Weekend Humor: Banned Hashtags Find Home on Instatag

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Instagram for the iPad (1 of 1)ISO 2001-20 sec at f - 4.0

Weekend Humor isn’t meant to be taken seriously. So don’t, ya rube.

Instagram has recently banned more hashtags in effort to squash drug sales. It’s high time Instagram finally did something to at least try to quell nefarious activity. Those banned hashtags, however, have found new life in a new service called Instatag. The illicit tags join the general tags: #iphone, #photography and #popular among them. The service hit a brick wall on iOS, but has been released on Android.

“What we wanted to do was give people a place to do whatever they want,” said Malcolm Parks, the founder of Instatag. “It’s a hell of a drag that Instagram had to ban those tags, but fortunately there’s a place for them now.”

Instatag works with general hashtags. On Instagram, you could write something like #portraitofadanceratmidday. To find that image on Instatag, you would write #photography. Unfortunately, Instatag’s algorithms would force you to wade through millions of photos to find the one you want. Instagram allows hyper-specific hashtags so that individual users can gain recognition, but Instatag differs in that it allows everyone a chance to gain recognition.

Parks decided early on to ban hyper-specific hashtags. “No one’s really going to know to type #raindrophangingoffthetipofmyfinger,” he said. “Besides, it’s impossible to read.” Instatag has essentially fractured the mobile photography community, and Parks doesn’t seem to mind that most of Instatag’s users don’t know what they’re looking for.

Instatag has, however, given rise to a booming marketplace with independent growers posting images of their latest crops. Type #goodtime, and you’ll find an assortment of products. The sellers typically keep the same username on various dedicated messaging clients, and urge prospective customers to find them there. This marketplace has earned itself the nickname “Instadime.”

Parks expressed indifference when Instadime was mentioned. He said, “Who am I to judge?”

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