The primary reward I receive for what I publish online is interaction with you.
Some of that interaction is of high quality: namely, when you leave an interesting comment, especially one that teaches me something I didn’t know or helps me see something from a different perspective.
But most of what I get is in the form of likes. Or hearts or upvotes or favorites or claps or whatever it’s called on whichever platform I’m on. It’s a form of acknowledgement that whatever I posted resonated somehow.
One of those platforms is Imgur (here’s my user page), where Imgurians call them “fake Internet points.” Being Imgur, there are memes.
It is fashionable now to pooh-pooh chasing after fake Internet points. Chasing them is, at the end of the day, a waste of time and accomplishes little.
Yet each fake Internet point delivers a small dopamine hit. In moderation, what’s wrong with that?
The primary place I go for fake Internet points is Instagram. I have tried to use it as a way of promoting this blog’s film-photography posts, but it’s not really working. I might get one or two clickthroughs from each Instagram post.
But my followers keep clicking the little heart on my posts, and it feels good to get them.
When you chase fake Internet points you need to consider return on investment and opportunity cost. Do the good feelings you get from likes, favorites, et. al., seem like a reasonable reward for the time you spent posting? And would that time you spent posting have been better spent doing something else?
I make time to write in this blog: I get up early and write in it each morning. It’s because the reward I’ve received for doing it seems to be worth it. Your comments have taught me so much. They’ve also affirmed me as a photographer. Also, it’s just smashing fun when one of my posts gets shared around the Internet and gets a lot of visits. But most importantly, I’ve found community through this blog and many other photography blogs.
I post to Instagram opportunistically, that is, when I have some downtime that I couldn’t profitably use in some other way. When you find a new Instagram post from me, you can assume I had five minutes between appointments with little to do but wait. It’s a nice use of my wait time for the return I get in those sweet, sweet fake Internet points.