I’ve started to write this sentence for the 4th time now, I keep deleting it and if I’m honest I’m actually struggling with how to begin,where to start, and how to explain/ express what i’m feeling and thinking. Let’s start from the beginning as that may be the easiest place to start (see what I did there?)
So I began my Instagram journey on April 25th 2012 and it began as a photography page. Just me messing around with my new Nikon camera, taking photos of anything and anyone. Harmless stuff!
Then as instagram grew, it changed and it began to be more about you and your life, didn’t it? You know showing our nights out, what you were doing, wearing and documenting everything pretty much. At that point the focus wasn’t so much on how many likes, shares, friends, followers you got- like it is now. I think the pressure of that came at a much later date.
So my page began to be shaped around me and my life, travelling, my dog, selfies- oh the endless selfies. Who knows when people started to earn money through it, influencers, small businesses, etc etc. But a few years back 2017ish when I was pregnant with Adeline, I started to use it to share my experience with pregnancy life, I loved it because it was a little community, speaking to other mums who were pregnant or have experienced pregnancy, so really it was a place I went to for support, reassurance and to also to share my story. I noticed I started to get more likes, engagement and loved it that people were generally interested in me and enjoyed watching our life.
I’m not sure exactly when it started to happen but I started to get more likes, followers, I was then asked by friends i’d met online if I wanted to join an engagement group- a great way to support other mums. I began to meet mums from all around the world and it was an amazing and supportive community to be part of (and still is). I have met so many genuine people in these engagement/ support groups, people I can genuinely call friends.
I’ve read amazing blogs, creating my own blog and received true honest advice which has truly helped me as a parent.
But recently I started to think about the concept behind it, was it actually just about getting more likes, shares and exposure at the end of it. Did people only comment and like because they felt like they had to so they could then receive the same back. Some engagement groups haven’t been as authentic and if you haven’t followed the rules you’ve been kicked out and everyone instantly unfollows you. So really no one actually gave a shit? Did they?
So fast forward to 2020 where I’m pregnant again and I started to use Instagram a lot more during lockdown, I joined more groups, getting more followers la la la – all that i’ve said above. Everything became a game, a mission and there we have it, my page quickly then seemed to be taken over. I was/have/am being invited to various engagement groups, follow groups, I get constant messages from AMAZON SELLERS- asking to trade 5 star reviews for a refund. I started to wonder then, is this what instagram has become? You’re probably reading this and thinking WELL DUHHH or you are thinking I’m a hypocrite. Well give me a chance to keep explaining.
So instagram started to improve for me with various brands getting in touch wanting me to collab- WHO ME? COLLAB? HOW EXCITING! I have friends who do this as a living! I always stay true to myself and if I loved the product/brand then I would only accept. If it was something I wasn’t bothered about or passionate should I say then I wouldn’t bother because then I’m just being false. As that happened and I was being noticed on Instagram it kind of became a little addictive, I became part of maybe 8 different engagement groups just so I’d be noticed more. For those of you who don’t know what an engagement group is here is an easy way to explain;
- An engagement pod is a group (or ‘pod’) of Instagram users who band together to help increase engagement on each other’s content. This can be done through likes, comments, or follows. Whether you’re looking for something more general, or even something exclusive, chances are there’s a pod to cater to
It’s all good fun at first but when you realise that it’s having a genuine impact on your life you know something has to change.
I recently moved house and created a home account. I absolutely love it and I have generally met so many nice people, all interested in the same thing; homes, interiors, design. It’s very different to my personal account as I don’t actually give anything away about myself on the account really. It’s all about ‘my home’. It isn’t about who I am as a person. It feels different and I found myself going onto my home account more and dreading the meaningless, repetivitness of my personal account. Something that may I point out I have caused myself. No one else is to blame! It’s addictive. And I’m to blame for the way I’ve let it run away.
Do you know it got to the point where I would have to take time out of my day to do as I would call it ‘ADMIN’- going through my instagram engagement groups and spending sometimes up to an hour trawling through posts/pictures. Liking, saving, etc etc. And for what? To receive the same back. But why? I keep asking myself now, why!
Now don’t get me wrong not all engagement groups I’m in have been like that, some I have met genuine people/friends through them and have shared stories and experiences and have been able to talk to them about things perhaps I haven’t with my best friends. So i’m not saying it’s all all bullshit. I’ve valued a lot of peoples opinions and what better platform to get help with parenting then that. Part of my profile has always being about being true to myself, being raw and real, NO bullshit, kind of like my blogs.
Over the past few weeks I just got to thinking out of all the comments I was receiving (200-300 plus) how many of these were true, how many cared and really how many gave a shit. And that’s when I realised that my personal account had become less authentic and meaningless to me. That is not what i’m about.
So what now?
I decided, i’m having another baby, Adeline is growing up so fast. Family is so important. Is this what I want? Need even? Answer is no. None of it really matters, the likes, comments etc if it isn’t real and genuine it doesn’t mean anything. I want it to go back to what it’s really all about. Which I’m still actually looking for the answer to that if I’m honest..
I’m no longer part of 8 engagement groups, I no longer feel like I HAVE to go on instagram, sure i’m still using it because i’m an over sharer and as i’ve said before lots of good/friendships HAVE and ARE coming out of instagram.
But now I know it will be real and authentic. 20 LIKES over 200 fake likes i’d take that any day. It’s also interesting because since removing myself from these groups yesterday i’ve already lost a handful of followers but also on the flip side received so many nice messages with people who feel exactly the same, so it isn’t just me. And it shows that it wasn’t all a waste of time.
Over to you..
So this is where I turn to you.. what is your intention on instagram? What kind of followers do you want? Does it matter to you? Let me know if you agree or disagree! Please let me know! No judgement here. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions/experiences.