Hitting 100K on Instagram

Instagram, hitting 100k on instagram, adventures of lil nicki, adventures of lil nicki instagram

Hitting 100K on Instagram

On Friday I hit 100K on Instagram. I mean that’s cool right? Actually it’s not as exciting as I thought it would be…

Instagram, you suck now.

Now don’t get ahead of yourselves, this ain’t no fuckin open letter! I bet you were getting concerned that I had been recently bashed over the head and lost all my faculties. If you follow along on Instagram you’ve probably noticed that I crossed the coveted line of gaining over 100,000 followers. One thing is for certain:

I’m much cooler on the internet than in real life.

The kaleidoscopic colors a #backpacker’s dreams are made of.. This is my bff @tayzertravels standing in awe in front of #Vinicunca, also known as the #RainbowMountain. This trek that brought @tayzertravels and I just under 17,000 feet (5,181 meters for you metric users… AKA most the world) was the highlight of my #travels in Peru and one of my favorite memories of #SouthAmerica. If you’d like more info, check out @flashpackerconnect! © Nicole Smoot, 2016 . . . . . . #travelstoke #passionpassport #livetravelchannel #beautifuldestinations #awesome_photographers #dametraveler #lpfanphoto #wonderful_places #TLPicks #traveldeeper #canonbringit #forbestravelguide #beautifulmatters #letsgoeverywhere #teamcanon #canonfanphoto #wearetravelgirls #optoutside #neverstopexploring #visitsouthamerica #experienceperu

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100K on Instagram is all a feat in itself, but let’s face reality for a sec: It means fuck-all these days.

Instagram is a game anymore, a constant battle to beat the ever-changing algorithm. Fake followers, bought likes, games, and  attention stunt after attention stunt all in the name of clawing the already paved way to Insta-fame.

But you know what Instagram? You did it to your fucking self.

Pre-2016-massive-change Instagram was a fun place. It was a place to stumble across amazing artists, new and interesting products, and people living out extraordinary journeys.. Of course, even back then sites selling fake followers and the like existed, people follow and unfollowed and auto commenting and liking bots were already in place and at work. But they weren’t as commonplace as they are now. Photos posted in your newsfeed in chronological order so it was easy to scroll back where you last left off and enjoy your favorite photographers, those hilarious meme accounts, your best friend’s adventures and your cousin’s new baby photos. People were trying to claw their way to the top, but not like they are now.

Fast forward to summer of 2017 and Instagram is a dark, incestuous place- especially for a creator. More often than not you find more people unfollow you than follow you on some days. And so many of the comments you receive are just strings of random emojis, and things like ‘cool‘ and ‘nice‘ are the most common comments seen on photos. Many times these comments are horribly misaligned with the subject of the photo.

Instagram, you created this shitstorm.

People unequivocally freaked out when Instagram announced that they would begin using that same shitty algorithm that Facebook uses to put what Marky and the FB boys decide what they think you wanna should see meanwhile, completely dropping other items from your feed altogether. And we all finally made peace with the fact that once they go algorithm, they never go back. The algorithm change made it more difficult to be seen but hey, we survived through round one.

But then the stranglehold happened.

I really started to notice the real squeeze around December of 2016. Everything seemed to grind to a near halt. This is when Instagram really started to piss off its creators. Now Instagram goes to the extra effort to make sure your posts aren’t seen. That is unless you pay to boost your posts. Sound familiar? Yup Insta went FB pages.

The Facebookification of Instagram.

Instagram decided it wanted to cash in on the delicious Instagram marketing pie. I mean after all, creators had been using Instagram to make a living for a few years now. Rather than finding a unique way to cash in on the app, they went after creators and people’s need tp feel popular, from Kim Kardashian all the way down to some insecure girl that sat next to you in algebra class 10 years ago. When you completely stifle reach to the point of near nonexistence people get desperate. Like really desperate.

With reach diminishing to almost nothing users, marketers, influencers and bloggers alike began to dabble in the dark side.

There’s a small section of the world that make a full time living off of Instagram. Endorsing products, sharing accounts and the like. The stifled reach made users obsessed with having inflated numbers to keep clients and attract new ones.

Well, that’s all they are: numbers.

Numbers mean fuck all.

In an industry where followers, likes and comments can be bought for a price, metrics no longer mean a thing. Businesses are getting smart and realizing this, they aren’t taking influencers seriously anymore, even honest ones. Even the non-gaming honest influencers can be hit with spam accounts and harmed. On a few occasions I’ve suddenly had a bump in followers without warning, no feature of my photo by a large million + follower account. Then a few days later you get a message informing you that one of these bot companies sent some likes or followers your way in hopes to attract you as a customer.

Just remember though, the recent surge of bots, automation and fake accounts is all due to your stranglehold on reach, Instagram.

Then the circle jerk got bigger.

To inflate fizzling reach, especially in hope to get photos on the explore page users began gathering outside Instagram, namely on its relative, Facebook. Agreements were made as a group to all like and comments on each other’s photos to boost engagement. But like a group project in high school these typically fizzle to a C- grade because some bask in the glory without putting into the social wealth. Or otherwise known as Instagram welfarians.

But rather than call it like it is: an Insta-Cicle-Jerk, user’s preferred the name ‘Comment Pod‘.

So what shady things have I done?

In the early days of the algorithm I participated in an insta-jerk ring for a couple days but gave it up quickly. Who’s got time for that shit?

Earlier this year I briefly hired a Virtual Assistant to help take on the pile of comments I receive on photos by responding to them. Of course people with real questions and comments were still responded to by me and a list of my real life friends was left to my personal responses and reactions.

As you probably know from the past, I sorta suck at interacting on Instagram. I usually post a photo and walk away. This help seemed to boost engagement. I also was gaining more followers again, which seemed nice at first. Until I found that they were gained by following and unfollowing. So now I’m following over 2,600 accounts with 2,000 of those probably being accounts I don’t want to follow in the first place. My newsfeed is cluttered with shit preventing me from what I really want to see. Great.

If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.

So with a quick, painless email exchange my VA went buh-bye. So it is in fact just me manning my social media again. The blog has always only been yours truly. It’s a full time job, let me just tell you that right now. On top of the full time hours I work at a day job when I’m back at home.

Starting to see why I run away from home and essentially abandon my blog and leave my Instagram account to my best friend Tay to man while I go M.I.A.?

But you did it to your self, Nicole…

I know, no ones making me do it. But it is a lot of work. A lot of throwing yourself out there and well, a lot of public criticism. I’m an introvert by nature- I’m perfectly happy having zero human interaction for days on end, a new-age-vagabond-hermit* if you will. Being present on social media so openly and widely is completely unnatural for me.

*If that doesn’t sound hipster as fuck…

Why do you think I so quickly point out all my flaws on my posts, the embarrassing things I do and say, essentially roast myself?

I figure if I beat you all to it, you won’t rake me over the coals so hard. Trust me though, I’m thick skinned. I’ve been told my whole life what I do wrong more than what I do right, and I’ve turned out perfectly fine, although a touch cynical.

My odd life and avoidance of being criticized by just criticizing the goddamn daylights out of myself before everyone else gets a chance to has lead to me having this odd voice through my writing. A voice that I’m not sure can be replicated.

No, I don’t think I’m a unique snowflake like many Boomers and Gen X’ers accuse my whole generation of being. My Mom went out of her way to let me and my brother we weren’t special. Because, we aren’t. Over 7 billion human beings have been birthed onto this planet. Nothing’s special about merely existing. But I have yet to find someone who writes in such a way as I do to take some of the work off my hands.

So what I’m getting at is, my blog posts, Instagram photos and captions and all the other shit on stupid social medias I post is actually 100% unspecial, weird, raw, ME.

No, this isn’t an attention grab like the posts divulging all the filthy secrets of Instagram influencers in a campaigns that seem to bring thousands of new followers overnight. Or like Lauren, who wrote the article about how some creep was following her world travels and copying her exact photos. Don’t worry, her secret was exposed- it was actually her friend and all a set up for attention. Like really Lauren? You have millions of followers. These guys might be laughing all the way to the bank, but I just can’t bring myself to spread the fake news in an attempt to get noticed. This all just goes to show that no matter how much you do have, too much is never enough and humans are by nature greedy. (I’ve never been a fan of either of these accounts and most definitely never will be after the shit they’ve pulled). What in the literal fuck happened to producing art for the sake of art? Anymore, your art has to have some controversial attention grab paired outside of it to get it noticed.

So what is this rant then?

I don’t know, you’d think I’d be out celebrating such a landmark of an occasion. But anymore Instagram has just left me jaded. Also, those of you that think I live off my Instagram account and want to be me, this is for you. This is me painting the reality of it to you, even though I make the extra effort with many photos I post to share the truth behind the photos. That I do still work when I’m not traveling, but people don’t really want to listen. The last thing I want to do is convince someone to quit their livelihood yielding job to chase a dream that’s incredibly difficult to make come true. This is just me being me, me being real with you all. And explaining that it’s not as easy to gain a following like it used to be.

#symphonylake #eagleriver #alaska #ak #hikeak #travelstoke #colormesummer

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^(This was my first photo I posted)

Back when I started, I just posted my own photos, at consistent times of day everyday. I didn’t interact much but with a handful of others- mostly others that I do really appreciate and enjoy their work, and real personal friends. I didn’t do anything beyond that to get to where I did. Unfortunately you can’t build a following as quickly as I did using those tactics anymore. Which is precisely why I’ve not written that ebook explaining how to get noticed on Instagram and use it to your advantage. My skills are outdated and I don’t feel like trying to use shady practices to continue getting my artwork out there. However, if you are still interested in trying to hit 1K or 100K on Instagram, or make money off of it, you can purchase Anna Everywhere’s new ebook to guide you on the way. Anna is one of the few in my small circle of Instagram stars that I regularly speak with and I appreciate her work.

I’ve been tempted to just quit all together on Instagram. It’s a lot of work to put together to fall on deaf ears and blind eyes of accounts that don’t even have a real human being behind them, or if they do they’re just playing a numbers game.

The only thing that makes me keep it going is those of you that see my photos and decide to travel because of it, and have questions that I help address so that you can visit these spots too. To all those I’ve helped in planning trips to Tajikistan, Alaska, Rainbow Mountain in Peru, and more- you’re the reason I stick around. So when you guys all disappear, then I’ll throw in the towel.

So thanks to the 100k on Instagram give or take, real human beings that continue to follow my strange adventure through life, and an even bigger thank you to the small group of that demographic that are here to see art and strange places and here for what photo sharing used to be all about.

~Nicole

PS: Fuck you Instagram.

 

This was one of the first photos #Tajikistan I shot and is still one of my favorites. The morning I began my over 40 mile trek through the #FannMountains I passed the 6th lake of the #HaftKul (7 Lakes), called Marguzor and this was where I knew that Tajikistan would be one of the most beautiful places I will ever step foot. But little did I know that these perfectly calm morning lake reflections on a mirror of water would get to become a regular event during my time there. So if you’re curious about #beautifultajikistan, just go! You can always contact the Zeravshon Tourism Development Association and make arrangements to come to this very location. © Nicole Smoot, 2016 . . . . . . . . #travelstoke #passionpassport #livetravelchannel #beautifuldestinations #awesome_photographers #dametraveler #earthcapture #lpfanphoto #wonderful_places #TLPicks #traveldeeper #earthfocus #canonbringit #forbestravelguide #beautifulmatters #letsgoeverywhere #teamcanon #canonfanphoto #theglobewanderer #justgoshoot #wearetravelgirls #optoutside #neverstopexploring #centralasia

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4 thoughts on “Hitting 100K on Instagram

  • guru June 23, 2017 at 1:44 am

    Pictures are awesome in the blog.

    • Nicole June 27, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Thank you!

  • Oh_meems July 1, 2017 at 11:41 am

    I totally enjoyed reading this post, and thank you for being so honest! I’m one of your IG followers that you had responded to when i left you comnents, so thanks for your response too.

    • Nicole July 17, 2017 at 12:00 am

      Well thanks for following along!

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