I love banging on about Instagram, don’t I? Lately, I’ve completely fallen out of love with that pesky little app, so I thought I’d talk about why it’s suddenly unimportant to me right now, and why it’s perfectly okay if you feel the same way too!
Over the past few months, since I started taking less of an interest in Instagram – and therefore started plugging in less effort – I’ve (unpredictably) lost a ton of followers. I’m actually not *that* bothered about it though. Uncharacteristically so.
I think I’m just a bit sick of the games. The fickle followers. That hierarchy that makes you feel as if you’re a lesser user of the app if you don’t have thousands upon thousands of adoring followers.
A lot of people on Instagram are competitive. They only have their own best interests at heart. The community feel of the app has long gone.
The most important arbiter of a user on Instagram, and where they get to sit on the hierarchy, is that little number at the top of their profile that tells us all how many followers they have.
It isn’t really about the photography anymore, it’s becoming a popularity contest.
It’s just an app.
At the end of the day, why should we be expected to put a heap of effort into something that’s essentially just an app? It’s a social media platform. That’s all. And while it’s been drilled into bloggers like myself, from the off, that maintaining a social media presence is an important part of blogging, it really shouldn’t feel like a job if it isn’t one.
We’re backed into a corner, and made to feel as though we need to put a ton of effort into all platforms to succeed. We have to spin these plates, whether we signed up to or not.
It’s important to maintain a ‘cohesive grid aesthetic’, to post regularly (even on days where we’ve got a life to live…), and even to keep our poor followers updated on our mundane daily lives via stories now too. It’s getting a bit tiresome, I guess.
It’s a never-ending cycle of content creation designed to make us feel as if we should be putting a ridiculous amount of effort into something that, in the grand scheme of things, is entirely unimportant.
Instagram isn’t my job. I bet it isn’t yours either. It isn’t a job for the vast majority of people. So it shouldn’t feel like work…
Facebook hold all the cards.
With a blog, you’re in charge. Yes, we have to adhere to rules like ASA/CMA guidelines. But there isn’t an algorithm that favours certain bloggers over others, is there? It’s essentially a level playing field, which IG definitely isn’t these days.
If you take Insta seriously, like I did last year, it takes up a lot of effort and creativity that can be utilised and spent elsewhere. Like your blog! Or something else creative, if you aren’t a blogger.
You give in to what you know works because of the algorithm. It’s becoming the only way to grow your account.
I go to York generally once a year, on my birthday, and I feel the pressure to take hundreds of shots on that day, mainly because I know that my most-liked Instagram photos are ones that are taken of the streets of York. (It’s admittedly quite pathetic that I feel the pressure in that way, I know.)
So what do I do? I play to the algorithm… I build up a bulk of photos to see my Instagram grid through for MONTHS. It’s odd, isn’t it? How we feel the need to bend over backwards to please an app?
And what happens if you don’t post on Instagram, either to your feed or your stories, for a few days? Your engagement takes a hit the next time you post, as a punishment for daring to have a life outside Instagram. Who’d have thought in the good old days of MySpace that we’d be faffing about on social media like this?
It’s fine if you enjoy creating for Instagram, but if it isn’t your sole ‘online home’, sating the needs of the Facebook-engineered algorithm to get your account to grow takes up valuable time and creativity that can be wisely spent elsewhere.
Organic reach is plummeting across the platform, which is great for no-one except Facebook, and it’s getting ad agencies and brands concerned.
And don’t even get me started on Facebook trying to push us into paying to promote our photos to our own followers…
It drives little traffic to websites.
Do many people rock up at my blog thanks to Instagram? Honestly, no. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and search engines all drive much more traffic to this little corner of the Internet than Instagram does.
Perhaps if IG rolled out the ‘swipe up’ feature to anyone with a business account, rather than just reserving it to those who have 10K+ followers, things would be different. But they don’t, so the rest of us mere mortals see little impact from promoting our blog or website on that pesky little app.
Why should anyone, particularly bloggers, put effort into an app when the pay off is minimal?
The final word…
As I’ve already said, it is just an app. If it’s not your job, why should you make it a priority or give it precedence over any other online platform that you might inhabit?
Instagram isn’t going to be around forever, in the same way that most social media sites eventually die down, and it’s a waste of time to invest energy into something that gives you little back. Go easy on yourself, and remember that it really isn’t the end of the day if you can’t get over 10K.
Lots of people are migrating over to TikTok, which is being dubbed the ‘next big thing’. It’s not something that I’ve really considered – perhaps I’m just too old to get to grips with what’s hot, social-media-wise – but if you’re feeling the same way as I do about Insta, it could be time to jump ship to pastures new.
How do you feel about Instagram?
Liked this post? You might also enjoy: Killing Blogs, Bots & The Algorithm: The Issues I Have With Instagram, Being More Present: Why I’m Getting Sick of Creating ‘Content’, or maybe even Instagram: Is It Just A Numbers Game?