Inactive content creators have mastered the algorithm—and it’s a waste of time

Social media scrolling is pushing out creativity 

Some content creators lack creativity.
Photo: 
I scroll through Instagram for a little too long most days, like most of us. It’s easy to get drawn in and addicted, especially when the algorithm caters specifically to your interests. Unfortunately, the algorithm often deems inactive, uncreative influencers as the things I want to see. 
 
I’m just one person trying to weave my way through a sea of inactive and uninteresting influencers. What comes up on my feed is a small fraction of what’s out there, but the trend is real. Some people have mastered how to maximize viewership and engagement—and wasting our precious time.
 
Inactive influencers are people who have thousands of followers and, somehow, churn out the bare minimum of content. Take, for example, the person who created one funny video, briefly went viral, and decided to reskin that one video over and over again, reaping the benefits while contributing nothing creative to the digital space. They repeat the same bit, changing one or two words in the script to appear creative.
 
Another type of inactive creator typically uses other clips and makes barebones commentary on them, barely passing the standard of fair use. One I often see on Instagram stares into the camera and plays clips of trending songs over his head, “explaining” the source of a trend.
 
Here’s the question: why do these people have the platforms they do? How can so many creators, big and small, maintain their audience and capture their attention without engaging with them creatively?
 
Inactive influencers target human curiosity and make the almighty algorithm work for them. They know how to draw an audience in and what to put in their videos to get the algorithm to preface them, which then gets more eyes on their content.
 
I’m a curious person, and once a Reel draws me in with an interesting premise, I watch the video all the way through, to have my questions answered. The algorithm catches that habit and pushes more similar videos to my feed to take up more of my time.
 
In a world where profit is prioritized over creativity, the continuous promotion of these types of content creators alienates burgeoning creatives from online spaces. Media companies don’t want to take risks, so they design sites that promote the most mindless and easy-to-consume content to make the most money in the safest way possible. 
 
Online platforms like Instagram and TikTok provide the unique opportunity for individuals to promote their creativity, when big companies won’t take a chance on them. Unfortunately, inactive influencers push out these creative, risk-taking creators.
 
It’s important to remember social media companies and their algorithms are responding to audience feedback, so the more we watch these mind-numbing videos, the more they get promoted. We can’t absolve ourselves of responsibility.
 
What’s the solution, you ask? Look away. You don’t have to let the algorithm or inactive influencers waste your time. Scroll away, to a more engaging, creative creator and support their work, or turn off your phone all together.
 
You can take your free time back.
 

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