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Design

Take Your Instagram Lurking to the Next Level

You know you've been scrolling your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend’s profile page.
September 24, 2015, 4:45pm

A photo posted by @oliviaorchowski on Sep 10, 2015 at 7:34pm PDT

We’ve all been there—68 weeks deep into an Instagram profile, sneering at the use of Toaster, when your finger accidentally double taps and the whole world comes crumbling down. An accidental like for any seasoned lurker is embarrassing, to say the least. Now there’s an app for that.

Enter Instasnoop, a third-party app designed specifically with next-level lurking in mind. The option to like an image is gone, so you’ll never experience the aforementioned situation. You can also collate lists of people you love to lurk without having to follow their profiles. You can add images to your ‘Snooplist’ too, as well as being able to zoom in on photos, and see who you and another user mutually follow. Creepy? Genius? You decide. We spoke with Instasnoop creator, Olivia Orchowskimodel by day, app developer by night.

A photo posted by @oliviaorchowski on Sep 21, 2015 at 8:49pm PDT

The Creators Project: In the release for Instasnoop you said you got the idea for the app when you almost accidentally liked an image on a profile you "definitely shouldn’t have been on.” More details please!

Olivia Orchowski: I’ll own it, I was on an ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend’s profile page. Cue adrenaline rush, heart beating out of my chest, and nearly dying from embarrassment.

Have you had any other awkward experiences with lurking, like accidentally thinking you know someone in real life when in actual fact you only know them online?

This actually happens far too often for my liking. I became friends with a girl at uni because I couldn’t figure out where we’d met, when in actual fact I’d just been on her Instagram page. Of course, I have zero brain to mouth filter so I told her that I’d been on her page before. Luckily she thought it was just as hilarious as I did (or did she? I actually don’t quite know).

What was the process like developing and launching the app? Have you had any previous experience with app design/development?

The process was relatively easy in that we had a good little team, but there definitely were speed bumps along the way. I’d never had any experience with app design or development, so after I had the idea I contacted my friend Nic, who became my business partner in the venture. Nic is a graphic designer and all-round tech nerd, so together we built this app with our developer Ben. Nic created designs that are so slick and cool, and Ben pulled it all together with his seamless coding. As this app is very much suited to my generation and demographic, the interface and features Instasnoop offers came to us like a snowball effect once I had the initial idea of not being able to like an image. There were bugs we had to iron out—Apple is very specific about what they require apps in the app store to do—but all in all it wasn’t too tedious.

You don’t look like a stereotypical app developer... Are people ever surprised when you tell them what you do as a side project?

I think that there’s this stereotype of what an app developer or someone who’s gifted with technology looks like, or does with the rest of their time. I’ve always had an interest in technology, and I really do think it’s cool that there’s an app for everything these days, but yeah, I guess I don’t really fit the stereotype of someone who’s highly interested by apps and technology.

A photo posted by @oliviaorchowski on Sep 13, 2015 at 7:16pm PDT

How much time a day do you spend on Instagram?

I spend an obscene amount of time online every day, not just on Instagram. I like being in the know about what’s going on in the world, whether that’s countries in the EU re-establishing borders in an attempt to deal with refugees or a new video of a dog doing something ridiculously cute, I like seeing it as soon as it hits the internet. 

How has Instasnoop been received so far?

It’s been very positively received! People are excited that their blunders of the past, although unable to be undone, won’t be repeated.  

**Do you think there’s any negative psychological effects of lurking—like comparing ourselves to other people—and how do we keep our lurking lighthearted? **

I think anything can get out of control. It becomes an issue when we’re unable to stop ourselves and have no support base to help us, like with any addiction. Social media is such a huge part of our lives, it’s difficult to limit our use of it or say what is an appropriate amount of time to spend on it. I think if you’re unable to go a day without having a bit of a snoop on Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat/Twitter, your thoughts are totally consumed with seeing what certain people are doing, or your friends and family begin to comment on the fact that you spend x-amount of time looking at certain profiles, then it becomes an issue. It’s definitely important to remember that people only show 10% of what they want social media to see, so always remember that no matter how much time you spend looking at someone’s social media accounts you’ll never have a full picture [of their real life].

The Instasnoop interface—see who you mutually follow in your network, and bookmark users on your Snooplist without having to follow them (image via the app store)

Would you be creeped out if people lurk you as hard as you lurk them?

There have been a few times where someone has liked something from several weeks back on my page, but I generally just giggle to myself because they were interested enough to view my page and not get bored after one or two images. I tend to think of it as a faux pas. 

As someone who has 13K followers, you must know a thing or two about Instagram. What’s your biggest Instagram DO and your biggest Instagram DON’T?

I think with any social network, it’s important to know what your following is and engage with them. So when you keep that in mind, it’s easy to know what you should and shouldn’t post as every page will be different. My DO is to post pictures around health and fitness, as I’m a personal trainer as well, because there’s a lot of people who like seeing these things. Michelle Lewin actually said it perfectly in an interview, when she said the reason she posts the pictures she does isn’t because she wants the attention or necessarily wants to post the image, but it’s what her followers like seeing and engaging with. My biggest DON’T is that I won’t post images that give away too much about my private life.

A photo posted by @oliviaorchowski on Aug 3, 2015 at 6:33pm PDT

A photo posted by @oliviaorchowski on Aug 2, 2015 at 9:19pm PDT

You can download Instasnoop here and follow lurk Olivia on Instagram here.

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