From Social Media

Working For Instagram And The Great Dis”Content”Ment (2min Read)


The absolute irony of trying to use Instagram to market a video production service that deals largely in widescreen cinematic shots is not lost on me, infact it quite annoys me if asked. I think it a challenge someone could enjoy the enormous vast expanse or perspective a video stream from a camera 300 meters up delivers on a mobile phone screen running an app that further crops the image down to such a small and insignificant scale that the only video that looks slightly interesting or vibrant is that of a close up of a blossoming flower or smiling pet cat.

So the dilemma goes! How to get cinematic images seen and enjoyed at scale without having access to the channels for traditional cinema or the required relationships to get on the big screen?


I've begun experimenting using short clips on Instagram to drive traffic to the full length video on YouTube, but as you may know if you use Instagram regularly- which apparently a billion of you do, there is no way to put hyper links in the description, this i am fairly sure is possible if you are willing to pay Instagram but do you know what! – i am not willing to pay them, not a damn penny; for the more money you sink in to these social media channels the more deeper and deeper you become reliant on them for your business to succeed on these platforms, and that feels like a dangerous road to travel.

Sure social media is a good way to get your creative work/business seen, especially if you are not a commercial enterprise but perhaps more of a small business or creative however, how many of these small enterprises are actually measuring their ROI when it comes to social media marketing, and is there even a valid way to do such analysis considering the ever increasing use of bots? And how many young companies and entrepreneurs are building audiences on a platform that is likely to become more and more closed off? – especially if their parent Facebooks behaviour is anything to go by.


I am not content with the term "content" it implies the work creatives do is just something to be put inside something else while the audience waits for the next "content" to be put in, and repeat. It feels fleeting, momentary like no body actually cares about the work; it some how looses its artistic credibility, its process, its purpose. If all i did was create content for Instagram, my primary compensation would be paid out in hearts and bot generated comments – which are infuriatingly obvious as they are essentially meaningless, see a recent blog post i made regarding this subject here.


I have come to the conclusion that the reason to keep posting "content" on Instagram is largely related to Gary Vs Jab Jab Jab Right Hook theory where one needs to stay front of mind, by regularly jabbing your audience with "content" this way you might, if your lucky stay front of mind amongst many many many others trying the same tack tick.

Long term i think we will see more distributed version of these platforms, as people begin to learn that they themselves are able to collectively monitor their social media behaviours for the good of all the users, ideally minus the boheameth middle man entity. (See Steemit for a glimpse in to the future) The users themselves collectively will become the boheimetih and will prosper financially together, i give it another 5 to 10 years though. Hopefully not – but people are fickle and the internet is an ever confusing place, likely to get more confusing over time. How would you suggest moving people to a new ultimately more self beneficial platform? Sounds impossible right?


In the end as long as you don't get to siloed in your own beliefes and try to remain open to new opportunities you will discover there is a world of new opportunities out there, especially for so called "Content creators" however be conscious of the inevitable race to the bottom, sites like Fiverr and UpWork put creatives and developers at loggerheads in a quantity vs quality environment, its an unfortunate byproduct of our age, but if you can identify your unique stance, you will have an advantage in the space, this is where I believe your "local" is important i think. look around you, what can you do for those in your immediate vercintiy? Also check out this article on The Drum to see what Proctor and gamble recently did with their digital ad expenditure, i think a clear sign of the future.

Featured Artwork:

Artist: Rich Tella
Medium: Digital Video feedback-loop projection on to Pendulum Monitor
Date: 2006
Location: Exeter

Strictly no elephants (Qwids Cross-Post)

tumblr_lje1v8AD2j1qao9g9o1_500BETA UPDATE #8

Question. Can the customer of your customer, also be considered your customer? Immediate reaction, “Well no, not really.” Secondary reaction, “I guess it depends on where your business stands in the relationship between your customer and the customers customer. Something i missed in a previous post. 

For Qwids it’s crystal clear that we are not so much placed between our customers and our customers customers, so much as we can be a tool for each party to interact with the other, or, that we are perhaps a destination (online space) for one party to interact with the other. In regards to what we have learned, we have realised that brands can have a hard time moving to a new destination, (or “Platform” as it’s often called in the hyper-tech-startup scene) if it is not already populated with a substantial amount of users.

This, we understand is largely due to the brand’s perception in the difficulty around moving their customers (or users) on to that shiny new platform. We are already slowly building up our user base, as you are likely aware it takes some time and without a fully functional service (Native App with access to camera/device notifications) it can be a slow process. So, for the time in which it takes for the Qwids Apps to be ready (in around June) we are going to be making use of a third party solution called MightyBell. Although it doesn’t give the brand’s using Qwids everything they could benefit from right away, it does give them the ability to notify Qwids users via mobile device notifications of new missions and offers, something we haven’t been able to do up to now. It also provides a place for Qwids users to trade their qwids, (remember lower case “q” is for qwids the points, upper case “Q” is for the service name) share missions, make suggestions on missions and offers, and general chit chat around the service, also via mobile device notifications.

If you are a Qwids user already head to to join other users and help us test with the early adopter brands to help them identify the potential of the Qwids service, we would love to hear your questions. If you are just curious and want to check the scene at, come on over also, just please bare in mind we are Sweden based at the moment and so the brands we are working with only operate within Sweden, of course if you are travelling to Sweden in the coming weeks feel free to try some mission out and claim your offers when you arrive.

Qwids Team



“On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Bot” (Qwids-CrossPost)


“Brilliant! Best one so far” – Bot #2395895


When it comes to real genuine human relationships, how many of you would choose to automate the majority of your person to person interactions? How might it make the person you are talking to feel if they found out they were talking to a bot instead of you? I ask this question because many people today are saying the bot’s are coming – it is my opinion they are already here, and chances are you have spoken or interacted with one online without realising.

Last month I decided to try a few of these bot services out, one such service states on its website:

“Our main goal has always been to create user-friendly Instagram automation tool that mimic one’s natural behavior.”

The thing with ‘mimicking one’s natural behavior’ is that it suggests there is such a thing as natural behavior on the internet. When I ran the free version of the bot, I had the choice to make automated comments on other users Instagram post that had some predefined rules associated with them, (think hashtags) – the standard choices for comments were as follows, although you can add your own:


“Pretty Awesome :)” – Bot #239529228


Instagrammers – as you look at those comments above, do any of them stand out for you, perhaps you have seen them before on your own posts? Share your bot stories in our Facebook group

When I ran this bot on the @qwidsbiz Instagram account sure enough, engagement went up – in terms of other bots responding back to our Qwids Instagram posts, but the whole affair left me feeling quite ridiculous, and a few weeks later after speaking with my younger brother, (23 year old) he asked me why i had left that comment on his post on Instagram, he said it didn’t seem like me at all. I quickly came clean and told him I was trying this bot service which goes out and does some interactions on Instagram automatically, his reaction was that of disappointment sprinkled with a little anger. He felt that I had stooped to a new low, I explained I was researching exactly this topic:

– how do these types of tools make the end receiver feel?


This feeling of anger and disappointment was later re-confirmed to me by another friend who had gotten very excited about a very popular Swedish pianist commenting on her Instagram post. With great excitement my friend shouted out loud, “oh my god, he commented on my post” I responded – “Who?” As I looked at my friend’s post and the comment from the famous pianist – low and behold, I noticed it was exactly one of the ‘comments’ offered by the service I refer to above in this post, “Such an inspiration” the comment said. I didn’t know what to say, I paused a moment, and then i blurted it out – “That’s a bot!” My friend responded what do you mean? -I responded – “it’s an automated comment” I watched as the realisation washed over my friend’s face, closely followed my anger and confusion. She felt duped, I said not to worry too much, “this is happening all the time to everyone, and not only on Instagram” my comment didn’t seem to make the situation any better.

People of the internet! – Have you been in conversation with bot’s you thought were real people? Or people you thought might be bot’s? How was your experience when you found out? Did you ever find out?

Please consider sharing your stories with us in the facebook group – bot’s welcome?


“Enjoyable content! Thankyou.” – Bot #239511123


Mr Qwids,

Qwids App on Google Play
Qwids App on Apple App Store

Pictivism. An Oh Dearism Solution?

Subject of interest #191301 – Oh Dearism

“A Short film about how mainstream media simplify complex events and present them as “scattered terrible things happening everywhere, Oh Dear”, leaving the public feeling powerless to do anything about them”

In this post i would like to begin to explore the concept and relationship between the short film by Adam Curtis titled Oh Dearism, (first broadcast in 2009 on Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe, in the third episode of the first series) and how todays customers (News Producers) and users (Jo-Publicq) of Social Media companies experience similar techniques.

At the heart of the concept of Oh Dearism is powerlessness, it’s something we all feel when we watch/read/hear a news item on some terrible occurrence. I have felt it and i have seen it in others discomfort, and utter confusion in their powerlessness to do anything about the disaster unfolding in front of them, it’s as if they were right there at the scene of the tragedy but are somehow being pinned down by a great weight – unable to take action, the resulting emotion is dread mixed with defeat.

“Well, what can i do?” …best just switch over the channel – “ah! look Grand Designs!” …aaaand escape.

Our Mirror neurons allow us to transcend time and space through our screens, it’s part of what makes the visual format so stimulating; and why as humans we often spend way too much time transcending time and space, when we ought to perhaps be spending more quality time with loved ones and exploring outside our comfort zone.

Oh Dearism hinges on the premise that i see something… i feel something… i feel i can do… nothing. This is understandable when applied to the one-directional TV format of yesteryear but what about the format of todays… er, year? Social Media, it could be argued is the opposite – all empowering, engaging, all encompassing even! I see something… i feel something… i feel i can do… something. Furthermore it lets us get completely wrapped up in the something we want to do something about, so we do something right?

Subject of interest #1357301 – Pictivism

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 08.38.13.png

We’ve all seen it by now, something happens somewhere in the world that reaches the top of the world news agenda for days, sometimes weeks. People feel an emotional reaction and look for solutions on how to signal they care, they see some friends on social media have changed their profile pics to highlight they are thinking about said news item – people join in, resulting in sometimes millions of profile pictures turning a certain color or national flag for a brief time.

The resulting feeling; i did something! – no more Oh Dearism, i can rest easy – i made a change, a contribution, and now all my friends know it – maybe they will also change their profile pictures too and then we can all feel part of this change movement. Result!

Have you changed your profile picture to support a cause? How did it make you feel? Have you done it again since? I am keen to understand the resulting emotion you felt immediately after, 24 hours after, 7 days after etc – did the feeling diminish? When did you change your profile back again? How did you know when you had gotten the change you desired?

Feel free to leave your comment below or tweet me @richtella


Geek-Tech Advertising

After spending quite some time now figuring out where Qwids can fit into the marketplace here in Sweden, I recently happened across an article called: “Social media marketing’ is completely useless – but it could be a lot better”

This article (By ) impacted me greatly and appeared to somewhat reaffirm my personal thoughts around engagement on social media. In the article he repeatedly shows us how people do not have any interest in engaging with brands; providing a comical example in the form of a real life situation.

“imagine yourself entering a supermarket. Ask random people – normal people, not marketers – if they want to “have a relationship” with any of the products in their shopping carts. They’ll probably punch you in the face for being a pervert. (Due credit: Ad Contrarian Bob Hoffman’s “Refrigerator Test” was the inspiration for this example.)”

If people do not, and likely will not, engage with brands in the social media sphere then the author recommends his solution is simply to:

“treat social media platforms merely as new, additional channels over which marketers can choose to do traditional marketing activities.”

For me this feels a little ‘one step forward, two steps back’ He sights the Lexus hoverboard commercial as a great example. “That is not ‘social media marketing’ – it is doing brand advertising over social media channels.” he says.

The thing is; being from a skateboarding background myself and being a little tech geeky too, while the video was entertaining and as the author of the article states it had 14m views, how much of that brand advertising converted in to orders for Lexus? and how much of it disappointed viewers when they discovered; as stated in one of the top comments on the youtube video:

“They aren’t marketing the board. It’s never going into mass production. It’s a geek tech advertising for Lexus cars. It’s using superconductor technology that has been around for a century.” 

Imagine for a second (as did the author of the article in his supermarket example above) that next time you interacted with a car salesperson at your local car dealer, they navigated you away from the cars and over to a shelf with an extremely beautifully designed quadcopter, the salesperson takes you outside and shows you what it’s capable of by flying it around.

As you stand there watching the car salesperson fly the super cool quadcopter around the skies with great ease and dexterity, at which point are you thinking – i really need that quadcopter, how can i buy one? – and at which point are you thinking – i am sure i came here for a car, what is happening right now?