FISHING FOR FOLLOWERS: USING HASHTAGS AS LIKE BAIT IN SOCIAL MEDIA

Beata Jungselius, Thomas Hilman, Alexandra Weilenmann

Abstract


In this paper we present findings from an on-going study of mobile social photography with a focus on how Instagram users describe the practice of hashtagging as a way to gain likes and followers. There is a recognised connection between using hashtags and gaining likes and followers both among those who use hashtags and those who do not. Based on interviews with 16 Instagram users, we show how underlying norms regulate this practice. For example, it is technically possible to attract more views through the use of hashtags within Instagram. However, due to social norms some users dismiss that possibility.


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