Why I Began Falling Out Of Love With Instagram

July 6, 2017

Why I've Begin Falling Out Of Love With Instagram

Dress – Marshall’s / Shoes – Raye / Bag – Chloe / Sunglasses – Le Chateau

Oh man, what a week it’s been so far and it’s only Thursday. I promise that I’m not going radio silent. I just went back to Ottawa for Canada’s 150, and then came back to Toronto to celebrate my birthday with P, which meant that I basically unplugged for the past 5 days (besides posting to Instagram) and it felt so nice! This post was totally not something that I meant to write about so soon after my birthday, but it’s something that’s been on my mind for the past while and I really wanted to finally get it all off of my chest.

To make it plain and simple, I’m falling out of love with Instagram. I remember a point in my life about 3 years ago, when I was incessantly obsessed with it. I was the type of person who would wake up and scroll through my feed, and not be able to stop until I caught up with the content that I had seen from the day before. The same would occur at night before I fell asleep as well. Instagram was an addiction, and it definitely hindered some of my relationships.

Why I've Begin Falling Out Of Love With Instagram

Why I've Begin Falling Out Of Love With Instagram

I was often chastised by P that I spent more time on Instagram than with him – even when we were sitting side-by-side together. It was at that point when I realized that my obsession with Instagram was getting in the way of my real life. Yet I continued to gravitate towards it.

It’s true, you do get a certain sense of gratification from seeing everyone interacting, engaging, commenting, and liking your photos. But the effort to decouple that happiness with your personal self-worth is a difficult task that not many people achieve.

Being an early adopter, I saw the success of my account as it grew, which only reinforced my craziness to stay as up to date as possible with all of the content that was flooding the social platform. I can’t say that Instagram didn’t help me to get my blog out there, to grow my name, and to create some long-lasting friendships. I definitely wouldn’t have the friend circle that I have today if it wasn’t for Instagram. When my social circle in Toronto grew, I attributed Instagram as the Tinder for creatives. It allowed me to meet people that I shared mutual interests with that I would never otherwise had be able to come across in my day-to-day life. Instagram removed a long-standing limiting factor of age when it comes to friendships. We often find ourselves crossing paths with those who are at similar places in life as ourselves, which was generally determined by age, but Instagram completed negated that and brought together people purely due to interests.

Why I've Begin Falling Out Of Love With Instagram

Why I've Begin Falling Out Of Love With Instagram

To which I am so thankful and grateful for. But the world of Instagram has since significantly changed from the way that it was 3 years ago. Back then, it was a way for creatives to flex their skills and to have fun doing what they loved – taking beautiful photos. Now it’s turned into a monster of a popularity contest with new “influencers” on the app everyday vying for the attention of brands and trying to become “Insta-famous”.

I never went into Instagram thinking that it would become a cash-cow for me down the road, taking pictures and posting them was something that I genuinely loved to do. And when brand partnerships and sponsorships came about, it was only a natural continuation of what I was already doing. I didn’t go into it with the mindset of only doing it to get free product or for a pay-day. When others started catching on and realizing what a lucrative industry it was, that’s when things started becoming twisted. And with the algorithm switch, that’s when things only just got worse.

We hear it all the time “algorithm”, but what does it really mean? To a creator, it can mean their livelihood. Before, Instagram was designed to be instantaneous and to show you what exactly people were posting right then and there. Simple enough, and it made sense – hence the appropriately named app. But after its acquisition by Facebook, and the adoption of Facebook’s algorithm that pushes the content of people that you engage with the most to the top of your feed, you start to lose touch with other accounts that you don’t immediately engage with as much.

Why I've Begin Falling Out Of Love With Instagram

Why I've Begin Falling Out Of Love With Instagram

And that’s when all of the competition started. Everyone became hungry for the likes since the algorithm reduced the level of engagements that your followers have with your content. Unless you were dead front and centre (which most people aren’t), your chances for exposure are severely limited, and it has become somewhat of a downward spiral. If someone doesn’t see your content, they can’t interact with it. The low levels of interaction then pushes you down the chain of photos as other people’s posts climb above yours. And this continues until you fade into oblivion.

In the beginning, your following was what determined your value in the eyes of brands and marketers. But as the world of influencer marketing grew, and people became more sophisticated, buying followers became a thing, thus diluting the sense of being paid for your following. Then along came the value of engagement. Which in a sense just means how many likes and comments you receive per photo. That too was recognized as currency for rates, and bots were developed to enact on behalf of peoples’ accounts to go out and auto-like/comment on other peoples’ photos just to ramp up the engagement of their own posts. It’s crazy, but it’s what is currently happening in the world of Instagrammers.

Why I've Begin Falling Out Of Love With Instagram

Why I've Begin Falling Out Of Love With Instagram

Next up came comment pods. It wasn’t enough to have your photos liked/commented on via the new algorithm. Your content had to be engaged with in a timely manner to perpetuate its fullest exposure potential. So Instagrammers made these behind-the-scenes groups via DM to share each and every posts with each other in order to generate “authentic” and immediate engagement. It works, definitely, but the behaviour is largely frowned upon on the brand side since it’s purely inauthentic engagement. This topic on its own warrants a separate post for another day. Peep Tee’s post on unethical Instagram behaviour that I fully agree is wrong to do, but people just can’t seem to help themselves and continue to succumb to it.

And when people started dubbing their twisted behaviour as “strategy”, that’s when I knew that Instagram wasn’t what it used to be anymore. Instead of enjoying Instagram as a platform for creators to share their photos, creating friendships, and highlight the talent, it has instead become a money making machine for many. Both creators and brands.

Why I've Begin Falling Out Of Love With Instagram

Photography credits: Allure of Simplicity

I don’t feel like I’m in love with the same Instagram as I once was anymore. I don’t want to be part of a popularity contest. I don’t want to be valued for just how many followers, likes, and comments I get per photo. I want to be known for my talent and skill. To which I say, Instagram, we’re drifting. But we’ll still exist in each others’ lives. There’s no way that I will ever stop posting – that I know will never happen. But for those of you who have been following me for a long time probably have noticed that I’ve been less engaged. And you know what? It happens, but I’ll never be fully gone. I’m going to focus on creating more engaging content for my blog – the one place that I can truly call mine. And I hope that you guys will continue to follow along with me on my journey. Thank you for being there every step of the way, I can’t wait to see what this journey brings me next!

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10 Comments

  • Reply Charlotte July 6, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    I’ve had similar feelings about instagram too, I want to bring my account back to being a snapshot of my life as it is then and there and less about pushing content for likes and such. I think your post resonates with a lot of people, very glad you wrote this piece and I’ll be here to follow you on the blog 🙂 best of luck on your journey!

    Charlotte
    http://www.deconstrut.com

    • Reply Victoria July 7, 2017 at 11:16 am

      Hey Charlotte,

      Thanks for the message! Absolutely 🙂 I couldn’t agree with you any more. Instagram for me started off as being a place where I could randomly share parts of my life and it naturally grew to what it is now. I think it’s become twisted in the eyes of others who are hungry for the quick over night fame and have become enamored by the glamourous life of a “grammer” or a “blogger” who have not diluted the industry itself and inherently lowers the value of everyone who is involved in it. Hopefully it will change for the better in the future. I’ll definitely be trying my best to keep creating interesting content on my blog where I’m not competing for anyone else, except to challenge myself.

      Best,
      xx

  • Reply Lisa Autumn July 7, 2017 at 7:39 am

    I can only agree with you.. Instagram became such a struggle!

    xx Lisa | lisaautumn.com

    • Reply Victoria July 7, 2017 at 11:14 am

      Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for always coming back and reading my posts! Instagram has definitely become a place where people now just go to for self-promotion and has completely morphed from a place of creatives sharing their work, to anyone and everyone posting pictures of themselves posing seductively in front of mirrors just to get likes. And then get sponsored by fitness teas and hair growth candy. It’s not what it was anymore. It’s sad but I’m still looking brightly into the future that hopefully brands and marketers will understand the state of it at the moment and will begin to work with the right creatives and not just anyone who will sell their name a quick buck.

      Thank you,
      xx

  • Reply Stephanie July 7, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    I love how genuine you are! I have been following you for a while now, and I love seeing your growth as a blogger. Although this Instagram issue may continue to prevail, I hope this does not deter you from posting more content. In my opinion, your Instagram content displays how authentic you are as an online influencer. More power, Vic! <3 🙂

    • Reply Victoria July 10, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Hey Stephanie,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and posts! I’m so happy to hear that you’ve been a longtime follower. It’s readers such as yourself that inspire me to continue working on my site and producing the content that I do. I’m definitely not deterred to post on Instagram, though I will probably not consider it to be my main platform anymore. My blog will always serve as my little space on the internet that is precious to me and Instagram will be my supplement. But yes I still will post as always!

      Thanks,
      xx

  • Reply Leslie Rossi July 10, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Thank you for addressing this! I feel exactly the same, I don’t post daily anymore because I’ve lost my interest in it. It’s also very discouraging when you spend so much time on taking those shots to get barely any likes yet someone who takes a blurry photo with no care has 1000+ and grows followers like crazy. And we all know that’s because of bots! Why can’t people just be happy with being authentic and creative?

    Leslie

    • Reply Victoria July 13, 2017 at 4:08 am

      Hi Leslie,

      Thank you so much for reaching my post! I’m so glad that it resonated well with you 🙂 It definitely is hard to continue to find the motivation to post every single day. And I feel the same way too when I spend hours producing one photo, only to have it go to the wayside because I’m not buying engagement to get it to the top of everyone’s explore feed. It’s a tricky thing that we’re currently facing, but here’s to hoping that things will improve in the future! For now I’ll have my blog to call my little space on the Internet and I fully believe that as long as you’re doing what makes you happy, you’ll be doing yourself justice.

      xx

  • Reply Adrian Pascal July 15, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    I am confused. If you, and other instagrammers know when an influencer is using unethical means and strategies to grow their account and boost engagement, then don’t brands and advertisers know as well? If brands don’t stop working with influencers who engage in unethical behaviour, then by extension, they are complicit as well.

    • Reply Victoria July 15, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      Hi Adrian,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post! I truly wish that that was the case. Unfortunately the unethical means often occur behind closed doors which makes it hard for the brands and advertisers to notice. Unless you’re on the influencer end of the industry, a lot of the practice is pretty under the radar and not made aware to the public until revealed by someone. My hopes by writing this post was to air some of the dirty laundry and that brands and marketers see it and see through it all 🙂

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