When it comes to social media, I think we all primarily have a platform that we prefer and the one that we check out before all the others. For me, my heart most definitely lies with Instagram.
It’s most definitely because it’s visual for starters. Who doesn’t love looking through a book or magazine that has pretty pictures? I like that your feed becomes your story and you can make it anything you want it to be. It’s so easy to wile away time looking for inspiration and just generally having a good nosey at other peoples lives. I find all of my best ideas from fellow Instagrammers and my phone is always clogged up with screenshots of things I have seen.
I grew tired of Facebook a long time ago and I pretty much only lurk there now. It may be the place where all of your ‘real life’ family, friends and acquaintances are but I also think it’s full to the brim of people who pick and choose when to keep scrolling past. Perhaps you didn’t like their photo or status one day and maybe today, they won’t like yours! It just feels different there now and for me, not the place that I want to share very much or anything at all. However, like most people who complain about it, I’m yet to take the plunge and delete my account…I’m just hanging in there because I might miss something? I’m not entirely sure really.
Ever since I discovered Instagram, I have always loved the way it works, even when the powers that be decided to mix things up a bit! It always seems that changes are made when absolutely everyone is fine with how it works for them but I guess money making always prevails. It’s quite irritating that Instagram decides what it thinks you will like to see and it’s no wonder that we miss so much from many of the people we follow.
To be honest, it hasn’t really affected me since the chronological feed was scrapped. I’ve just become used to checking out accounts that I like from time to time, although it can be easy to miss them out on occasion. I have set notifications for a couple of accounts that I don’t want to miss but I really don’t see how it works for the masses, as who wants their phone going mental with notifications about several other feeds? Your own feed, well yes!
I find it to be a friendly platform and it’s always my go to app but I’m also well aware that it’s not always so friendly and with all networks, jealousy and trolls are always present. I see that there must be a lot of envy about because some people’s lives certainly appear to be picture perfect. Some people curate their feeds to perfection and it makes them so visually appealing that the green eyed monster can rear its head in the best of us. I’m kind of in awe of these accounts for being so polished but I wonder what work actually goes into achieving the look they produce and the commitment needed to keep up to date.
It makes you compare your own life and I think what is more prevalent is comparisons with material things. How many times have you seen a kitchen just like you dream of, maybe it has a massive island, amazing tiles, a range cooker and looks out onto an idyllic garden that perhaps has a treehouse or summerhouse. The people that have loads of kids and yet their houses look like showhomes and you wonder how is that even possible? Yet behind the scenes it probably reveals an entirely different scenario.
I see things all the time that I desperately want and some days I do have a moan and wonder whether such things really are only in my dreams. They might well be, but I think it’s important to remember that it’s someone else’s life and it might not be as glossy and as polished and you might be led to believe.
There will always be people that have what we want, it’s human nature. So although I might get a little bit envious sometimes, I don’t let it bother me to the point that I can’t look at certain feeds. I think what a lucky sod and move on.
Then on the flip side you get people who really don’t care too much about what they post, grainy and blurry shots are all fair game and yet there is something refreshing about this approach too. These people are keeping things in real time and are displaying their lives warts and all. They most probably don’t plan their photos and keep a few in the pipeline ready to publish, they just don’t work like that.
You have Instagrammers who actively update their feed and you have Instalurkers who might post very occasionally if at all, but mainly just scroll through other feeds. The type that set up their accounts and then don’t really know what to do with it. They might then think to go and have a look to see what they can have a look at, never really having any intention to post themselves. Not everyone wants to be revelling at the party.
So this is what I’ve gathered from my time on Instagram and what I’ve noticed about other folk…
I’ve learnt that it takes time to organically grow your feed. I can see that many people are tempted and do buy followers. What’s the harm in bumping up your followers and giving things a helping hand? Well maybe not everyone will notice but I certainly notice straight away that followers do not always correlate with the likes. If you have a following of 10k for example and you’re averaging around 30 likes per photo, then it’s pretty obvious that the majority of your followers aren’t real accounts. Sure a lot of likers can come from far and wide from hashtagging but at least they are real people that have double tapped their screens. I just find it a bit off putting and well what’s the point really? If you’re doing it to get recognition, then surely it will be obvious to who you’re trying to impress?
It pays to be consistent, natural and tell a bit of a story. I really enjoy reading people’s little snippets under their photos, sometimes even the long ones. It reveals more about their personality and it cements my loyalty with following their feed and I genuinely look forward to their next photo.
It sounds obvious but actually follow accounts that you are genuinely interested in. If you go around following loads of people in the hope of a follow back then it’s all rather false. We all get spammy followers but it still annoys me when accounts follow me for a couple of days and then unfollow when they don’t get a follow back. I always check through an app who has unfollowed me when my numbers dip so that I can see why and also keep a check on who I am following and unfollow if I think it’s necessary. It’s not being petty, it’s just clearing down the people I follow so that I see more of what I want to because I might not be interacting with them at all.
You need to appreciate that people may not follow you back but it’s understandable when someone has a large following. I also get that my feed may not appeal to others just as sometimes I will look at accounts that have followed me and struggle to find a single photo that interests me. It does make me feel a little guilty for not following back but then I remember that they have people that do enjoy their snaps, so my fake following isn’t benefiting anyone.
This takes me to commenting and liking. You should make the time to like and comment on feeds, new and old and try your best to respond to any comments you get.
I’ve followed some accounts in the past because I actually like their content (that haven’t returned the favour – which is okay) and have commented on more than one occasion and not had an acknowledgement. I will only comment usually when the photo stands out and it resonates with me, rather than just for the sake of it.
I know that sometimes notifications for comments don’t always come through and things can get overlooked but I think it’s worth putting the effort in to be polite. It’s just basic etiquette isn’t it? It doesn’t really make me want to continue following a feed when they consistently ignore people. If someone takes the time to look at your photos and comment for whatever reason, then I think it’s common courtesy to reply on the whole, even if you do think you’re rather special. It doesn’t even have to be much, even just acknowledging people as a whole in one message.
I know some big Instagrammers who take the time (albeit often some time later) to manually check their photos and the comments and that is nice. Nice people do that.
I prefer for my posts to be less random and generally run along the same theme. So they incorporate my everyday interests, namely my children, what I’ve bought, (as I look for what other people have been buying) where we’ve been and what we’re up to. Including snippets of our life that I don’t want to forget either, it’s much less hassle than a blog post.
I’m also making an effort to feature more of myself too these days as I think it’s important to be an integral part of your feed too. When I find new accounts, one of the first things I do is scroll through to see what the person looks like and I’ve found that so many feeds are faceless. You need to get yourself behind the lens every once and while and you might just find that people react to this. There are lots of ways to incorporate yourself in photos without actually having to awkwardly smile at the camera. One day your kids will be wondering where you were in all the pictures and you’ll probably ask yourself why too. Just get creative.
I’m certainly no expert and and still have a small following in comparison to many but because I enjoy it, I’m slowly starting to build my feed into what I want it to be. My feed isn’t honed to within an inch of its life and my pictures aren’t all edited exactly the same way and I’m still very much learning with my photography. I’m seeing how my style naturally progresses as I discover what kind of style is more me.
So what kind of Instagrammer are you? I’d love to know people’s thoughts…