There have been several articles recently, including today in the NYTimes, discussing the phenomenon of people using bots to automate their 'likes' and 'followers' on Instagram. While it's hardly news that this is happening it's a good reminder that many of the interactions with your accounts on social media are anything but social, or 'real' for that matter.
Getting real live human followers on social media is hard, slow work. So people 'cheat', which in the end devalues the whole point of social media. The platforms themselves value these types of metrics above all so are reluctant to seriously address these issues for fear of reducing their precious numbers.
In failing to respond to this however they are not only hurting their users by giving them a misleading impression of the impact of their work, they are hurting the long term health of the platform itself. After all, what's the point of having thousands of phony followers on a platform where its just bots interacting with bots.
I've always been leery of Instagram, and social media in general, for these sorts of reasons. After all in my own experience its taken months to get a few hundred followers while I see many accounts with only a few photos and / or following a few people, get thousands of follows.
Something is rotten to the very core about this.
So it's worth keeping in mind that the 'like' and 'follower' numbers on your social media accounts are little indication of the quality of your work. It has a lot to do with robots and random events so don't compromise your art to chase after the false gods of digital adulation.