Over recent weeks, I have seen many an Instagram post of someone weighing up their purpose for using the platform. ‘It’s just not the same!’ seems to be the common thread. And they’re right. It’s not.
First, the InstaGods killed off the iconic brown logo, then they merged with Facebook and unleashed the algorithmic beast on us. We all know it’s not gonna end there. With only 2.6k Instagram followers, I am no expert but, like many of you, I’m navigating the ‘black run’ best I can (often behind the curve) upon finding out what the latest update all shakes down to.
Why We Started
Crazes blow in and out all the time (the day I finish writing this, Vero appears on my radar!), but how many thought when we embarked on the Instagram saga, that it would become quite the epic it is today? We dabbled in this new-found ‘place to be’ and a sense of community quickly sprouted up around lifestyle, hobbies, and interests. Addicted to the little ♥ hits, we sought no cure.
The Rise Of Influence
Filters and the introduction of editing apps changed the game as we realised we could actually produce quite reasonable looking pictures, high-five! No longer were the professionals the only ones in the ring. We began faffing in earnest, it wasn’t just selfies and candid shots anymore, if you wanted to be in the game you had to have a handsome gallery.
Stylised shoots provided a playful pastime for some, but became a necessity for those who fast-realised the earning potential of this novel little app. Cashing in on our addiction, brands had us selling to each other; word-of-square was the midas touch.
Bloggers thanked their lucky stars as the perfect synergy of grid and blog became a match made in heaven. Being an influencer became ‘a thing’ and people gave up their jobs to concentrate full time on their new-found passion!
The crest of the wave was high but…
Instagram Is A Business And Change Is Inevitable
Chronological posting became history; soon after we all came face-to-face with the algorithm (‘what even was one?’ we asked). Though we were led to believe it was for our benefit, many failed to see the changes as having any positive outcome.
No matter how much we wish our experience would stay as it is, that’s not likely. Instagram is a business and makes whatever changes it deems necessary. Now owned by Facebook, we are already seeing the beginnings of what happened with Facebook Pages transpiring. Facebook persuaded every business on the planet to acquire huge followings, then told them they’d have to pay if they wanted their followers to see their posts – ouch!
With scheduling and carousel ad’s on the horizon, Instagram becomes more like Facebook by the day. In fact, how is it actually any different now?
Keeping It In Perspective
What started out as a seemingly innocent pastime, now feels for many like it has too much control.
It’s not just Instagram that’s changed, we too have evolved. New life stages and interests mean that what we once double-tapped for, we’re now SO over.
Everything has its saturation point. Aerial shots of coffee, feet, and food were only ever going to be ‘fresh’ for so long. What starts out as adorable, becomes annoying when it’s all you see. It loses its appeal like the same supper would every night of the week. It’s a natural progression.
The Bottom Line
In my humble opinion, the quest for authentic connection is what our Insta-crush explored and is fast losing. Instagram felt more authentic in the beginning; now, not so much. Not only are we bombarded with ad’s and sponsored posts, we’ve invented hashtags like #authentic and #instareality to convince fence-sitters, that we are the real deal.
After years of bowing to the extremeties of creating THE perfect square, we’re now seeing the opposite extreme of overt reality in an attempt to readdress the balance.
Personally, I have found Instagram incredibly effective at yielding genuine connections and relationships. I continue to meet amazing friends both virtually and in person that I simply wouldn’t have otherwise. I am thankful those beautiful people are part of my world.
It’s THAT I value.
And The Point Is?
We don’t all use Instagram for the same purpose. If you’re not using the platform as an influencer or business keep it light! It’s a different ball game for all those who have a vested interest in keeping up with the twists and turns in order to highlight a product or service they are selling in some way.
Defining your purpose for use now (as opposed to what it was when you started) is worth a thought.
Is it a hobby anymore?
Do you use it as a blissful escape from the rest of your life and so are willing to roll with the changes regardless?
Are you, in fact, finding you’re addicted to likes and is it causing undue stress you simply do not need? (try let that s*!t go!)
Don’t lose your peace. Play the game but see the illusion for what it is.
A First And Final Word About Vero
Vero is the new social media app currently experiencing an explosion of popularity (it apparently jumped from 99 to number one on the Apple’s UK app store this past week!). What happens after that explosion, remains to be seen. Having come across it in the past 24 hours I couldn’t not include here – it’s almost too much of a coincidence.
Promising no ads, and a chronological time feed, it could scratch the itch for all who were simply fed up with investing time and energy in a platform which then penalised them if it deemed someone else’s post more popular at the time of posting whilst spamming them with ads!
Will it have potential to connect us to new people/even more people? Are we all being taken for a ride? Will Insta pay attention and reinstate chronology? Who knows. I’m trialling it… for now. It will be interesting to see where the chips fall.
Regardless, it was time for a good shake-up.
Are Instagram’s day numbered? Will another platform really be the answer? Love to know your thoughts, join the conversation below.