It happens frequently. Your phone lights up with the cute little rainbow Instagram icon and a message indicating that some name you don’t recognize has followed you. But as you look closer, your mild excitement quickly turns into sour disappointment. The handle consists of a first name – usually of Eastern European or Latin influence – followed by an underscore, some X’s, and no fewer than six numbers. They have posted no photos. Their profile picture is of a human anus. Their bio is a link and some dirty talk in broken English. You may deny their follow request, ignore them, or even report them if you’re one of those people who has time to make the world a better place.
But maybe we’re looking at this the wrong way. Maybe there is a certain artistic attention they are owed. Maybe Instagram spam bots are paving the way for modern abstract poetry.
I collected the bios of several offenders that have followed me in the past few weeks with the intention of seeing them below the surface. I intend to analyze them with an eye of artistic appreciation. Whether or not my analysis is accurate is not the concern. My aim is simply to open a forum in which pundits of the arts can discuss a brand new genre of poetry.
Hello. My Id is Nicole790. Follow me on site now. I’m waiting for you, sweety.
Nicole starts us off with no frills. She appreciates the beauty of the minimal. Even the word “the” is fluff as far as she is concerned. She probably eats her cereal dry and uses bar soap. I would tentatively place this at the quieter end of the spectrum.
Hi to all bad guys! Who wanna pull me out? Wait for busywork with you! Just CLICK here! *finger pointing down emoji*
We start off wonderfully with her referring to me as a “bad guy.” Bet your ass I’m hanging on to that one. But things quickly take a turn for the dark in her next two sentences. She wants the reader to pull her out of something – implying a figurative or literal dungeon-like dwelling – just to offer a vague promise of “busywork.” Cryptic and ever so intriguing, just like the ominous link hanging dangerously below.
Hello, love)) My page with eroti* photos on the w e b site *down arrow emoji*
We see our first nod to the authoritative censorship Instagram has imposed upon these artists by screening words like “erotic” and “website.” The only way this voice can be heard is through the muffling filter installed by corporate giant that is the very medium upon which her voice so heavily relies. Tragically beautiful.
Hi! *kiss emoji* My name is Cynthia! *yellow heart emoji* I want to meet a man for love! *heart eyes emoji* check link – my nickname – cynthiadiaz *blushing smiley emoji* I’ll wait for you *yellow heart emoji, blushing smile emoji, halo emoji*
Oh, sweet, demure Cynthia. Where her counterparts aggressively compete for our attention, Cynthia’s intentions are conveyed purely and innocently. The lines “I want to meet a man for love” and “I’ll wait for you” speak to society’s expectation that femininity is inherently deferential. The liberal use of emojis serves to further the youthful tone. The key to this one’s beauty lies in its continuity.
Man! How are you? *red lips emoji*
Wanna S E X with my holes?
If yes, check the link here right NOW!
I know personal preference has no place in serious art criticism, but if I had to choose a favorite, this would be it. We have our allusion to the above referenced Orwellian censorship, combined masterfully with a clever euphemism known colloquially to mean certain bodily orifices. I know this particular genre is still in its infancy, but I am willing to risk my credibility to say we have ourselves an early classic.
HI,GUYS! *three pink heart emojis* I’M 22 YEARS OLD AND I’M VERY HOT! *three kiss emojis* I LOVE SEX AND HOT BOYS *heart emoji, kiss emoji* IF U WANNA FUCK ME PLZ *three arrow emojis* CLICK ON *link*
This is a stark contrast to the subtlety of the work from artists like Nicole and Cynthia. We have in front of us now an example found on the opposite end of the spectrum, showing the sheer range of this genre. This young lady illustrates perfectly that artfulness and enthusiasm are by no means mutually exclusive.
HI!! SEE MY INDECENT PHOTOS ON MY PAGE *bikini emoji* *finger pointing down emoji*
Another example of how an in-your-face cadence can certainly be approached with grace and candor. Notice the use of the word “indecent.” Unlike the examples above, this choice is less an acknowledgment of some abstract upper hand dictating the conditions under which it facilitates communication, but more an exercise of poetic discretion intended to differentiate oneself from peers.
The next time you are followed by an Instagram spam bot, consider taking a screenshot for posterity before deleting the request. Your hand is needed in preserving a naturally unsustainable art form. Maybe someday these bios will be widely regarded for the works of art they truly are. Or maybe Instagram will finally get its shit together and keep these assholes the fuck out of my mentions..
Image via Shutterstock