Andy Hutchinson - 'The Real Reason You Suck on Photo Sharing Sites'

Andy Hutchinson - 'The Real Reason You Suck on Photo Sharing Sites'

"What if I told you..." that every bot asking for followers is actually the social media platform service itself asking for money in order to get as much reach as you did organically several months ago. Jokes aside... I read more about bots on social media every day and it's time to give it the attention it deserves. The future of social sharing is about to change.

The problem with bots taking over the "interwebs" has definitely escalated and I think it's due to the media attention it is being given. Writing this will probably convert a small number of readers to the dark side. Now, before you go "Wow! I don't have to click anymore to get some attention? Take my money," consider that you will be paying for virtual attention.

Photographer Andy Hutchinson has written a lengthy article chronicling his recent experiences with the social web and paid tools that "hack" the system. Gone is the time when Asian sweat shoppers would do the tedious work of "liking for likes" for you.

...a small army of impoverished mouse-clickers will descend on your Facebook page and shower you in utterly meaningless likes, all for the price of a Satsuma.

  • In my personal experience, a picture cannot get uploaded on Instagram without some account (with a lot of numbers in its name) almost immediately asking for followers.
  • I've talked with top landscape photographer on 500px, Ole Henrik Skjelstad, about how organic reach is at all-time low. The article goes into detail about how bots scour snapshots that consequently hit the front page of popular. That prevents any truly good pictures from getting as much human reach as before due to how 500px works.
  • And Facebook gets changed without too much notice every week or so. I've found that the more reach you get, the less reach you get subsequent times in the hopes that we will pay for reach in upcoming posts.

All of this starts to feel a lot like a computer game to me. One of those freemium "pay to win" games to be more specific. The growing number of fantastic photographers noticing the presence of bots on social media leads me to conclude that photo sharing on the web is about to change in a way that changed the face of photography at the onset of digital, if it hasn't already.

The aim of the game is to get your photograph in front of as many eyeballs as possible

Find Hutchinson’s eerie article here.

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12 Comments

Leigh Miller's picture

Good read....and I definitely agree. There is always going to be people who "game" the system.

dred lew's picture

I knew this was going on but the extent of this is pretty eye opening. O_o

like when you see 50 instagram images posted, yet somehow they have 17K followers.

Oleh Brevus's picture

but how ????

Felix Wu's picture

they either deleted the other posts or purchased many ghost followers. most likely the later.

Roman Kazmierczak's picture

Why people are stressing so much about instagram? All marketing and advertising technics from times before IG are still valid, yet everybody think that IG and FB is only way out there. Moreover so many people act like the number of followers means success. Yes, some people are making money as companies use their "reach" to advertise the product. Just think if that is your business profile...

Felix Wu's picture

Because if the Instagram account is legit and has huge followings I would probably check out who that person is. But sadly....many on instagram are only " lazy editors" who only repost other people's amazing work.

People try to get following by doing all kinds of stupid things these days. Even some well known photographers (don't want to name names) play the game of follow/unfollow to gain followers. It's really sad. Ridiculous!

Roman Kazmierczak's picture

I don't think they "play" that game. They probably pay for likes and some bots are doing follow/unfollow or posting generic comments, thumbs up etc.

Percy Ortiz's picture

Yes all marketing and advertising techniques from before still valid but loosing ground fast agains instagram and Facebook. 50% of the jobs I could've tender for where out of my reach because one of the requirements was to have more than XXXX amount of instagram/facebook followers. While you may still make a good living out of photography without the help of "likes" you definitely could do better if you learn to play the "media" game whether you like it or not.

Funny enough to me that is not the worse. The worse is watching companies accept mediocre quality from a pseudo pro photographer just because his or her instagram has over 10K followers fake or not

Roman Kazmierczak's picture

Maybe you need to work on the pitch that will explain why some people have more followers than others and how those numbers are not real audience etc. Marketing and salesmanship is 90% of professional photography.

Anonymous's picture

The IG bots have given me all the ammo I need to come up with regular posts when I'm under an NDA or otherwise restricted from posting the work. Making lemonade from lemons. Very, very annoying lemons...

I'm new to Instagram and other social services but I stopped caring pretty quick too.. Seeing all this talk about bots and false followers make me thing about who actually want to see my good or bad work, so I'll post somewhere I cannot see views, likes, etc, just comments.. I wish someone reinvented whole image sharing platform in a way so bots and false followers wouldn't be a problem anymore, but thats pretty much impossible I've been told.