with the number of "followers" they have on Instagram or Twitter.  What the hell is the point?  Do you sleep better at night knowing you got more followers that day?  Are you somehow a better or cooler person than everyone else that has fewer followers?  

There are actually apps that exist to help you track this crap!  I've seen the posts on people's Twitter accounts when they pop up in my timeline:  "3 people followed me and 5 unfollowed me this week powered by whatever-the-app-is-called."  Why is it that important?  And if you are really that obsessed with knowing, why in the world would you want to post it in public?  I can see the appeal if you are a business and trying to gauge your market.  But as just a regular person?  I feel a little bad for you. There are a lot more important things in life than the number of people who do or do not "follow" you on social media.

The Porn Accounts

Do you get these, Friends?  I can't be the only one seeing these.  Someone randomly adds you or likes a photo.  I have few enough "followers" that I can and will click on the profile to see if it is:

 a) someone I know and I don't recognize the user name
 b) an actual account and not some random spam shit
 c) someone whose posts I dig and might want to follow back.

I cannot tell you how frequently it leads me to an account of a scantily clad woman. There are either a few pictures of half-nakedness going on, or it is a "private" account.  The bio is almost always some variation of an offer to click a link to view their webcam.  Sometimes they go all out and have a bio with their age, sign, etc.

I don't know why I get these things -- I'm sure it's a bot and because my account is public. My user name is pretty generic.  It's not like I post anything remotely like that myself.  

I'm not your intended audience, scantily clad porn bots.  I'm a heterosexual female. I have absolutely no interest in what you are selling.  You will be blocked immediately.  I don't want your creepy comment lingering on my picture.  My nephews use Instagram.  I don't need them randomly finding your account via mine either.  That is not a conversation I want to have with my brother and sister-in-law.  

The Comments

This is really more about my fellow users of Instagram than Instagram itself.

Reminder, kids:  If you comment on a post, other people can see that.  Even if your account is set to "private", if you comment on a public picture it will be visible to all. Maybe you were already aware of that fact.  You might want to think carefully about what you are saying and/or how you are phrasing it.  Better yet, maybe think twice about whether you want to post it at all.

I'm a comment reader, I will admit it.  I read comments on other accounts.  I don't do it all of the time.  Sometimes I'm intrigued by the caption they used and want to see the reaction they are getting. It might be a political post.  It might be an account with millions of followers, and their post got like 784 comments in 5 minutes -- gets me curious as to what that many people could possibly have had to say that quickly.

It's not always a good decision on my part to read the comments.  Sometimes it is amusing, many times horrifying.  People do not hold back on their opinions, for good or for ill.

Just use your brain if you're commenting.  Be sure of what you want to say before you post it.  You might not get any response from the person who posted the photo, but I've seen a lot of instances where it struck a nerve with another user and ugliness ensued.  No one needs your squabbling in their comment section, and no one involved ever comes out the better for it.

Also, please try to remember that there is such a thing as privacy.  Yes, someone may have posted a public photo.  Whatever information they chose to share about it in the caption is what you get. Didn't give a location?  They don't have to. Doesn't matter how curious you are about it.  You can ask, but don't be rude if you don't get an answer. Did they post something that intrigues you about their personal life?  Doesn't matter.  If they wanted you to know, they would have shared that fact with you. You are not entitled to know.  Trying to suss out whether the other person in the photo is a significant other or a sibling?  None of your damn business.  If they want you to know, they will share that information with you.  I don't care if it is the biggest celebrity you can think of, or how much of their life they share with the public -- they still deserve their privacy and to share what they wish.  

Sorry, that last bit was a rant.  It's a pet peeve of mine.  Everyone has different comfort levels on what they choose to share and what they wish to keep private.  That should be respected regardless of who you are.  I've always thought of it more as being thankful for what people choose to share with me.  

Let's just end it here, Friends.  I think I'm about out of steam for rambling and ranting at the moment. Maybe you agree with me, maybe you don't.  You have the option to comment.  I promise I'll read them, even if I don't respond.

Give yourself a cookie if you actually made it this far reading through all of this.  


  1. +1 cookie for reading
    +1 cookie for being well balanced
    -1/2 a cookie for questioning where the "follow" button is
    +1 cookie because I like cookies