Instagram, I remember when the app first became a thing – I was in High School, and I loved the idea of adding shitty filters to my already embarrassing photos taken on my smartphone. I would, like everyone else, add the terrible black border around every post, share over three different pictures a day, and the idea of having a theme to my pictures wasn’t even a thing. It was a new social media craze that allowed us to post our memories and share them with our family and friends.
These days, Instagram has become another way to make money and to be recognised in the craze of social media. It isn’t about the quality of the photo or the meaning behind it – it’s about the likes and followers, and perhaps the potential earning of money for some. Every single day I see more and more images posted featuring a person posing in front of a beautiful beach or on a quiet side street in England, their hair is perfect, their bodies are toned and their skin is golden brown. It’s a new and different world to the Instagram I used to love.
I began writing this post a week ago after I witnessed more and more tweets regarding “instagram algorithm” – and I couldn’t help but feel a wave of frustration build up inside me. I couldn’t, and still can’t, believe how much a follow means to some people and how often I see people tweet about how the algorithm is ruining their creativity. I’m not trying to bring people down, but there are far more important things in the world to be worrying about – and Instagram likes or followers aren’t one of them. At school, the popular people were chosen by the amount of real life friends they had, not the amount of followers they had by strangers on the internet.
Last month, the Mail Online published an article titled “do you think about this before you book a holiday?” – referring to booking trips abroad based on how “Instagrammable” the destination is. I then started to notice how many travel bloggers now focus on publishing posts focusing on the best locations for Instagram. People are genuinely travelling abroad to the most beautiful places, full of culture, with the purpose of what they can publish on their Instagram.
Of course, I set mini goals for myself each month on my blog, but not on social media. My blog is where my best content is at, it’s the place I actually want people to visit and see my writing and photographs. The purpose of blogging, for me, is to have a blog that is recognised, not my social media followers. People follow each other so that it benefits them, it isn’t because they enjoy the images the person is producing – and a lot of the time, we get unfollowed anyway. However, it’s nice to know that people have read my blog, enjoyed it, and followed me, whilst continuing to support what I’m publishing.
Instagram isn’t or wasn’t, supposed to be serious. It was never supposed to be a place for business, it was a place to post our favourite pictures and share them with our friends and family. So if you’re upset and disheartened by the Instagram algorithm and numbers are the reason you for using the platform – maybe you’re using Instagram for all the wrong reasons. Any fun and enjoyment has been taken away by the constant search for likes and followers – and there is so much more to life than that.
Just keep doing what you’re doing, and most of all – enjoy it. Good content will eventually be recognised, whereas constantly looking for likes on an image will take every bit of fun out of what you’re doing, eventually falling out of love with your hobby.