A couple of weeks ago, I deleted Instagram off my phone.
Not a big deal for some, and it probably shouldn’t have been such a big deal for me – but the truth is, I was getting so tired of putting so much time and effort into a channel where I was getting very little back and it was exhausting trying to keep up with ‘the race’.
You may have heard a few bloggers recently talking about their engagement on Instagram and how it’s gone down over the past few months quite dramatically. I’m not a tech expert, and to be honest, I don’t think there has been any set in stone reason as to why it has been happening, but I know that the dreaded algorithm is fast becoming an annoyance for the majority of the blogging world.
If you aren’t aware of what the algorithm is, in a nutshell, it has meant that posts are not in chronological order. Instagram uses data collected from your usage of the app to give you a feed that it thinks you want to see.
Ever wondered why your best friend’s posts have stopped showing up on your timeline, or why you keep seeing the same people over and over again? It’s because Instagram has decided that’s what you want, when in reality, it probably isn’t.
It’s a funny one really.
Instagram used to be a place where you’d post your mirror outfit selfies, what you were having for lunch, or a group snap of you and your friends at the weekend – but now it’s a platform where people are earning thousands per post, vlogging their daily activity, and collaborating with global brands.
When Snapchat appeared, Instagram introduced stories; when Twitter ‘live’ began, Instagram enabled the same feature; when Vine became obsolete, Instagram created Boomerang. All of these little updates have ensured that it stays the app at the forefront of the content world and shows that it will always tweak its interface to make sure it stays fresh and relevant and ahead of the game.
So why did I delete Instagram?
Because it was getting me down. It was becoming a chore. I was constantly thinking about what to post next, worrying that I was losing followers, stressing that I didn’t have enough variety on my feed, comparing my account to others, wondering why I wasn’t getting as high an engagement as everyone else and that I was falling behind when everyone else was powering through.
The platform I used to love so much, that got me into photography, helped me meet new people, work with amazing brands and share my life on social media, just wasn’t enjoyable anymore.
I was finding it impossible to grow my account whilst everyone else around me seemed to be beating the algorithm in their own way, whereas everything I tried was failing. I read countless blogs on it, watched videos and asked for help on twitter, yet nothing was working and eventually I said enough is enough and it was gone from my phone.
And did it work?
At first I found it really hard to not know what was going on in the rose-gold world that is Instagram, but the more time that went on, the more I actually felt empowered deleting my account – I was finally back in control.
And although I lost followers through it, my mental health massively improved in just that short space of time.
To some people, having a week off a social platform might seem like nothing at all; but when you share so much of your life online I was worried I would be forgotten.
I gain the majority of my unique blog visitors through Instagram (or, I used to at least…) so making the cut was quite worrying for the first day or so and I couldn’t help but think that the traffic to my blog would die a slow death, but in reality, that hasn’t happened at all.
Now, I have changed the way I think and go about Instagram.
No longer is it a place where I want to keep up with other people, share white-washed over-edited photos, or overthink my grid, but it’s a platform for me to engage with my readers, share parts of my life that no one else knows about, and improve my photography skills whilst finally enjoying posting pictures again.
I’ve gone back to old-school sharing.
Maybe I will fall behind in the blogging world; maybe my photos won’t be on the popular pages and maybe I won’t win campaigns with the mishmash that is my life – but at the end of the day, does any of that stuff really matter in the long run if it means I’m happier overall?
I have finally found the right balance for me, and that’s exactly what I needed.