‘Doing it for the ‘gram’ is probably one of the most used phrases among myself and my fellow bloggers. The consistent growth of social media over the last few years has made Instagram an arguably even more valuable channel to us than our blogs themselves. And whilst this platform provides us with so much opportunity, it can also leave a bitter sweet aftertaste.
Since the change in Instagram’s algorithm, I know there has been hella frustration, especially among the smaller accounts, who’ve seen massive changes in their engagement rates. This was a major problem for me. Before the change, I was growing at a steady rate and building a community which I loved to share comments with. But, in the first few months after the change, things really slowed down. I was getting half as many likes as before and very few comments.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘Giiiiirl,it’s just Instagram, get your shit together’. And you would be totally right, on the surface, this is the definition of a first world problem.
But, if you are a blogger or influencer you will completely understand me when I say that our Instagram profiles are a reflection of our personal brands. The clue is in the word ‘personal’. It is so hard not to take the effects of Instagram personally when you yourself are the brand! These days our self worth can become dangerously closely linked to the number of likes or followers we get.
At a time when so much was going well for me in my life; having just got my masters degree, started my own business and getting more and more personal training clients, the effects of the Instagram algorithm had me feeling like a failure. It was crazy because my ‘real life’ so to speak, was going the way I wanted it to. But, I couldn’t help feeling like a dark cloud was lurking over me because I was losing more followers than I was gaining, and therefore I must not be a successful, likeable or interesting person… right?
Wrong. Whilst my blog is so closely entwined with my ultimate career goals, and its growth does go hand in hand with the growth of my business, I realised how crazy it was to link my self worth to the validation of virtual followers; many of who will not have even ever met me! After spending the majority of my teenage years caring way too much what others thought of me, I’d developed a pretty strong sense of self these last few years and vowed i’d never be so needy again.
But BAM, a few weeks ago I realised how close I was to falling down that slope again! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want this post become an Instagram bash-a-thon. There are so many things I love about the ‘gram & I have met some amazing like minded people through it! But sometimes, the Instagram politics of who’s account is big enough to follow back or not, fake comments and insincere support just gets tiresome, even for the most thick skinned. I think when you get into this way of thinking, its time to take a step back and enjoy your real life for a second.
I took a few days to do this and came back to Instagram with a new mindset; I’m here to take the photos I love to take, share the outfits I love to style, and write about shit I want to write about. Yes blogging is becoming a major revenue stream for some now, but if you let the joy in it disappear, is it really any better than the 9-5?
Photography by Michaela Efford