Communication online has become an efficient affair with signs and symbols providing heaps of meaning that would otherwise be awkwardly, if not down right difficult, to express in the medium of the silicon-free world. Where a click of a mouse to illuminate a thumb’s up icon allows us to tell the world that we ‘like’ something, expressing the same with words to another person becomes an exercise in social engineering as consider the implications of liking. This symbology has made it all the easier for us to drive capitalism online and now we can even buy real Instagram likes – not just user profiles to follow you but the very likes themselves. It’s fair to view this as an attempt at gaming Instagram in order to unfairly become a visible user that may earn a share of the site’s profits but on closer inspection it’s nothing more than gaming the community of Instagram.
Instagram is nothing without the user base. At the core of this user base still rests human societal habits, awareness and expectations. In a time where anyone can gain thousands of followers rather easily, it’s not the number of followers that you possess but rather the number of likes and shares that you manage to generate. That is the true sign of popularity. Most of us impulsively accept friend requests – why not? It’s not as if we honestly expect those individuals to be our friends but we’re always on the prowl for more content to consume and it’s people who offer the most. If you happen to follow someone whose posts and pictures are generating hundreds, if not thousands, of likes then you’ll sit back with a smile of content on your lips, secure in the knowledge that you have hit the mother load of quality content. That’s social media.
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