Have I outgrown Instagram? Now, that is an interesting question. With a very blurry meaning. Whose answer may only appear as I step back into the past to when I first started to use Instagram.
When I did my study abroad in New Zealand, my flatmate loved to take photos of her food and post them on Instagram. Back then, it did not click, the platform was not that big of a deal, and I had absolutely no interest in social media.
Again, back then, they were not really a thing. I kept Facebook because it was a good, easy way to stay in touch with my friends while I lived on the other side of the world. My twitter account was inactive, since 2007, which is when I had created it.
My first days on Instagram
Fast forward to 2015 where I did my first internship in London. I worked for Astrid & Miyu. Although it is a big deal now, it was a very new brand back then. I started as a brand assistant, helping with e-commerce, the website, logistics and customer management. Then, the social media intern left. I was asked to replace her while the company looked for someone else.
Turned out, I was good with social media even though I had never used it in any capacity. So I became the social media assistant for the brand. And managed to significantly grow all major channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
It is then that I decided to start my own Instagram account. I was new to the game, not very savvy and listening to bad advice (from my sister). Which ended up ruining my engagement and growth. However, one thing I realized worked very well was engaging with people. I reached ten thousand followers in just a year.
While I was doing my masters in Edinburgh, I started a blog and carried on building my Instagram account. Whether in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester or London, Instagram was a big part of my life. The amount of time I spent engaging, liking, commenting or creating content…
After I switched to fashion blogging as opposed to beauty or lifestyle, came the need to post outfit photos very frequently. At some point, I was shooting every single weekend. I invested a lot of time in Instagram but I was fine with it.
Could I be a full-time influencer?
While living in London, my account grew well, my content improved and I worked with a lot of brands. I was getting paid collaborations. The more money I was making through Instagram the more I thought I could make it my full-time job.
A few of my blogger friends had made blogging their full-time job. It was not always sunshines and rainbows but it sounded excited enough to work towards that goal. I loved my full-time job in London. It was a very interesting marketing role in a start-up and I really enjoyed myself.
Yet, the possibility that I could make Instagram and my blog my full-time job still taunted me. So I worked towards that. With more interesting outfits, with prettier shoot locations, with more frequent shoots, with more time spent creating content… and sometimes with shady tactics, for which I have already made amend.
Then I moved to New York
There were weeks I would not stop nor rest but I did not care. I loved the idea that I could be a full-time influencer. Then I moved to New York City. And that is what I literally become. My visa did not allow me to work. I needed to apply for a work permit which took four months to clear.
So in the meantime, I worked as a full-time influencer. I got a lot of paid collaborations whether on Instagram or on my blog. I started Booktube, which I absolutely love doing. I worked as a freelancer with a client I kept from the UK. While I was not yet able to make a full income out of my blog and social media, I still made a good chunk of money.
For example, when I went to Edinburgh and London in October 2019 for a friend’s wedding and then to visit other friends, I paid everything with money made through my blog. Shopping, restaurants, trains, drinks, photographer. Everything. This reinforced the possibility that I could make blogging my full-time job.
I was very much into Instagram. I had just started my new account which was growing well, had a very high engagement and I believe gorgeous content. Then I found a job, which gave me a full income, with blogging still on the side. Back then, whether I had outgrown Instagram was not a question at all. I was enjoying Instagram and having a blast.
Then the pandemic hit
Fast forward to February when things started to go downhill. Yes, you guessed it, the pandemic. New York City went into lockdown on March 22nd and after that, there was no way I could shoot content outdoors. So I had to make do and tried indoor content. While at first it was fun, I felt that I was getting bored of it. Turns out my followers were a bit too.
Plus, a new update ruined engagement for everyone, myself included of course. From then on, it did not matter whether I was creating better content or using hashtags more strategically, engagement was bad. My Instagram account never had engagement issues, until that point.
From then on, I felt that I was creating content, spending a lot of time doing so, while my followers did not get to see it. That my efforts went unnoticed. That basically, I was doing all that work for nothing. I questioned myself a lot: maybe my content was not good enough. Fair enough.
So I researched, looked at what other did, tried to find better ideas, created trendy content. Still, bad engagement. Maybe it was me, maybe it was them. However, the lack of result was pretty discouraging. Furthermore, keeping my old Instagram which had experienced no growth in a year and had the worst engagement was stressing me out a lot.
So I decided to delete it. And felt so much better afterwards. I would just focus on my new Instagram and have fun with that one. But then again, engagement remained bad. And even though I said engagement would be one of those things I would not care about in 2020, it still stings.
I think I may have outgrown Instagram
I guess what came next is a combination of things. Even though I love Booktube, filming videos and taking book photos; anything else seemed pretty worthless to me. So I started to loose interest in Instagram. When it comes to my Instagram account I mean.
I sometimes spent weeks without posting a blog post. Or days without publishing a photo on my fashion Instagram. And I did not feel bad about it. I felt good, at ease, peaceful. Especially when I got social media free weekends. Those are the best.
I have less and less motivation when it comes to blogging and Instagram. The only reason why I carry on is because I put in so much work already that I’d feel I’d waste it should I stop. Why do I keep blogging? Tweeting? Or posting on Instagram? Because of all the followers I have, the community I built, the page views I gathered. Stopping now would be a waste, wouldn’t it?
Or would it? Social media is becoming such an important part of our life, that it is increasingly difficult to unplug. The toxic narrative that “if it is not on Instagram, then it did not happen” makes it even worst. Not posting makes us feel bad. Not engaging does too. Moving away from social media is very tough, even as you grow older and may not find having a social media presence useful anymore.
I thought about it recently. Would I still be posting outfit photos on Instagram in ten years? In twenty years? Would I feel like I have to? That I can’t move away from social media? I sure do not want blogging to be my full-time job now. Because there will be a point where I will want to move away from social media. If I am an influencer, that will be rather difficult. I can also hear the hustle Twitter be like “you’re quitting”. Please stop with your toxic achievement narrative. The same that made people feel guilty when they did not outperform everybody else during the pandemic nor created something amazing. Making a decision to make your life better is not quitting, it is moving forward.
I am getting bored of Instagram. Motivation is hard to come by. For my blog, for content creation, for Pinterest. I think I may have outgrown Instagram. But I want to be sure. So I will carry on being active for now. However, chances are, I will stop entirely at one point. And that day is not that far off.
What do you think? Have you outgrown Instagram? Do you still enjoy using the platform? Do you see yourself on Instagram in twenty years?
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.
See you soon,