How to view Instagram photos past the new limits

(More accurately, how to stalk people on Instagram without having an account yourself.)

I always derive so much joy from doing this. And in fact, my Instagram-stalking skills came to my aid when I worked as a writer at WIRED for a summer.

But recently, Instagram made it harder to stalk people. They made it so that you can’t endlessly scroll through the pictures of an account, even accounts that are set to “public”, not private. Now, if you scroll just a bit, the pictures disappear, and metaphorical jail-cell window-bars appear, and an Instagram commandment orders you to log in if you want to continue browsing pictures. And it’s even more restrictive if you’re on a mobile phone.

Now, I don’t have an Instagram account and don’t plan on inviting Facebook-owned companies further into my life. So I thought I would have to just give up on peeking into the lives of the people that I lurk after. A lot of those people have their accounts set to “private”; but if you industriously visit their pages with regular frequency, I have found that almost every one, from time to time, sets their account to “public”. They must be trying to share their photos with some family member without an Instagram account. If you happen upon their account at such an interval, then you are in for a great binge of their photos! There was this lady who had 700 photos on her Instagram, all secretively locked away as ‘private’; and then, after months and months of lurking about, one day, all of a sudden, it was set to public! It’s always exciting when this happens.

But with the new Instagram rules, it doesn’t matter, because even if the account is set to public, you still can’t scroll past more than like 50 of those 700 photos.

But I discovered a work-around the other day. I don’t know how long it will be available, but it works for now. Go to the Instagram page of whoever you want to lurk after, click on any of the photos that you can see. Then, keep clicking on the “right” arrow to get to the next photo. And then the next photo. And then the next. When I did it this way, there seemed to be no limit to how far back in time you can go among the photos. It takes longer, of course, to dive back than if if you could just quickly scroll down the page, but you get there in the end!

The YouTube sleeper

I think a “sleeper” is a movie that no one thinks is going to do that well, and then it takes over the box office.

My YouTube videos are like that, if you chop off the “takes over” part. My videos are like David and Goliath, but David loses.

Any case, I think people are interested in how videos gain popularity on YouTube, so let me throw in what I know, from the perspective of running a very over-looked channel.

I made a movie called: Ariana Grande singing about climate change.

I think it’s quite nice, you know … I think I used some good and steady animation techniques in it overall. It’s clear and to the point.

Well, I posted it in November 2017, and for almost its entire life, it had 87 views. It got those views early on, I honestly don’t know how. And then it just stayed at 87 views.

Then some time, last April or May, it all of a sudden shot up (yes, for me, this counts as shooting up) to 95, and then 99, and then past 100. I was really surprised. I didn’t do anything at all to bring this feat about. I don’t know if someone found the video, randomly, and then shared it on Facebook or something. Or if it all of a sudden became a “suggested video” on the side column of another YouTube video.

Well, when I saw it on the move like that, I thought, wow! A video of mine is going to ‘make it’! I kept checking every day to see if the view count was increasing (things were very slow at work) and it was increasing, so I thought: my video (and I) are invincible now! I thought people must be sharing it excitedly across all their platforms! Pretty soon, it approached 187 views!

Not so fast. The view count was still going up, but by less and less. I finally decided to get to the bottom of things and checked the official YouTube stats. Compared to the leaps and bounds I’d thought the video was increasing by, the reality was much more tame. Yeah, it had increased by 100 views, but there wasn’t really a big burst anywhere. By the stats, it went up by about 15 views suddenly in one day, and that was how it started; then maybe 10 the next; then bounced around with 3-4 extra views a day for the next few weeks, till that dwindled to 1-2 views a day. My invincibility wasn’t so invincible after all. I realized that there was actually no infinite momentum; the 15+ views must have been a fluke, and now I was going to have to settle for 1-2 views until it dropped back to zero.

These days it’s kind of like stop-and-go traffic. The view count doesn’t move at all some days. Some days it gets 4 views. It’s at 301 today. Which is pretty extraordinary for me. Everything else grows by 10 views in an entire year. This is the first of my animations to grow by over 200 views within the space of about 4 months. No idea where it will go from here.