Instagram was a great platform for many years, we were able to express ourselves creatively and actively engage with the community, we all felt equal and having an outlet outside of our websites where we could relax a little bit and support each other. Over the last few years the mood has changed though, Instagram is causing a lot of stress and small businesses are dying thanks to an ever changing, paid-for-advertising favouring algorithm and I’m done with it.
I’ve loved Instagram for many years and have been an active user for many years before blogging, but the issue that I have with the platform is one that we all share. We all know how we feel about the app and how users seem to be treated nowadays, and yes, before anyone comes out crying: I know it’s a free app and they don’t owe us anything – but I can also argue, what’s free about having to pay for advertisements so your own followers can see what you’re posting?
I bring in this argument because it’s something that Instagram too, has admitted, users will need to start doing to get greater reach from their followers. It’s a free to download app but to get your posts seen, you need to advertise not only to strangers with similar interests to what you post, but also to the people that already follow you. Posting to your story when a new post has gone live simply isn’t enough, and to be honest, not enough people engage that way either, so to the mindless scrollers and generous double tappers, when they see a post, sponsored or not, they’ll engage. It’s taking the fun out of Instagram.
At one stage I found Instagram to be a lot of fun, I was able to create and post and receive support and new followers, Instagram is also where a lot of my sponsors find me, it’s the app that gets me jobs – I’ve raised this concern in a few groups I’m in over on Facebook, my blog has the higher statistics and is showing extremely satisfying growth, I have more access to trace my readers and also get a jist of what you like to read, and write more of it, with Instagram, I’m seeing significantly lower numbers and I’m finding it hard to see what the algorithm wants.
I’m constantly battling to get noticed and I’m starting to feel deflated and worn out. Yet it’s what the brands want. It’s what my sponsors want to see, if I provide a blog post, it’s more of a side dish than part of the full meal. So giving up Instagram completely would be giving up what actually makes me able to run my blog without putting my hands in my pocket to be able to. I also like the fact that I can engage with bloggers easier on the app, it’s another anchor tying me down to it, the fact that it’s easy to comment and DM because everything is the same; I find supporting bloggers via their websites can sometimes be tricky when their comment box requires me to log into whatever service it is they’re using.
But we’re all equally as frustrated as each other when it comes to the fact that Instagram will not listen. They will not give us even the option to choose which algorithm we want, which is something Twitter has successfully managed to do, they won’t give us much help or guidance and they’ve even admitted that they’re looking to take the app into a more consumerist approach: brand advertising.
So, I’m done with Instagram. I’m done with the fighting and letting the algorithm let me down, I’ve been posting less and using the app less too, instead I’ve been focusing on writing blog posts, getting posts for my Facebook group scheduled and also networking. I’ve found that Instagram truly is not the be all and end all of the blogosphere. It’s an add on and not a very rewarding one anymore, at that.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that by pushing it’s users and influencers, small businesses and artists off the platform, blogging may come back to life. It was a hot topic a few years ago, that Instagram was becoming a source for micro-blogging because it was so easy to grow and to see the growth, but it’s totally flipped, it’s harder to grow and create when the platform won’t support the users, we’re all coming back to our blogs (some of us never left) because we know the longevity of our blogs, we have full control and we can do what we want and post when we want.
At this stage, Instagram has been a fun tool and a helping hand in keeping my blog live for a few years, but I’m not obsessed anymore. I’m not looking forward to logging in and posting, I’m engaging because I want to make friends and show some support but at the same time, I’m so unenthusiastic about scrolling through that I’ve minimised my time on the app from 4 hours daily to less than an hour daily.
I’ll admit the reason that I can’t quit the app is because I like to see what other influencers are creating and the obvious sponsor issue, but also because I feel like I’ve spent so much time on my feed and trying to grow that I don’t want to throw it all to waste. I think it’s the reason a lot of people won’t quit the app, when you’ve spent years working hard on it and increasing your numbers, you don’t want to bring yourself to see it all go away. I’ve also made some really great friends through Instagram and I engage with some really amazing women, leaving it all behind seems, well, sad.
So instead of quitting: I’m caring less, using the app less, and focusing on my website more.