Now, it's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Instagram. I love the community feel there, I love the chat and I love the woolly inspiration that I find there on a daily basis. What I'm much less keen on is the rise in fake accounts, in 'pay for follow' activities and general spamminess which gets in the way of my daily dose of fibrey goodness.
I recently logged in to find a rush of over 300 new followers which, to say the least was mildly surprising given that I usually get an average of 10 new followers per day. Closer inspection showed that all my new 'fans' were from non-English speaking accounts. And judging by the 'duck-face' selfie pouts and fairly scanty clothing I'm guessing that most of them weren't interested in knitwear of any description. The mystery was solved a few hours later when I had a direct message from an account saying that they had given me the 'gift' of 300 new followers, and if I paid them a sum of money they would be happy to send more fake followers my way.
Quite apart from being contrary to Instgram rules I found this to be pretty disturbing to be honest. Yes, my follower numbers had taken a huge boost - which was nice - but they were all fake and I'm sure they would have all unfollowed over the next few weeks. It felt horrible knowing that they were there, falsely inflating my IG stats and also I didn't like the fact that if someone viewed my 'followers' page they would see a whole host of the aforementioned duck-faced selfies.
So, I sat down with a cup of coffee and deleted them all - yes - all of them. The main account and a handful of others I also reported to Instagram for good measure. It took some time but it felt so much better and I genuinely felt relieved at the end of it.
Since then I have started to review my new followers on a regular basis and any which are obviously fake or engaged in a 'follow for follow' program I remove and block so they don't show up any more on my followers count. Just this morning I had a new follow from a charming looking gentleman, seated on the bonnet of his shiny Mercedes overlooking a tropical beach. He has 2 posts to his account and followed over 1000 people. I'm pretty sure he isn't my target market - and with 1000 followers he will hardly notice 1 less.
My IG account now feels happier and healthier and I see far less of the sudden drops in followers that can occur periodically as all the follow bots kick in and unfollow those who don't follow them back.
I feel that I can focus more on relaxing, chatting and engaging with those wonderful woolly folk around me, and spend less time worrying about fake followers.
Although, maybe with hindsight I could brush up on my selfie pose - it clearly needs work.