UN-LIKING INSTAGRAM



I've been having a bloody good moan about every single social media out there at the moment, it's like we were best buds and now we're sworn enemies - we just don't love each other anymore... On my Instagram I've been posting stories about this subject, I've even been tweeting about it, so it's probably time I actually wrote about it. Here goes nothing!

I've fallen out with social media, mostly Instagram, which feels strange because we've been attatched to the hip for a very long time. For a wannabe creator and picture-maker, an app where you can make pretty grids with your personal work on is the dream. Honestly, when I first came across it I knew it'd be love at first sight. Now, it's a whole different story.



So here's me about to sound low-key pathetic while I moan about engagement, tragic! As we all know, Instagram has changed a lot recently with it's algorithm and shadow-banning. Not sure what this all means? Let me break it down for you.

ALGORITHM -
noun
noun: algorithm; plural noun: algorithms
a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.


In Instagram terms, this means that images and users with high engagement such as likes, comments, shares and views will rank higher on your feed. Which is my terms mean MY POSTS DO CRAP. I'm only small, so my posts have never received a lot of likes, but recently it's dropped increasingly. When you've only got a small following you don't expect all of the likes, but you do expect something. Last week I posted a photo I really liked, but it flopped so hard I had to take it down and sulk about it. This is what upsets me most. I, as a photographer, enjoy images and the ones I take. I take pride in my content and when no one else sees it or feels the same, that's really quite sad. I don't expect to 'break the internet' but I do expect Instagram to not hide my content from my followers. I need all the help I can get to grow myself as a creative, and not having this platform to support me anymore is devastating. 


SHADOW BANNING -
Stealth banning (also called shadow banning, ghost banning or comment ghosting) is the act of blocking a user or their content from an online community such that the user does not realise that they have been banned.


Basically, our posts are starting to disappear and not become visible when using hashtags. Instagram responded to this by stating that
'When developing content, we recommend focusing on your business objective or goal rather than hashtags'. OK INSTGRAM let me try and build my business without the genuine help of a fucking hashtag. I personally don't see any issue with using this symbol, I often search for posts using it. To come back with that is a huge bite in the ass, and it's users didn't take it lightly. 

I'm not over exaggerating when I say that every single day I see at least three people talk about this ongoing issue. My problem is that I'm trying so hard to produce work that I love, enjoy and want to share with my online community, but I'm not having the support or platform I need to do so. 


I am not on a level where I have a huge following and this doesn't overly effect me, I'm attempting to grow myself and my personal brand at the moment, but I feel like it's not going anywhere. It does make me want to give up, but then I remember that yes it isn't about the likes and it is a little bit tragic to get emotional about it, but then I also remember that this is peoples careers and one day it could be mine. In reality, even these incredible creators are finding it a struggle because they're the ones being paid for their engagement, so actually they need the views more than me!




SHIRT - NASTY GAL | TROUSERS - H&M | RINGS - BLOODY MARY METAL

All in all, the whole thing is grinding on me. I never thought I'd be someone who cared about this, but all I want to do is succeed. On a recent programme titled 'Celebrity Hunted', Jamie Lang (Made in Chelsea) has a break down about not living his life to the full and caring too much about his Instagram likes, which completely shook me. It's so easy to feel self conscious online and I believe a lot of people related to this. Jamie, I'm with you!  We are the modern age, social media and an online presence is huge, so it's time our platforms had our backs again! 

I have a little solution for this, and I like to think it'll help a tiny bit. I use Instagrams one decent tool which is the notification button, which means I turn on notifications for my favourite accounts. When they upload a new photo, I get told! So, I can constantly see what they post (and it doesn't get lost on my time line thanks to algorithm) and like the image. Simple. I'm still seeing my favourite content and their still getting my love. 

I know I'm not the only one having a moment, so I wanted to write about it and almost get it off my chest. Also, if anyone wants to make a new platform I highly recommend it, hell if I had the brains to make an app I'd do it in a heart beat!
 

DON'T BE AFFRAID TO UNFOLLOW


Approximately two days ago I wrote this tweet (try to ignore my low battery, I did place it on charge after this don't worry). It ended up being a thought that a lot of other people agreed with, which actually shocked me. The reason I wrote this tweet was because of some activity on my time line that same day. This particular activity was actually someone saying how rude and unsupportive they thought it was that a woman they followed, had unfollowed them on all of their socials. This tweet said person wrote got a lot of people replying, saying they agreed it was rude and totally uncalled for. Sorry? It’s not OK to unfollow someone? This really didn’t sit right to me.


Life’s all about change, it changes more often than we think. So what’s wrong with us wanting to change what we see on our feeds? It almost comes hand in hand with our every day life. I started to ponder about this and think of ways I could describe why this is OK. So, here’s what I thought of... Think of it as a trend, let’s use gingham as an example here. Gingham has been around for a while and has become something I’ve fallen out of love with, I don’t enjoy still seeing it in the shops or on the runway, I’m over it. Here's another example, remember when your mother got wind that you like that dinner she cooked up that one time, so she constantly made it until you couldn't stand it anymore (we’d still eat it though because food is food, am I right?). Stupid examples aside, we don’t always enjoy the things we did previously.

I’ve followed YouTubers in the past that I absolutely adored, but then I got bored of their content (especially those who started click-baiting) so I unsubscribed with no guilt at all. I’ve even gone too and from creators, enjoying them one month and going off them the next. I’m sure influencers know this is the pattern of their followers. I mean, how many people who watched Zoella six years ago, still watch her today? I grew out of her content because it’s aimed to a younger audience, and I’ve grown up. I still enjoy the idea of her as a person because she does seem like a total cutie, but that’s besides the point, I won’t sit and watch her vlogs every week because it just doesn’t appeal to me anymore.

People’s style changes too, we are in a world where new trends and brands appear constantly, and we change along with them. If someone’s personal style evolves, who’s to say we’ll still enjoy seeing their content anymore? We change, you change, and that’s OK.





Whether blogging is a job or a hobby, I think we need to look at it as a business. I rarely follow a personal friend outside of the blogging world on Instagram or Twitter, because I feel like I don’t need to see their content. I use these platforms for my blog and getting reach of other like-minded creatives, not to know what my friends been up to, because more often than not I spoke to them thirty minutes prior anyway, but mostly because it doesn’t matter to me in a blogging/business sense.

If we followed every person we ever met outside or inside of the blogging circle, we wouldn’t be keeping true to ourselves. Let’s be real, we’re not going to like everyone we meet (and if you do you’re a far nicer individual than me) so why bother following them? I think it’s more rude to follow people we’re not even fond of, because that’s two-faced, and why on earth would you even want to see their content anyway?!

This has sparked me to do a big unfollow on twitter which felt pretty good, and it's almost made me enjoy it more as a platform. I've made it a place I now like to go and really see what the people I adore most are creating. I may come across as cruel, and not everyone will agree with my words here, but I’m being real and so should you. It is OK to use that unfollow button if and when we please. It’s your life and your time line and we have the luxury of choosing what we see.

Of course there is always the mute button, which might seem less harsh. But wouldn't it be really awkward if you get asked wether you've seen their latest tweet?! I couldn't handle that, I'd rather the grown swallow me whole. It's an option though, and if this suits you better than I say go for it, but hopfully whoever it may be would understand. Let's face it, I'm sure you wouldn't be unfollowing people who you do conversate with all the time anyway, right? 

Whatever the case may be, we as bloggers don’t have a oath to fulfil, it’s not our rite of passage to support everyone we find on the internet. Remember - life is forever changing, and so is our time lines.