Instagram success is built on interaction. An influencer’s most valuable asset is their community and so nurturing that community is vital. A successful influencer would engage with their own, and other’s communities to build valuable connections.
But sometimes, the harsh light of day shines onto these comments and likes and I see them for what they are. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an anger fuelled bash-a-thon of Instagram. But think about it… when was the last time you actually laughed out loud when you typed ‘lol’ in a message? It took one visit to the nail shop with my girl to get caught out on this one. She whatsapped me from across the room and I responded with a lol and a heap of laughing face emojis for good measure. Naturally, the polite half smile plastered across my face for my therapist’s benefit didn’t waver even briefly. She replied instantly …’now I know that you don’t actually laugh when you send that!’ Busted. Hahaha.
Of course, sometimes her messages really do have me creasing on the floor in a way that no emoji can ever personify. My point is , sometimes I feel like we get so caught up in the digital world, making digital friends, that it can be like living in a fantasy world where we no longer know what is real and what isn’t. I find this to be particularly relevant to Instagram, where commenting on people’s posts is a big part of the job of an influencer. When commenting is something you feel you have to do, it’s easy to end up writing things just for the sake of it, and then what follows is left feeling a bit disingenuous.
I’m by no means writing this as a critique of others and separating myself from the issue. This is something I’ve definitely been guilty of too. It’s a bit of a catch 22, because if you don’t interact with the community you won’t build connections and build your audience. But, if you do comment willy nilly day long, you can feel like you’re losing yourself and your authenticity.
I’ve tried to find a solution to this and have left myself with the following guidelines; ‘only comment on photos you really love’ and ‘never comment something you don’t truly believe’. It seems so simple and so obvious, but I think these are things that can get lost in this digital age.
I really am a people person who loves interacting with people, IRL that is. But, sometimes it frustrates me that my digital presence will benefit more from me playing the game, leaving overly fan girly comments and cosying up to people who I probably wouldn’t have anything in common with in real life.
To leave this post on a positive note, you can make real, genuine friendships on Instagram… I’ve been lucky enough to make more than a handful of really good friends on the platform! But, we need to tow the line and avoid selling out who we are, in order to get just a few more ‘digital friends’.