Buying Instagram Fame

November 08, 2017

 After a little over a month of trying out this social media experiment of mine I was able to surpass the amount of followers I have on my actual account. Currently I have 173,000 followers on my real Instagram account, and in a little over a month I was able to get 238,000 followers.
 I started this experiment because I have seen, talked to, and met so many other Instagram who -since the Essena O'Neill incident and Acacia Brinley having dropped 1 million followers during Instagram's cleanup- have been attacked for faking their fame. Of course most of them have been like me, here on the app forever with many accounts just no longer in use. Or, also like me, people only caring for certain photos and just stick around waiting for those (anyone who has followed me for years knows what I mean).
 I wanted to see just how easily you can become a faker and spot a faker. Surprisingly, it's easy to be one but also hard to see.

 If you've read my last two posts the first one talks about what I'm doing. The second post discusses how it's going so far. Here I am with the third post to tell you how it went. I told you about liking other photos for coins and following other people for coins. Those coins then can be turned in to buy followers and likes for photos. At the end of this time I racked up 238,000 followers on my profile with about 50,000 likes per photo. So yes, it is insanely easy to fake your way to the top is you have the cash or the time. I barely put any effort at all into this experiment so I can only imagine how someone who is dead set on doing this could get to. I did spend about $30 which bought me a good 4,000 followers pretty quickly at the beginning of this experiment. I only posted about 14 photos but each one had about 50,000 likes per photo- the most had 54,000 and the least had 48,000 likes. The comments were the harder thing to figure out how to get with coins or buy- but I noticed when I also used a mass amount of hashtags comments came in anyways.
 I brought this up with a few of my fellow Instagrammer's and they were stunned to see the fake page I created. Not stunned because I did it but because it looked so real. They told me how if they had stumbled upon this page somehow it would totally fool them into believing everything was real. One of my friends said the low amount of photos all coming from within a month of the first photo would maybe raise some questions- but with Taylor Swift constantly deleting all her photos and starting fresh, she could see that being an explanation. That was the only minor red flag everyone agreed on, but also agreed on the explanation.
 Overall I think this short little experiment says a lot. During the short time I had already been asked to collaborate with a few small companies. I had a few girls calling me an inspiration, saying I was goals for this and that, as well as fawning over me when I'd like their photos. I also realized how this can be addicting to someone who, like Essena, needed this to feel better. Getting complimented all the time, seeing the amount of people who like you go up- getting that digital satisfaction of likes and follows. I can totally understand it, I even felt a little better about myself when I hit that 200,000 follower mark, something I'd like to see happen on my real page. When the high rise of followers happened suddenly in a short time I got really excited about hitting these milestones even though they were fake followers. Seeing those numbers climb higher and higher, checking my Social Blade to see the rank. And then the end of my experiment came and I deleted the page, I even sort of stepped back from my own page for a bit. I still posted, but I tried to stay off Instagram more and be present.
 I love Instagram, it as made me meet people, helped pay my bills when I didn't have other jobs, and gotten me to get out of my apartment and try new things. I adore it. But I can see the addictive side to it as well that people curse. I can see why Essena O'Neill deleted her page two years ago. She wasn't in the right mindset and seeing the numbers climb higher and higher became addictive to her. Then she crashed.
 I did this whole experiment because of Essena. My friends and I brought her up in a conversation recently because one of us stumbled upon a photo of her on Pinterest. We all asked each other if we had heard anything about her recently. One of my friends sort of her knew her but not well enough to still be speaking to her. They said last they heard, she was writing a book- but that's public knowledge. We're still discussing her a bit, patting her on the back for some things but angry about the backlash for others. But now we're also discussing my social experiment and all the things we learned from it. None of us suggest that buying likes or followers is a good thing, nor do we believe anyone should turn to social media for validation.
 I've since deleted the profile and gone back to using my own account only- no more wasting time on fake followers or likes for a social experiment- though it did teach me a lot.

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