I remember when Instagram first started and I thought to myself, “Why do we need a place just to post photographs? Isn’t that what Facebook is for?” Little did I know that it would become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. However, over the last six months, I haven’t enjoyed it as much as I should and I started to put so much pressure on myself. So, instead of complaining about it, I did something about it and that’s what today’s post is going to be about. (I understand the irony of that last sentence because I know the first paragraph coming up, is me complaining)
Before you roll your eyes, I’m not talking about engagement. The amount of Instagram posts, blog posts and tweets I have read about “the lack of engagement” is shocking and quite frankly, very boring. I understand that the platform has changed recently and less of our followers are seeing our posts (I talk about how this hasn’t been the case for me later on in the post) but the constant stream of complaints is too much. Putting your new post in your Instagram stories but colouring half of it in to make me click on your profile and go to the new post, is not going to make me like your post. If anything, it’s going to make me swipe through. I understand why people do it; maybe it’s a tactic that works to get more people engaged with posts, but for me, it’s extremely frustrating.
I have got caught up in the Instagram hype before. The platform was exciting and fun for such a long time but there was a time where I got obsessed with having to post twice a day and I always worried that I didn’t have good enough content. It’s that “comparison is the thief of joy” quote that comes into play and I can relate completely. My flat lays were never good enough, I didn’t think that my content was interesting and I saw so many other people who were so careful with what they posted that it became this beautifully matched theme. I started to question why I was bothering. Thankfully, I seem to have dug myself out of that hole before it got any bigger. It’s now is a place that I post on when I want to, not out of pressure (on myself). If I don’t post for a few days, I really don’t mind now. It’s the quality over quantity that I believe we should all be focusing on.
For the last few months I have struggled between two bridges. One bridge is supporting as many bloggers as I can and the other bridge being that I want to curate my feed with what I want to look at that fits my style, my personality and how I want to live. You can’t do both, trust me, I have tried.
I felt guilty at first because I am a former people pleaser so that started to creep in a little; you don’t want people thinking you don’t like them especially with those you know locally. That’s the biggest pressure I put onto myself and I absolutely hated that I couldn’t get past it for a while. We preach so much about how important it is to put ourselves first especially when we talk about topics like self-care so doesn’t this fall into that too? What’s more important; following lots of accounts so you can say that you support everyone but missing out on the content you actually want to see or is it more important to see content you prefer but feel less involved with the blogging community? Do you even feel less involved because you don’t follow everyone? Do you have to follow everyone to feel involved?
I would be the first one to stand up and say if my content isn’t your style or if you find it completely boring, then unfollowing me is the best thing for you. I could never be offended or annoyed at someone who didn’t enjoy my content anymore. I wouldn’t want anyone following me because they felt like they had to or they thought I would hate them if they didn’t. At the same time, I don’t want people to automatically think I don’t like them (because that’s not the case) just because I’m no longer seeing their content or simply because their content is just not for me, that should be perfectly okay.
I’ve never been someone to have one of those applications on my phone that tells me who follows me or unfollows me. I have no interest and I believe it can be quite damaging to your self-esteem if you are constantly checking who is unfollowing you. There’s certainly no judgement on my part if you are someone who likes to check that type of information but it’s not for me and really, is it any of my business why some-one doesn’t want to follow me anymore?
I was watching Just Laura Jayne’s Instagram stories recently and she talked about the fact that we didn’t need to follow every single local blogger because we still see them at events and some we don’t even talk to even if we do follow them. I definitely felt the pressure to follow every local blogger or every blogger that followed me, even if their content wasn’t even close to what I wanted to see. Doing that meant my feed wasn’t curated for me, it was curated simply because I wanted to feel like I was a good person. It’s almost like we’re putting this platform on a pedestal and using it to show how connected we are like we used to do with having tons of Facebook friends or having the perfect top friends on Bebo. I shouldn’t have to prove how connected I am to an interest by how many of that same community I follow.
Curating my feed took quite a few days; I wish I had saved the exact number of accounts I used to follow but I know it was close to the 2000 mark and now it’s around the 500 mark. I’m really happy with the changes I have made because I’m seeing more varied content which makes the platform more interesting again and it’s more “me” now. I’m following more accounts that post about home interiors, minimalism, wellness and health and you have no idea how nice it is to see more posts that I feel more connected to.
Funnily enough since making these changes, I find that more people are seeing my Instagram stories. Now, I’m not sure whether this has anything to do with minimising my followers but it’s certainly a nice surprise. I’m really happy that it’s something that I feel like I can be open about and put into my own words because it’s something I had struggled with for such a long time.
As for the title of this post, does curating your feed come at a social price? It really depends if your followers determine your worth. If you’re doing it for you and you’re seeing more of what you want, then it’s not coming at any cost. If someone unfollows you because you don’t follow them anymore then that’s something you shouldn’t worry about because they’re in it for different reasons than you. However, if you slowly but surely see your followers drop and you feel bad about unfollowing the accounts you used to follow, then yes, you are paying the social price. At the end of the day, it’s all about how you view yourself on a social platform.
I would love to know your feedback on this because I certainly can’t be the only one who felt the pressure to follow everyone, whether that was on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It’s important not to take these platforms too seriously but at the same time, I can understand why someone would feel worried about unfollowing a certain person or a group of people. Thank you so much for reading today’s post and if you have any similar posts to this, you can always catch me over on my Instagram or Twitter. (Oh and all of today’s photographs are from Pexels.com)