We’ve all noticed it, even those who do not use Instagram for promoting their business or earning a bit of extra; Instagram has turned its back on us.
That may sound a bit dramatic, but at the real scheme of things it’s really not. Let’s take a quick look back just 1 year ago:
Things that were…
I took a look at my old Instagram account, on which I posted for the last time on 18th June 2018. Scrolling through the grid the first thing that strikes me is that there’s no theme or consistency about it whatsoever.
Another thing that strikes me immediately is the fact that this is a photo diary of my recent life. Important moments, which I saw good enough to take a photo of and uploading to the world to see. Happy moments.
In addition, the feed back then showed all photos from the people I followed in a chronological order, so that I could see what everyone was getting up to on that day. This was particularly great because I live abroad, away from family and friends.
That was the time Instagram was fun. There was no pressure to post regularly or with certain filters and hashtags, and I couldn’t give a toss about stories.
Things that are…
And then I started this blog. I became aware of the financial, educational and networking opportunities, which meant that I had to build a brand around the blog itself. That brand is heavily reliant on social media channels, so I started a new Instagram account.
I started thinking about how to make my feed consistent and beautiful, appealing to look at in order to gain more followers. Every time I post a photo I very carefully think through each hashtag that I use, and try to write captions that people find worth reading.
Although none of that matters anymore, because Instagram changed its algorithm so that most people who follow me will never see my photos sliding through their home screen. Likes dropped, engagement dropped, and many of us asked “What’s the point?”
The point was that Instagram was moving heavily towards video content. Stories were a huge thing, consumed much more than the grid photos. And then they launched IGTV. Pushing us all to make video content became more and more aggressive.
But what if I’m not interested in making videos? What if I have no time to shoot and learn to edit videos? What if I have nothing to say that I couldn’t say in my Stories?
Well, then my visibility and engagement suffers, what does Instagram care.
“I feel so stressed out about Instagram lately while when I started using it, it was the best. As a photographer, it was so easy to just post pictures without thinking of writing a whole story. But now it is so complex. To make it work I need a proper schedule and time to do it.”
I polled my fellow Grow & Glowers on how Instagram makes them feel these days, and Cate’s comment above is one that you hear within the blogging industry quite a lot; takes too much time and makes one feel powerless and down.
What has really shocked me, is reading bloggers’ comments on our online communities about exactly how bad the app makes them feel. These people are obsessing over their follower count and the engagement rates, and if someone with a 10K following suddenly loses 50 followers, their world collapses.
That can’t be! An entertainment application is literally destroying people’s confidence, and that is SCARY! On top of that, the new changes of hiding likes and making even fewer people see your grid posts mean that people who earn their living on the app, will see a huge decline in their income.
The impact of this app is both mental and financial. And that is not okay!
“The first thing that comes to mind honestly is stress! I have a very much love/hate relationship with Instagram at the moment.”
And some things… that have not yet come to pass
I have to say, we Glow-getters are lucky af; when the Instagram panic reached its peak, the community provided us with all the information we needed to deal with this shiz.
The fact of the matter is, Instagram is an entertainment app. Nothing less, nothing more. You may earn money out of it, but if you bet your entire income on it, that only shows your ignorance about the online world (apologies for the blunt delivery).
These applications can change their algorithms to screw you over every day if they feel like it. These apps can also disappear without warning, like Vine did. And if your income is largely dependent on such apps, now is the time to wake up and smell the hummus!
The only thing that is 100% yours, that can’t change without your consent, and that you have complete control over is your website. Whether it’s an online store, an info page or a blog, it’s yours and no algorithm can touch it.
Thankfully, pissing people off often makes them take a stand. And that’s exactly what I’m seeing happening when it comes to Instagram.
“I used to feel so down about Instagram because I was constantly comparing myself to other bloggers. But over the past few months I started unfollowing a lot of people and only followed those who sparked inspiration, not comparison. I’ve also began to care a lot less about Instagram and more about creating connections with my friends”
Just like ma gal, Lizzie, people are learning to care less about Instagram. The numbers don’t matter much when there’s a whole life to live outside of the stupid app.
Even though you don’t have control over the algorithm, you do have control over who and what you follow on the app, and how you feel when you scroll the app. If you still experience any sort of negative feelings about Instagram, do these things now:
- Unfollow all accounts that make you feel bad/unworthy/sad/guilty
- Make sure you only follow accounts that bring joy/brightness/laughter/good vibes to your day
- Put checking those statistics on hold (even if just for 1 week)
One of my favourite bloggers, Viktoria from The Lifestyle Files, sums up how we should all see and use Instagram:
“I only watch a handful of stories… A couple of bloggers that I either regularly read or ‘know’ so I have some kind of connection to them and am interested in what they are up to. Probably the common thing is that I want some kind of value out of the stories.”
It’s amazing that there isn’t yet a “replacement” for Instagram. Another app that would be exactly what Instagram used to be, and what we all loved it to be. We are living the digital age, though, so hopefully something new will pop up soon.
I’m ready for it, I wanna exit Instagram and find an inspiring platform where photos are if not more, at least as important as video content.
Anyone aware of such apps already existing or being under development? Let your gal know, please! ♥
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