I use Instagram for Casting Across. It is a great way to promote the website, share the work of those I collaborate with, and see some amazing fly fishing pictures. I am not a professional photographer, and I am far, far from a professional marketer. There are strategies and techniques out there for gaining an audience – gaining followers on Instagram. Some are clever and some have the subtlety of an AOL compact disc mailing campaign.
My favorite (insert sarcasm emoji here) is the faceless, generically named “SuperFlyFishing#1” page.
You’ve seen him… her… it. They like your photos. They follow you. They comment something to the effect of “great pic! come check out our page.” Then, like a stray piece of tippet in the wind, they’re gone.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not personally offended. This isn’t about getting or retaining some quasi-robotic Instagram hearts. I don’t even feel particularly compelled to police this little postage-stamp-sized corner of the internet.
I just find it obnoxious.
Why? For one, I like creativity. I literally like creative pictures on Instagram. These accounts are the Insta-quivalent of a shopping mall art gallery. It has all the personality of a gray rainbow trout on a stringer the day after the hatchery truck dumped it in a pond.
How can you tell if an account is one such repository of droll? What will you see? Probably some of the following:
- Flatbrim kid with a huge bass and a swimbait (wait… I thought this was #1FlyFishingPage…)
- That video of the brown trout jumping and eating a mayfly
- Stolen April Vokey pictures
- A follower-submitted picture of a big stocker, bleeding from the gills on the grass (probably some overexposure, for good measure)
- Bikini shots
- A lot of posts from a similar spammy account that has gone silent
I know that the value of anything digital is marginal. I think the hivemind behind these accounts do as well. “Get enough likes,” they think, “and the Bitcoin will be flowing like milk and honey!” I don’t think it works that way. But apparently some are convinced that it does. Just don’t drag my precious data down on your fool’s crusade.
Following, liking, and subscribing to something on the internet is like buying bass poppers from WalMart. Mostly what you get is cheap, but every once in a while you’ll get something that will surprise you. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a higher standard. We should demand better of those who put pictures of fish and sunsets and reels and kittens online.
So the next time you get a follow, a handful of likes, and a please follow me pretty pretty please from one of these aesthetic angling animatrons, just swipe left. Or right. Or down. Or however you just say no.
… but don’t forget to follow Casting Across! No robots here. I promise.