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Rob Gould

Rob works as a digital marketing & public relations consultant to agencies, brands, and individuals. He has 20 years of marketing experience. He also currently serves in a volunteer capacity as director of pr/communications for TEDxDirigo. From 2005-2011, Rob served as director of social media & agency communications at The VIA Agency (Portland). Prior to VIA, Rob worked with several PR & advertising agencies in London & Boston. He is a graduate of The University of Vermont (UVM) and a Maine transplant (2002). Follow Rob on Twitter at @bobbbyg His real-life interests include art, travel, writing, design, psychology, the beach, & exercise (grudgingly at times).

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Posted: December 21, 2014

Instagramageddon | Where have all my followers gone? | An existential crisis

Shutterstock photo.

Shutterstock photo.

All last week the social media world anxiously awaited the moment when Instagram would follow through with its promise to delete inactive accounts and spam-bots. The ax fell on Thursday, eliminating millions of accounts. This audacious move sent many reeling, setting off an existential crisis of sorts. WHERE HAVE ALL OF MY FOLLOWERS GONE?! Is everything I know just a lie?

The celebrity and brand worlds were particularly hard hit. For instance, it was a dark day for Kim Kardashian, who lost a cool 1.3 million followers. However, this was nothing compared to Justin Bieber who lost 3.5 million followers! Poor Biebs. In the brand world, National Geographic, Nike, Adidas and Forever 21 were among the top 100 Instagram accounts that saw their follower counts pummeled after the spam hunt.

Here are some of the brands that lost big:

  • National Geographic: 229,000 followers lost. New count: 9.75 million
  • Nike: 257,000 followers lost. New count: 8.75 million
  • 9Gag: 120,000 followers lost. New count: 8.38 million
  • Victoria’s Secret: 215,000 followers lost. New count: 7.7 million
  • The Ellen Show: 270,000 followers lost. New count: 7.47 million
  • Forever 21: 245,000 followers lost. New count: 5.33 million
  • Real Madrid Club de Fútbol: 159,000 followers lost. New count: 5.36 million
  • FC Barcelona: 133,000 followers lost. New count: 5.33 million
  • NBA: 196,000 followers lost. New count: 4.15 million
  • GoPro: 94,000 followers lost. New count: 3.64 million
  • Adidas: 101,000 followers lost. New count: 3.6 million
  • Louis Vuitton: 107,000 followers lost. New count: 3.55 million

Even President Barack Obama was hit with a loss of 213,000 followers, 5.7 percent of his Instagram base now 3.5 million strong.

Not even Instagram was safe. Its own account lost the most of any brand — 18.9 million followers, a 30 percent drop down to a new total of 45.3 million.

Now, I don’t know about you but the whole thing completely freaked me out. I woke up Friday morning and went to check my account and immediately noticed a marked drop in my total number of followers. It completely made me question reality. If that many followers could just disappear overnight who knows what else could happen? I feel like the process was probably the same for everyone whether you lost 10 followers or 10,000.

It all starts with anger. I mean, WTF Instagram?! Followed quickly by a vague sense of longing and the questions, “what does it all mean?” and “does it really matter?” Of course, I took it one step further into the “do I even matter?” territory. But, that’s just because social media is my life and I’m kind of a neurotic mess. Doesn’t Nietzsche address this? Does he? Doesn’t he? I’m pretty sure he does. 

So, the whole thing really threw me for a loop. To put it mildly. Anyway, time to begin again. Those spam-bots will be back, I just know it.

For more on Instagramageddon check out this article from ADWEEK.

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