Remember Senior Prank Day? It was a close second in favorites to Graduation Day for me when I taught high school English. The Seniors in my class would scheme for months to outwit the administration on this one day of the year. They kept their plans close, and it was always fun to watch the plan, successful or not, unfold on the day-of.
For me, it was like witnessing a funny movie of cat and mouse. I knew the intentions were (mostly) pure of the Seniors counting down the days until Graduation, and the tradition rewards wit and careful planning so I was always anxious to see it come into action.
I remember one year watching an Administrator that had a reputation for being the most unliked in the school, walk to the flag pole and personally un-hoist a larger-than-life-size blown up penis from the flagpole. How he kept a straight face while doing this I will never understand, everyone watched carefully and it was undoubtedly one of the happiest moments of the year. Good clean fun.
There was another time when the Seniors thought it would be funny to set alarm clocks at various times and plant them around the school in lockers. Watching the Administrator walking the halls and putting his ear to lockers and pressing on with unwavering determination to find every alarm clock and punish the students whose locker housed it was sadly comical.
So I guess I've never been a rule follower exactly. Actually, let me clarify. I value rules and I follow them, but in certain situations I am able to see pure intentions and gray areas that either allow for advantage or good clean fun.
I've been watching and listening to all of the chatter lately about the Instagram "shadowban," and thinking about rules and bending them and how this sometimes plays out.
It's another game of cat and mouse. Instagram, the most popular free platform used by 400 million people daily, and not to be missed, owned by powerhouse Facebook Mark, is the cat. It took all of us mice about 4 or 5 years to figure out how to monetize, grow and stretch this free platform in all the ways that we can/could. And, we had plenty of help along the way with clever solutions. As I'm reading all of the fear-based chatter and wondering how people are missing the basic fact that this FREE platform in all of its marvel has not cost us a penny, unless of course you are playing by the rules and buying ads - most of us are not, I cannot help but smile. Way to go Instagram! You win...for now.
If you can answer "Yes" to any of these questions you may be in danger of being Shadowbanned by Instagram (according to what I'm reading, who really knows):
- Do you use the same hashtags for most or all of your posts?
- Do you use more than 30 hashtags on your posts?
- Have you ever purchased a Like or Follow?
- Do you pay someone or something to engage on your account for you?
- Are you an Influencer monetizing your "brand" utilizing Instagram?
- Do you have a personal account that you are using for business?
- Are you personally really active with Liking and Following/Unfollowing accounts?
- Have you participated in a Comment Pod to boost engagement?
Most of us answer at least one "Yes" to this list of questions, and most of the accounts I personally know and coach have or will be Shadowbanned.
Why? Because Instagram wants us to play by their rules. The rules are: engage personally, at a certain rate, no doping, buy ads, utilize the business account feature if you are indeed a business and even more connect this to your Facebook business Page, pay some price for utilizing the platform for personal gain/monetizing your "brand" (specifically aiming this at Influencer Marketing).
The rules are set. The cat and mouse game is on-going and new hacks and rule bending solutions will continue to appear. The platform is incredible, the opportunities have been defined to the tune of a 10 billion dollar industry forecast for 2017 just in Influencer Marketing utilizing Instagram. If you think Mark, and his team are going to turn a blind eye to that kind of cash, and to letting all of us have it without playing by the rules, think again!