I’m in a Toxic Relationship With Instagram
I hate Instagram. There, I said it.
I used to adore Instagram. When I downloaded the app in 2011, it quickly became my favourite social media platform. I loved those quirky hipster filters. Now I’d be embarrassed to use X-Pro II or Valencia on my photos.
Photography and digital art are two of my favourite hobbies. I once loved sharing my work on Instagram and finding other creatives to connect with.
Now it’s not only become a chore, but it affects my mental health too. Likes, engagement, followers, comparison… Yet somehow, I can’t bring myself to delete the app.
Would it really affect my career as a freelance creative to not have a presence on Instagram? Would those 1500 ‘followers’ notice if I left? Probably not. Except for my biggest fan, my Grandad. Yes, my Grandfather has Instagram.
My relationship with Instagram has ebbed and flowed over the years. I set up a profile when I was 16 years old, and now I’m 25. My content preferences have changed a lot. Instagram has changed a lot too.
When did it become a glorified advertisement? Every third post is an advert, and now they want us to do our shopping there too. Thanks, Facebook.
Trying to enjoy Instagram again
In 2020, in an attempt to revive my joy for Instagram, I removed 200 of my followers. These were mostly inactive accounts who hadn’t posted since 2017. While working my way through this tedious (and perhaps pointless) task, all I could think was… maybe they had the right idea?
I also unfollowed many people. As of writing, I have 1500 followers, and I’m following 600. You might think 600 is still too many people to keep up with, and you’d be correct.
I’m working on a big social media cleanse, while struggling to accept that it might be time to move on. Just like a toxic, abusive relationship I was in for several years, I know in my gut that it’s harmful to me.
Do I hate Instagram because it’s become ‘work’?
I’ve been blogging for around 7 years now. I create ‘lifestyle’ content, focused on creative hobbies, mental health, and things to do in London. When I work with brands, it’s always expected that I have an active Instagram account with a good engagement percentage.
I wouldn’t classify myself as an ‘influencer’ (lol), but I suppose in a way I’m a ‘micro-influencer’ or whatever we’re calling it these days. I’ve been paid for creating ads on Instagram. These ads were combined with sponsored blog posts or sometimes standalone Instagram campaigns.
I rarely work on Instagram collaborations, because most of them have ridiculous expectations. No, I won’t give you commercial photography rights in exchange for a 20% discount and free shipping on a product I don’t want.
Doesn’t it make sense to repurpose my blog content for Instagram? To promote my blog posts on Instagram stories? To connect with other bloggers?
I don’t know. It feels like a waste of time. My own followers barely see my posts.
Instagram is a game where the rules change every few months.
Every Instagram ‘guru’ tells you to use the platform every single day, post stories, videos, IGTV, reels, go live… what about those of us who just enjoy photography?
I can’t think of anything worse than streaming myself live, to be honest.
Why isn’t there a competitor for Instagram?
I’m waiting for the day when an Instagram competitor comes along.
Can’t we have a photography-based social media platform without all the other crap Facebook is pushing?
I’m clearly not the only one who feels this way. At least 55 people on Twitter agree…
I don’t want to shop on Instagram.
I go to YouTube or TikTok for video content.
Instagram has become messy and confusing, like their evil overlord, Facebook.
Maybe it’s not that deep. Maybe I just need a break. Or maybe I should delete my account.