About two weeks later I discovered an interesting challenge and felt excited to join in. Said and done. A friend of mine, also an Instagram user, became curious about the entries and used the challenge's hashtag to see the images that were posted. As they were less than eighty at that point, it was very easy to browse through all of them.
He scrolled down to the last post and said to me: "your image is not here, did you upload it?" I answered that yes, about six hours ago. Long story short, he was right: my image simply wasn't appearing on his list, even though we were mutually followers to each other's accounts. Thinking that something went wrong with my upload, I deleted the image and uploaded it again. The same thing happened, my friend just could not see it.
Because the challenge was weekly, it had a different hashtag each week. I decided to pay attention to the following week's entries and make some tests from my personal account. And sure enough, there it was again, the same problem dressed in different cloths: when using the hashtag, the message read "41 posts" but when counting the images, I could see only 35.
Now the question was: did my account had limitations both in my visibility to others, as well as my ability to see other accounts?
In trying to figure out what was happening, I made three more accounts and posted in each of them the same image with the same hashtag. So all three were identical. To my surprise, their functionality (i.e. visibility) was different: depending on which account I was logged in, I could see different posts when using a hashtag search. Which proved that not only the visibility was partial, it was also quite random.
I reported the problem to Instagram (twice) and nothing happened.
Now it makes me think, what is it? Is it a software bug? If yes, why don't they fix it? And if it's not a bug, but a feature (meaning that it all works as it's supposed to) and there really are some levels of visibility that you need to climb up, why is this not made public? And what are the rules for raising your visibility level?
The way I see now working with Instagram is similar to the situation when somebody recommends me this great professional business-man, who makes things happen and launches you to success. Of course I am ignorantly trusting and thinking "oh man, I really can make it with some help from this guy". And then I catch him red-handed and unapologetic in messing up people's businesses.
Now, on one hand I know he truly is an influencer and a potential step to achieving my dream, on the other hand though I know he is also sloppy, unprofessional, and simply doesn't care. I don't know which of these two personalities I will have to deal with. Maybe he will help, maybe he will just waste my time. Do I want to work with him?...