"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