Instagram is absolutely killing me at the moment. It feels like I put so much effort into it for absolutely nothing at all in return. I don’t think people get to see my posts and my likes are going down and down. Whenever I do get a new follower, I know they just want me to follow them back. Is there anyone genuine anymore? Is anyone on Instagram real anymore?
I remember those carefree days when I started my Instagram account. It was spontaneous, it was about posting a picture when I felt like it, of whatever I felt like. I put crazy dark filters over all of them, and blurred white edges around them because I was experimenting with what was available. I followed whoever I wanted to, not caring if they followed me back, because I just wanted to see their pictures. I wanted a snapshot into their lives.
So what’s changed now?
Now Instagram feels a bit like a competition. A competition that you’re winning if you’re gaining followers and losing if you’re not. I’ve been stuck at 800 odd followers for what feels like forever and I feel like I’m losing at Instagram.
But why do I care? What does it matter if more people follow me?
Well for me, I put so much time and effort into curating my pictures, picking hashtags and maintaining a bright and colourful theme, it just feels completely pointless if no one appreciates it. I’d love to be one of those people who creates for the hell of it but I rarely am – a huge part of the pleasure of creation for me comes from the effect it has on other people in the world. I want to make an impact.
Every time a notification pops up on my phone saying someone has followed me, my eyes roll because I know they will have unfollowed me again a few days later if I don’t follow them back. No one seems to follow me who actually likes what I post, they all want something back from me.
I’m a member of a few comment pods – I’m not ashamed of that. I don’t see them as the same as using bots – I don’t pay for them, I make genuine comments on people whose accounts I might not have found if I wasn’t in a group with them. I love the support I am able to give other bloggers. I’ve also left groups when I end up with people whose content I don’t genuinely enjoy looking at. Because otherwise what’s the point?
Of course the dreaded algorithm changes that Instagram keeps making every month or so doesn’t help. I find myself scrolling through my feed and seeing pictures from two or three days ago. I just don’t understand it – I’m missing out on all of my favourite accounts for no reason.
Instagram is so frustrating – and there are so many opportunities to be had from doing well – that I’m not surprised that people pay for followers or use bots. I don’t agree with it, but there are certainly times when the thought has crossed my mind. If you have a large following, you get rewarded: PR companies don’t seem to care whether they are engaged followers or not. But that’s a whole other conversation I am not getting into here!
Instagram and mental health
Did you see that recent report from the BBC that said that Instagram has the worst impact on mental health out of all types of social media? I totally get it. Not only do you only see very carefully curated, edited and filtered images on the site, but you start to live for the post that breaks 100 likes or 200 likes, or 1,000 likes. You start to feel validated by how much people like your posts on a platform. And that is so dangerous.
I regularly step back from social media – in fact, I’m pretty quiet online most weekends – because I like a bit of screen down time and there’s only so much stalking I can do in one week. I’d strongly recommend it.
What do you think?
How do you feel about Instagram? Do you enjoy it? Do you feel like it’s a chore? Do you feel like you have genuinely engaged followers who enjoy what you post? Oh hey, and if you wanna check out my Instagram account, it’s here!
Please share with me your thoughts below – I’d love to feel like I’m not the only one!