In 2016 I turned 30, finished my degree and planned my wedding and honeymoon. In 2017 I had quite a bit of extra time, so I threw myself into reading and writing – I passionately gave my blog and bookshelf the majority of my time.
In 2018 I threw myself into photography & my travel/lifestyle Instagram page. I connected with some amazing people and my inspiration and desire to create was increased ten-fold. Everything went quite well, until it didn’t.
I found myself stressing about my next post, the quality of my edits, the depth of my captions. It was like the first time you play the pokies and win. I had one photo which is actually one of my least favourites, it peaked at over 500 likes and I was inspired. I never reached this level again and now I barely hit 30 likes. Should that define me? No. Should that affect my time on the platform, of course not. Does it?
You bet it does. I am one of thousands of people who knows that Instagram is not real life. There is an algorithm, there are the perfectly posed and framed shots which are popular (not sure of the last time I did a two hour climb to the top of a mountain only to pose in a fancy dress though?). The rage I feel whenever I see a post with perfectly manicured people, an over-shopped background and a spread of food which I know is not being eaten, is just too much to handle.
Should it bother me? No. Does it? Yes. It bothers me because there are some communities out there that were meant to be positive and inspiring and authentic, which lasted all of three months before the faux-follow rubbish started. A place where I felt happy and included quickly turned into yet another group of mean-girls. Women that claim to build others up, but actually don’t. Of having criticism directed at my photography and my writing, by people who wouldn’t even know my name if it was not in my @handle.
So what do I do? I watch my followers go down 50-100 per day, two months ago it bothered me, now I am finding myself resenting something I loved. I scroll past tens of hundreds of images that are carbon-copies of one another, fluffy comments, Photoshop to the max (it looks awful, btw). I have had people copy my comments, steal my images and do it blatantly.
So. What do I love?
I love photography.
I love writing.
I love beautiful images.
I love good people.
I am going to take the next week or so to think about whether or not the ‘gram’ is something that sparks joy for me, or whether it actually is detrimental to my health. My brother is six years younger than me, he has absolutely no social media. I envy him.
Maybe the trick is to do a de-clutter of my Instagram. Only follow pages/people that make me feel good about myself. Maybe I direct my posts and messages to positivity – I am craving a place of actual acceptance online, not just a message that says you accept someone.
Watch this space…