Creators Instagram

Hot Take: Instagram is “Industry First, Community Second”

Industry First Community Second

As a creator, one of the things you will experience is elitism. In the social media world, you FEEL your status is tied to a public number – this is especially true of Instagram. If you have over X number of followers, you’re more important than someone with (X less 75%) followers. In fact, you’re LUCKY to be in the same space as someone if you’re not on their level. That FEELING is incredibly unfortunate and often unwarranted. We’ve talked about the problems with Instagram fake following. Ironically, it’s often those people that develop the deepest elitism.

Last night, Riz (@yamisohungry) a food blogger at ChocolatesAndChai, shared a recent experience at an event. While his story refers to the people as bloggers, it appears he’s actually referring to Instagrammers. The hot take is one that I think we’ve all experienced at one time or another… Instagram is “Industry First, Community Second.”

First tweet and we’re already on the edge of our seats!

This is sad on so many levels. For starters, no, Riz is not lucky to be there. He’s there because a brand/PR person see the value in having him there. While his following may not be over 50K (at the time of posting, it’s 5927), his photos are quite nice and he gets reasonable engagement numbers. He’s certainly in the micro-influencer category, but that’s what’s hot right now!

Again, this whole concept of attributing someone’s worth to the number they have on a social network is not only sad, it’s scary! Are these people so drained of humanity that they can’t see beyond a number? This was what Black Mirror’s Nosedive was about. There’s elitism because of your accomplishments, and then there’s THIS kind of elitism based upon a number that can be faked. That’s scary.

No, it’s not any different – and yes you can follow back. Literally, NO ONE is looking at who you follow. (With exception of us – helps us figure out your Instagram pods). But for everyone else, if you like someone’s content follow them. If you like the person, follow them. If you don’t like their content or the person, don’t follow them. Just don’t equate your follower # with who you can follow.

You should check the thread for the resulting conversations. It’s a common experience that everyone has had at some point. On Instagram, it’s even more pronounced because it’s vanity metric driven – followers, likes, comment counts.

Industry First, Community Second

This is the standout comment. When you have no sense of community, and everyone is driven by competition, it becomes a toxic environment. When you don’t see your fellow creators as allies, but as enemies taking food from your mouth, it doesn’t foster a desire to work together. YouTube has always been a platform for collaboration – you WANT to collab with others to help both grow. Blogging builds communities based on content (because the vanity metrics are private). But Instagram displays them front and center. Only recently, Instagram added ‘Guests’ to its video streams. It’s the first time they created a collaborative/community driven function. That’s why this kind of toxic attitude is pervasive.

The takeaway here is that having a superiority complex can be very dangerous. If you’re going to develop a superficially driven ego, you best believe your name is going to spread among other creators. While you may not care at first, as your shine fades you’re going to find yourself isolated and alone. That will make your experience as a creator very different – and you’ll regret all the people you burned while you were on top.

As for Riz, go shoot the man a follow on Instagram and Twitter. It takes guts to tell these stories but they are important to share!

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