I had a dream last night that I started posting pictures of myself and what I look like most days. And what I look like most days is tired, pale, with crazy hair. But on my actual timeline you see the version that takes a little bit of work: my hair is usually done and I have some make up on. I don’t think the real me would be very inspiring to many and elicit many likes. So this and my nightmare got me wondering “why am I doing this”?
The positive reasons I spend time on Instagram are:
1. I stay connected to friends near and far
2. I build new friendships and a community of people with whom I have things in common
3. It helps get eyes on my blog content which is written to inspire people
I go back and forth so often about whether or not to be active on social media, that I wonder what the hell is wrong with me. I’m generally a decisive person, but not with social media. I’ve already essentially departed from Facebook, so I decided to focus more of my time instead on Instagram. Apart from building my community, I enjoy looking at and sharing images of my friends, fashion, travel, and animals.
But things have changed with Instagram from the early days. They changed their algorithm away from chronological postings to posts that are liked or commented on very quickly upon. In other words, whomever is winning the popularity contest, will get seen. So with all of these changes, I figured I better adapt and tighten what my timeline was going to look like and what my stories would feel like. I decided I was going to make my timeline more fashion inspiration based, and make my stories more daily life stuff. I really believed I could build a niche community and offer up some ideas and inspiration. At this point, about 3 months ago, I was spending about 10-15 hours a week just taking selfies and prepping and planning when I was going to post my content. I was really buying into the bullshit of it all. It was smelling so fake to me.
While I was now putting in the time I really wasn’t attracting more followers. My ‘likes’ weren’t anything exciting and for every new follower I gained I lost one (I have no idea why). I certainly wasn’t making money, and I doubt I was making any difference in the world or in someone’s life. I have 1,358 followers. Micro influencers are defined as having 25,000 to 500,000. That’s a lol. So again why even bother?
If my goal is to help people and share my life amongst friends, Instagram sure doesn’t seem to be the way to do it. I decided to open my eyes in order to make an informed decision about staying or going.
- I heard on the news that over 60% of users are between 16-24 years old with over 80 million daily posts. Good luck finding my mediocre images way outside the wheelhouse of most users.
- I also just started not feeling good about what I was seeing. I can’t even stomach the box openings and sponsored posts of the folks I follow. I watched one influencer’s Insta story saying she doesn’t even look at Insta for joy anymore, she’s only on it to get more likes, and self promote. Ugh
- I found myself hating myself a little each time I posted a picture of myself. I had these mixed feelings when people told me they loved my outfit or that I looked gorgeous. It feels like I’m Thirst trapping. Am I tone deaf to my own message of positive body image, dispelling beauty standards and empowerment of women by sending out these images?
- Finally I read this interview with the late Anthony Bourdain. He made this reference about Sarah Prickett, a journalist, editor and art critic and it made me self reflect and feel even more crappy about what I was doing:
Bourdain: I made a list of writers I like and somebody said “Where are the women writers?” and I’d said Patricia Highsmith and Joan Didion! And somebody said, “They don’t count.” “They don’t count as women”-?! Anyway. Prickett (Sarah) just writes about fashion and like, it’s the most self-involved twitter feed by a really smart person that drives me out of my mind. Disproportionate to the offense
Am I disproportionate to the offense too? Good lord I hope not. So what did I conclude for myself with all of this? I’m thinking of just going back to writing my opinion pieces on my blog. But…I don’t think I’m going to quit you entirely yet Instagram because I’d like to stay in touch with my friends, even though you’re making it pretty hard to do so.
Am I the only one struggling with this? Would love to hear your opinion about your relationship with Instagram and other social media. Thanks for reading, Pamela
P.S. I highly recommend reading this Anthony Bourdain interview I referenced. It will give you lots of great things to think about
P.S.S. Here’s my link to my Instagram page if you want to follow me there. I thought it would be funny for me to add this to this post.