In a time of algorithms, and platforms deciding on your behalf the content you’re most likely to engage with, there seems to be more discussion than ever within the blogging community about numbers. Realistically what do they mean? Do they actually mean anything? Should you really care? For me especially with Instagram, I feel like it’s a constant battle to stay afloat. There isn’t necessarily with other bloggers per say, but with an ongoing stream of bots and follow/unfollows I do find myself questioning whether it’s even worth trying. Side note – I’m aware this is the epitome of a first world problem, but when you work hard on content and you feel like there’s zero improvement, it’s hard not to be a little bit whiny and dramatic, ok?
While I don’t have a large following on Instagram, I feel like this is where a lot of the trouble lies for me as it’s blindingly obvious when I lose even one follower – although I have no doubt that larger bloggers feel the strain too. I have tweeted about this before in jest but I have literally hit 300 Instagram followers around 10 times in the last month. It isn’t personal so why does it feel that way? A huge amount of bloggers I’ve spoken to feel the same regardless of how little or large their following is and it’s incredibly easy to see why people give in and cheat the system. This isn’t to say it’s right, but a sense validation for your hard work can come at a low cost.
When it comes to posting on my own Instagram feed, I’m definitely guilty of sharing photos that I’m not 100% happy with, just to keep up momentum and not let my follower count dwindle. I’ve found myself getting frustrated when a photo isn’t achieving the kind of engagement I feel that it should be. I’ve let an algorithm get the better of me and I often find myself complaining alongside fellow Instagram users.
None of this is to say the algorithm is an entirely bad thing. One thing it’s forced me to consider is engagement, both on my own posts and others. I’ve started to appreciate a like and a comment far more than I did pre-algorithm and will take the time to reply to genuine comments i.e. not “nice one!” – this is my least favourite spam comment ever. I’ve also started to make an effort to comment on the images I really love, answering the questions people leave in their captions and generally trying to be more thoughtful.
I do still care about numbers. I want to see improvement but I’m not going to care as much. My following is NOT a reflection on me as a person and they don’t define me. I’ve decided to take a break from Instagram, a platform that I do love at its core to evaluate the kind of content I want to share. I know that not posting as regularly will lose me a whole bunch of followers but for now, it’s the right move.
I’d love to hear other thoughts on Instagram. I do feel like everyone is in the same boat at the moment so feel free to share your experiences too!