We passed the magical barrier of 2,000 followers. We are very pleased to see, that so many of you are appreciating the work we put together. There are some downsides to this success.
A few weeks ago, we noticed a decrease of the number of followers on Instagram. We tried to find out what exactly was going on. It turned out, we too were shadowbanned. For those of you, who are struggling with the same issues, we are gladly giving away some tips to help your account recover from this.
The infamous shadow ban of Instagram has been talked about a lot. Including by our friends at Later.com. They covered this in various blogs. Many Instagrammers were and are suffering from this shadow ban.
What is a shadowban?
Basically, it comes down to this: a number of posts of you on Instagram, don’t get the followers you intended. This could be caused by postings that your targeted audience does not like or the fact that you might use photos that are not really appreciated. Also, the problem could be caused by usage of certain hashtags.
Over the past few years, there were many hashtags that Instagram decided on banning. Some for obvious reasons, others for unclear reasons.
The term is not new. It has been around since 2006. That was in the days Twitter was still great and Instagram did not exist. Not even as an independent company. Instagram was launched in 2010 (remember that 6th of October?). In 2012 Facebook bought the company for an amount of about 1 milliard dollar (estimate). The shadowban was then already in use by several social media platforms. Instagram simply joined this philosophy. Not always to the benefit of everyone using this platform. Take for instance the LGTBQ community. “Their” hashtags were banned for some time. This rose the questions if social media wanted to boycott certain social media postings. Indeed, they were. Mostly when it concerned content that should not be seen by minors. But, in an attempt to control the usage of hashtags, the social media companies (not only Instagram) might have not overseen the impact. For instance, the usage of the hashtag #gay should never be a problem, when someone is expressing their sexual orientation. It is however, when someone posts something that is not suitable for minors. The social media companies were facing a great problem: how to treat such postings?
In the end, they decided -one by one- on doing something about this. They also decided to do something about the usage of social media by spammers. We all know they are out there. Those ones who comment on postings to get free likes. Our advice: block these accounts immediately and report them! If you don’t, you might become the victim of a shadow ban, just like we did.
Our account attracts a lot of people. That is great. The more people read our publications, is good news for those who contribute to our website. However, it also attracts spammy accounts. We don’t want that and keep a close watch on those who follow us. Unfortunately, we can’t see all. We see a lot and report a lot (be warned). Sometimes, an account that is considered to be spammy, is still in our followers list and that is what caused our troubles. That and the usage of certain hashtags that are considered as spam.
With this having said, we already given you some clue on how to solve this problem. This problem will go away, eventually. It takes however patience. We saw our engagement drop with hundred followers. Many of those accounts turned out to be spam accounts. Still, there was a lot of frustration. As for me, I was on my yearly holiday. The day I found out about this, wasn’t the day I was at my best to my family. For me, holiday is important, but I know that there is always some work to be done. In this case puzzling about this mysterious shadowban. Again, the answer came from a blog I found at Later.com.
And now, only three weeks later, I am a happy man. As one of the editors of The Ministry of Poetic Affairs and (by the way) also the owner, I am seeing things I like. More and more people are following. True followers. Not those who do the follow-unfollow-thing (ladies and gentlemen, that is so 2011). If you want real engagement, this is not the way to do it. Engagement is based on the respect for others. We respect those who follow. We do want to do more for you, but we are limited. Therefore, we decided to see if there are any new editors for The Ministry of Poetic Affairs available.
Not about the numbers
You might consider this strange, but personally it is not about the numbers. I rather see a vast growing number of true followers, than those who just follow to get their account listed when others like our account(s). True, the 2,000 followers (YOU) are great. It is the evidence that we do well, that you are touched by what we do. We spread poetry across the globe and that is what we will be doing. Not only using Instagram, but a variety of social media accounts on different platforms. Let’s boldly state: that is all we can do. And for you, the support we receive, the reactions: they are overwhelming.
On a personal note, I am not a man who is moved very much by social media. But when I see the numbers, I know we are doing a good job. Still, we are not there yet. We are searching for investors and advertisers, to do even more. This battle is not yet won. This battle is necessary to make sure, we can do what we say we do: spread poetry across the globe.
To conclude this (long) personal note from the owner of The Ministry of Poetic Affairs: thank you for the kind words, the respect, the poems and the advice. You have been tremendous! You are great! Yes, you are!