A few days ago, I was scrolling through the Instagram Discover page and tapped “Read more” on a relatively long caption — a few paragraphs. That tap on the “Read more” button is one way Instagram tracks engagement, a critical data point to weave posts up your feed that you, specifically you, will engage with.
Tech says this: engagement is king, queen and the whole court.
When I was in Miami visiting a friend this past weekend, we talked about how you choose how to use your influence. We also walked through the Wynwood Walls, and before we rounded the corner she said, “just so you know, Miami is pretty superficial. Everyone will probably be taking solo shots.” I hail from the fake-candid-laughing-big-group-shot-with-friends world, where we shy away from asking for solo shots to avoid looking vain. But she was right — lots of solo posing, lots of serving looks, lots of Instagrams, some for #sponsored posts, I’m sure.
Once I tapped “Read more” on that photo a couple days ago, I kept scrolling and saw how the Discover algorithm placed post after post in front of me with the exact same formula: girl, white, pretty skinny, posing profile or with her back to the camera, in an exotic perfectly-saturated location. At least 10 of the same formulaic photo appeared before I got spooked and decided to do something else.
(Engagement is king, right? So we go where the likes are.)
Since brands hand out clout (and money) to those with largest followings, and sponsorship can so easily become aspirational, contrived, toxic — how do you make the choice to be authentic? Continue reading “aesthetics, power and instagram”