Don't Let Instagram Grind You Down

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If you frequent the blogging world quite often, especially the likes of Twitter then you will more than likely have heard people voicing their frustration with Instagram. And roll back even just a couple of years ago it was undoubtedly my favourite platform, it was always such a positive place to be and a place for pretty photographs to be shared and appreciated. What could be better than that? Well, things have taken a turn with Instagram and I don't think I've ever felt so frustrated with the platform until now which lead me to this idea for this post. Because as silly as it might seem when Instagram is something you truly used to adore and you've seen it change so much and not for the better it can really get you down. 

it's not just you

For a good couple of years now I've seen people become frustrated with the platform and without fail there is always somebody seconding their concerns and upset. The constant yo-yo with followers and never knowing how a post is going to go and it turning into a huge guessing game to how much of your audience is going to actually see your post is horribly frustrating. And when you're constantly seeing the numbers and the likes go down it can be disheartening, of course, it is. Because even though I didn't start my account for anything but fun and a place to upload the photographs that I'd edited with Hipstamatic [anybody else remember that app?]. Once you reach a certain point with things and even more so when it's one of your income streams you do have to start to pay attention. It's so easy to think it's just you, that people all of a sudden hate you or have no interest in the things that you're putting out but it's more than likely never the case. The platform has made it so painfully difficult for things to be seen and accounts are lost on our feeds constantly due to the diabolical algorithm.

you have to do what feels good to you

It's all too easy to fall into the trap of doing what you know will then likely will be a popular photograph compared to what you actually want to put out. There is so much pressure on the theme of your Instagram and whether or not the images work well together on a grid. And content is king, everybody knows that but more often than not we're looking at just one single image rather than them all together so why is there so much focus on that grid? Then there are the images themselves, for the most part, Instagram is for fun and a way to express yourselves but we've got to the point where everything has to be so perfect and dreamy that it's exhausting. I'm a big fan of making things look nice, there is nothing wrong with that but when absolutely is everything edited to the point it's completely false and then planned into a feed that works seamlessly it just seems a little off. There is always a happy medium to be found with something like this and that will look different to everybody but taking that pressure away to be so perfect constantly is so important. One of the biggest reasons that blogging became popular in the first place because it was a real person opposed to a glossy magazine but that seems to be getting lost now. 

For so long I trapped myself in a bubble of everything must be white or a planned to perfection flat lay and if it wasn't then I wouldn't even think twice about uploading it to my feed and I realised that I was no longer being truthful with who I was. Because of course, I do really like white interiors and a killer flat lay will always make my heart sing but so does a dreamy landscape and that's also something I love to share. Making a change and knowing that it will more than likely not always be exactly to the taste of the people who follow you is scary, there is no denying that but it always feels good when you dig into another part of the people following you who also adore that type of thing.

you don't need to transform your life to fit in

You only need to take a quick glance at the most popular content on Instagram to see what gets the most hits. And then when you look at your own feed it can be incredibly disheartening. Because the majority of people don't live lives where they're constantly getting off to a new location on a weekly basis to have somebody follow them around with a camera and capture beautiful candid moments of them seemingly having the time of their lives. I think we've all probably been there wondering well is that what I need to do for my profile to do well and get a lot of likes? But like anything else in life, it's just a personal preference of what we like, for me, those images as dreamy as they are don't tickle my fancy as much as pictures of somebody with their dog or what book they're reading because that's what I can relate to more. And things that we enjoy don't always have to relatable to us, sometimes they can just be a form of escapism but when you feel like you need to turn into your own profile into something that isn't an accurate portrayal of your life at all then I don't think that's ok. 

you're more than just numbers

If you're a blogger and your Instagram is how you make part of income [like I do] then you do have to look at your numbers and brands will look at your numbers too. There is just no denying that or getting around it. But even when you do have to pay attention to the numbers something that is so important to remember is that you're so much more than just your statistics and that's not how you should value yourself or the hard work you put into the platform. It can be really easy, I even do it and forget that there is a real person behind those images especially when they are so highly edited it seems to really detach us from the person putting that hard work in. And when we see the staggering amount of people have following them on social media it can easily mess with our perspectives. We scoff at the likes of 500 followers but if you gathered that many people in a room you'd be amazed at just how many people that is. 

you have to make the platform work for you

We'd all more than likely prefer to go back a few years when the platform was at it's best [in my opinion] but sadly that is never going to happen. So we just have to try and roll with it now and make it work for us somehow, it can feel like a constant battle with things going back and forth and one day something working and then the next it doesn't. There are so many posts and websites entirely dedicated to how to make it work but who truly knows? Of course, there are things that can certainly help but what has worked for one person will never work in that exact way for somebody else. One lady who really knows her stuff about the platform is Sara from Me & Orla, no-frills advice, just straight to the honest and helpful truth. And here are a few things I'm going to do from now on to make the platform feel a little less strategic and more about the community;

  • Comment and engage more.
  • Use the explore page to my advantage [you can click see less on things you have no interest in].
  • Share my favourite profiles through the likes of IG stories which makes it really easy for people to follow each other.  
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I'd love to know how you feel about Instagram right now?

Rebecca WarrinerPhotography