I have a question for you…
How does scrolling through your Instagram feed make you feel right now?
Does it make you feel super inspired and delighed every time you’re on?
If so, that’s freaking awesome. Gosh, I miss that feeling.
If not, this post is for you.
Take a deep breath because things are about to get real – maybe even a little uncomfortable.
I’m about to have a little rant and get really transparent about this topic.
Here’s how my love-hate relationship with Instagram turned to URG – and what you might be feeling too.
I started using Instagram for Imagine You to inspire and connect with like-minded creatives and ambitious souls. And I did; I “met” some really super people. It was all great in the beginning; I was putting out content that I thought was good, and I was trying my best to grow my little following by liking other posts and leaving thoughtful comments.
And it went well for about a month or two. And then it stopped.
My engagement dropped so much I wondered what the heck I was doing wrong. So I tweaked, switched gears, researched every article I could find (and holy crap are there a ton on boosting engagement and avoiding the Instagram shadow ban).
I changed my strategy and did different things, but nothing seemed to work.
I guess Instagram decided I was being spammy with my 30 hashtags or using the same tag too many times or whatever. Who knows? So the content I spent hours putting together wasn’t reaching the people I was creating it for… Which kind of defeats the point.
Besides the sudden block on getting my posts seen; I was having a hard time with something else…
Fakeness and filters.
Soooo much so, that I started dreading looking at my feed every day without even realising it. It made me feel things I didn’t want to feel: envious, jealous, self conscious, irritated, not good enough. Not every post, not all the time, but enough to know that this was becoming a bit of a problem and it was stressing me out.
Instagram was overwhelming me, a lot.
And it’s not just me; there have been numerous studies that claim Instagram is bad for our mental health.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not an angel here; I know some of my posts may have come across as a little… I don’t know… what everyone else was doing? But I tried damn hard to keep it authentic. So when I see people posting things just for the sake of getting attention and nothing else, it bothers me a LOT.
Especially when it comes across as fake, filtered, and posed. ALL. THE. TIME.
It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. And don’t get me wrong; I totally get it, heck, I filter some of my pics too – when my face is all red and blotchy, I thank my lucky stars for the black and white filter. But damn. If 90% of what’s being posted is like this, then tell me, what is the point? Why are we doing this?
For a 5-second confidence boost? Okay, great. And then what?
Why are we portraying this perfect-looking portfolio that’s suddenly feeling a lot more like a popularity contest?
Really, I’m not here to feel like I’m back in high school or play the popularity game; I left a full time job to create something that’s got meaning behind it and something I want to be totally authentic about.
So, for Imagine You, I’m taking an indefinite break from Instagram and you know what? I feel GREAT about it.
- There’s zero FOMO.
- I haven’t felt this at peace about a decision in a long time.
- I don’t feel that digital overwhelm anymore.
- In fact, I don’t even miss it.
And you know what else? I’m pausing the Imagine You Facebook page, too.
Yup. I know, crazy, right? As much as I respect dear old Mark Zuckerberg, I have to say, he’s making it bloody hard for us newbie entrepreneurs, creatives, and startups with very limited marketing budget to reach the people we want to. I for one am NOT about to pay R150 for a blog link to be seen. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
I’ll use these platforms for my personal accounts, but as for Imagine You, I’m out.
I’m breaking the social media “rules”…
And wandering off this overcrowded path.
Just a little reminder: Instagram and Facebook aren’t the only social media platforms out there.
5 WAYS TO GET RID OF INSTAGRAM OVERWHELM
Look, I get it. Not everyone wants to just quit or take an indefinite hiatus like I am.
But really guys, I actually know for a fact that I’m not alone when it comes to this; maybe you’re just feeling frustrated because your engagement has dropped or you don’t enjoy it as much as you used to.
The good news? You CAN do something about it, today. I promise, with a few tweaks, those crappy digital or social media overwhelming feelings will take a major dive.
Here’s what you can do:
- Limit your Instagram time and posting. Seriously. The world isn’t going to end if you don’t post something every single day or check your feed every five minutes. Maybe try posting every second or third day and see if that helps.
- Stick to the stories. As far as I know, Instagram is knuckling down on the post engagement, but I haven’t seen anything about stories. And I find these SO much more authentic and fun to do.
- Unfollow peeps. Yup, I know, this one sucks because a lot of people have that unfollow app and can see who does this; but really, at the end of the day you have to decide if this people pleasing way of living is worth the daily eye rolls and Instagram neggy vibes.
- Delete the app off your phone. I dare you. Do it for a week or a few days and just see how you feel.
- Get back to basics. Unfollow everyone. Re-follow friends, family and people who you REALLY enjoy seeing posts about. Make your account private. Post real life stuff and just enjoy it for what it is – and what it used to be.
Sometimes it really is that simple.
Real life – without the everyday reminders that we aren’t perfect enough or the willy nilly shadow bans just “because”.
** UPDATE 04/11/2017
After a whole month off Instagram for my blog, I dug deep, got real and realised I actually missed connecting and posting creative pics. (And I was really doing it ALL for the wrong reasons… so silly. Live and learn, right?) So I deleted my old account and started a completely NEW one, from scratch. Yup! I’m that determined to shake off those neggy vibes. I’m trying things differently this time – NO following people just coz, no posting every single day and getting stressed out. I’m determined to get things right this time and most importantly…. JUST HAVE FUN. Because really? Life is too damn short to get stressed out over Instagram.
Let’s chat on Instagram – find me here >> @_imagineyoucoza_ and say hi!
I’m curious, is Instagram overwhelming you right now?