Although there are reports saying thousands of people join social media services like Instagram every day, more and more people are becoming increasingly discouraged to log on. Social media platforms, particularly Instagram, are spurring many to take social media breaks for weeks or months at a time.
You need only to look at bloggers all over the world publishing articles about “how to take social media breaks” or “why I quit Instagram for a week” to know that something is causing people to leave the apps and spend time away from their followers and content.
Jealously, comparison, depression, and even the struggle to keep engagement/following up is causing a shift in attitudes towards platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Especially for content creators like myself, these platforms are more of a nuisance and a “must” rather then a hobby to scroll through.
And that’s why I think this phenomena occurs in the creator communities the most – we’re tired, uninspired, and unmotivated to use these platforms.
To give an example of what’s going on, I’m going to take your through my own reasoning for taking a week and half long break from posting or interacting at all on my platforms. And in turn, lowering website visitors to my blog for that week.
CREATIVITY & IDENTITY
Is muddled among the endless photos, stories, and videos from other content creators and publications. Instagram, first and foremost, is where I can share my website and brand with potential new followers. It’s important that I stand out as a brand and person on there by creating content that isn’t just beautiful, but also inspiring, entertaining, and unique.
Instagram should be a place of inspiration – but it can go too far. At some point this year, I had lost touch with my original creative direction for the blog after spending too much time following and engaging with accounts I actually didn’t find inspiring.
Why did I follow them, you may ask? For starters, these accounts were major players in the creator community. I love to network with people, but as always, these larger blogger accounts 99% of the time don’t engage back. I tried, but it was rather pointless trying to jump into a community that isn’t really there…
So what I found was happening was I scrolled and spent time looking at photos that started to all look the same. There is an “Instagram culture” – accounts with the same types of filters, captions, and subjects.
My own creativity and identity started getting muddled as I spent time on the app. I found myself creating the same type of image and captioning the same way. After a while, I looked back at my brand for the past 3 months and wasn’t happy with the identity I had created.
Was it a bad identity, necessarily? Not at all. But it wasn’t true to my own personality. Instead of showcasing the things my brand actually stood for, I found myself creating the types of thing I assumed people might have loved, solely based on the fact others were doing the same!
THE “BOUGHT” FOLLOWERS/LIKES DILEMMA
But what I didn’t take into account was that most of the bigger bloggers I followed had inflated their own accounts through bought likes and followers.
So popular content, wasn’t actually popular.
This means the specific types of shots we see are overdone because someone thinks they are truly what people like. Whilst all along, those types of images are getting hoards of bots liking them.
The same goes for accounts.
To Create or Consume?
This was my own struggle with Instagram – it was overwhelming too complicated and way too time consuming with little to no benefit for actually growing my brand, which is why I decided to take a break for a week and just create based on my own personality and brand. It was time to “put the blinds on” and just forget the rest.
What I really wanted to do was just recreate the scenes I imagined in my head using current styles – I wanted to bring more personality to my images. So taking modern things and making them look timeless is something I’ve always enjoyed doing. Instagram has sort of stopped that creation process. I’m glad I get to back to it now that I’m not spending nearly as much time on the platform.
Have you seen they’ve added a timer on the app now? Guess I’m not the only one who has spent too much time on it.
To others however, Instagram has become a horrible comparison trap. I have spoken to some of my followers and a lot of women have told me that they feel as though they’ll never be pretty enough, rich enough, or have enough like the accounts they follow.
Those pretty photos of a blogger wearing $1000 dresses in Paris while also renovating 2 different houses is causing some Instagram users to feel a sort of sadness.
“Why can’t that be my life?” they ask themselves.
Indeed, why can’t that be all of our lives?
Some people ask this question and are demotivated from spending time on the app. Others try to start their own blogs: “If she can do it, why can’t I?”
(I wrote about the insane number of people starting blogs thinking they’ll make as much money a some of these bloggers, and it’s actually not helping them secure paid brand collaborations at all)
I’m not sure what can be done besides taking care of our selves first. If that means stepping away from social media – whether that’s for a few days or a whole year, so be it.
But to those who are showing only the best of their lives (like the bloggers we all know and follow), remember there’s a difference between building a loyal following of admirers or loyal following of those who just want what you have.
I’m sure what kind of following they have doesn’t matter to them anyways – and therein lays the problem.
Inspiration is nice, but it will only take you so far. We do in fact, as public figures; have a responsibility to make sure we encourage the best in others, not the worst.
A final thought regarding this: Comparison is the their of joy.
Don’t let someone else’s highlight reel make you feel any certain way. If you don’t find being on social media enjoyable, take care of yourself and step away. The world is out there, not on the screen of your phone.
I for one have started unfollowing people that I no longer find interesting nor inspiring. I’ve realized I’m not interested in following “Coachella fashion” inspired accounts. I’m not interested in fitness accounts. And I’m definitely not following blogs or websites I never read or visit. It’s time to be true to my own identity, likes, and dislikes. If I’m not into something, why even bother? In a way, I’m doing that account a favor – I’ll never inflate their own content out of interest. I’m not their ideal user.
And most importantly, it’s time not to care about spending too much time on these platforms or feeling bad about not following someone back.
So I’m cutting ties and moving on.
My account isn’t for showing anything off or pretending to care about what shirt is now on sale for $50; it’s a place to share what goes on here, on the blog, the hub of my brand. It’s a place to create a community, not a place of envy or doing what everyone else is doing.
I started this blog to create content that matters, not the same things everyone else is doing. Now that’s truly reflective of my own personality. I never “fit in” anywhere and I don’t plan to.
What do you think of this issue surrounding social media? Voice your opinions in the comment section below.