green and white polka dot skirt

Why I’ve Stopped Caring About Instagram

A few weeks ago, one of my Instagram photos got featured by a much larger account, and, literally overnight, I gained a few hundred new followers.

A couple of days later, it happened again.

Now, I’m not ashamed to admit that I was absolutely elated by this – and the reason I point out I’m not ashamed is because I think you are supposed to be a bit ashamed by that kind of admission, aren’t you? Like, it’s not really the done thing to be all, “Actually, I’d quite like half a million Instagram followers and a little blue tick next to my name, thanks,” is it? No, you’re supposed to be more like, “Oh, I don’t care about THE NUMBERS! I Instagram FOR ME! If you’re in it for the numbers, you’re DOIN IT RONG, ‘cos it won’t make you happy!”

And, of course, it WON’T make you happy: that much is true. Actually, I think it would make me quite stressed, really. I mean, I sometimes look at the comments on those really big accounts – the ones that have hundreds of thousands of followers – and think, “Amber, you should thank your stars that you’ve cleverly avoided becoming popular on Instagram, all these years, because that way madness lies.” And it really, really does.

Even so, though, I’d be lying if I told you I wouldn’t at least like the option of being driven mad by a massive Instagram following, because, yes, I totally would. I can’t be the only one whose looked at the phenomenon that is Mrs Hinch, say, and thought, “I wish I’d thought of naming my cleaning products: WHY DIDN’T I?” Or can I?
green and white polka dot midi skirt

I’d be lying if I told you I wouldn’t at least like the option of being driven mad by a massive Instagram following, because, yes, I totally would.

So, as I was saying, one night I went to bed as usual, and, when I woke up, I had a few hundred extra Instagram followers.

“It’s finally happened!” I thought, excitedly filling up my online shopping baskets with all of the things I was going to buy when I hit the 1 million follower mark, and brands all started fighting over who could pay me the most money to work with them. “I’ve finally figured out Instagram! I wonder if I should do an ebook, explaining how I did it?”

Then I checked my account, and I’d lost 100 followers.

Then 200 followers.

And it Just. Kept. Going.

I’m not sure whether the followers I’d gained from being featured on those larger accounts had followed just to unfollow again (I.e. the old, “I’ll follow you in the hope you follow me back, then I’ll unfollow again a few days later,” game) or if they’d just followed expecting fashion photos, only to be disappointed when I posted a bunch of random stuff instead, but, whatever the reason, my follower numbers just kept dropping, and absolutely nothing I did made the slightest bit of difference.

It wasn’t for the lack of trying, either, because, short of buying followers or using bots, I tried absolutely EVERYTHING.

I left thoughtful comments on related accounts.

I interacted as much as possible with other Instagram users.

I replied to all my comments.

I experimented with posting at different times of day, and multiple times per day.

I stuck to my “theme”.

I dropped my theme, and posted photos that were totally out of place on my grid.

I even – and this time I AM actually quite embarrassed to admit this – tried joining a couple of “follow trains” I came across. In my defence, they were all “new mum” accounts, and I genuinely thought it could be a good way to connect with women at a similar stage as me. As it turned out, though, hardly any of them followed me back (Despite it being a RULE, allegedly…), and the ones who did tended to ONLY post graphics about other follow trains, so… yeah. Total waste of time. WHO WOULDA GUESSED?

autumn outfit inspiration: grern polka dot skirt with white sweaterAbsolutely nothing I tried made even the slightest bit of difference.

And it never HAS, either: because, the fact is, until my sudden jump in followers, I’d been stuck on roughly the same number for months. Every day I’d gain a handful of new followers… and lose almost exactly the same number, so there was never any growth, just the discouraging feeling of running on the spot, and getting absolutely nowhere. In the past year, I’ve had a few posts do really well (For me, anyway), and get more than triple the amount of likes I usually get, but even THAT hasn’t made any difference, or stopped me losing followers: so what WILL?

At the time of writing, the rate of follower loss has slowed down considerably, but I’m still waking up every morning with a few less followers than I did the day before – or, at least, I assume I am. The truth is, I no longer even bother to check. This is actually quite a departure for me, because I used to check my follower numbers every day: sometimes more than once. These days, though? These days, I know it’ll just depress me, so I leave well alone, and I think that’s probably healthier.

At the time of writing, the rate of follower loss has slowed down considerably, but I’m still waking up every morning with a few less followers than I did the day before

I’m not posting much any more, either – other than on Stories, which I still love. Oh, I haven’t stopped altogether: I do occasionally get a photo I want to share on Instagram, but I no longer go out of my way to create one, and I can sometimes go days between posts, which would previously have been unheard of for me, because I felt I HAD to upload something every day, or die trying.

These days, though, I just don’t see the point. Thanks to the current algorithm, the majority of my followers don’t see my posts anyway, and, every time I upload something, it just seems to remind people to unfollow me, so why bother, really? And, I mean, I should probably say here that I’m very aware that all of this sounds a bit, “WELL, I DIDN’T WANT TO COME TO YOUR STUPID PARTY, ANYWAY!” – uttered when you realise you’re the only person who didn’t get an invite. Feel free to picture me as Elsa in Frozen at this point, all, “THE COLD NEVER BOTHERED ME ANYWAAAAYY!”

Can you blame me, though?

Because, the fact is, I’m just really, really tired of trying and failing to figure out Instagram. I’d LOVE to be good at it – I really would. But I think I’ve reached a stage now where I’ve finally accepted that it’s not ever going to be my strong point – and I think I’m OK with that. I KNOW I’m OK with not giving it so much headspace any more: all that time stressing over the fact that I haven’t uploaded something in 10 hours, and OMG, this photo I was going to post isn’t a perfect match for my theme, WOE! I mean, that’s RIDICULOUS, right? And I’ve known that for a long time now – I just haven’t known how to break out of that mindset… until Instagram decided to perfectly illustrate the fact that it really doesn’t matter WHAT I do: my followers still won’t see my posts, and they’ll still keep unfollowing in their masses. So why worry?

So I don’t. Worry, that is. I DO still have my Instagram account, obviously, and I DO still use it, albeit mostly for Instagram Stories, which I still enjoy. But I’ve stopped caring – or even checking – how many likes my posts get, or what my follower numbers are. I’ve stopped taking photos with Instagram in mind (Unless it’s required as part of a brand collaboration, obviously), and I’ve stopped viewing Instagram as something that has the potential to be a large part of my business: it’s only ever going to be a fun distraction for me, and it’s more fun when I look at it like that.

So, I haven’t quit Instagram : but I have quit caring about Instagram.

Er, I don’t suppose this is a good time to ask if anyone wants to follow me over there, then?

P.S. I write a weekly diary which goes out every Friday to my subscribers. Sign up below to get on the list...

books by Amber Eve
  • Finally, someone said it aloud… I have been amazed lately on how crazy the whole situation seems to be on Instagram: the follow-unfollow strategy, the treacky algorythm… everything. Instagram will not benefit fake followers anymore, but I can’t help but wonder if this will make any difference at the end.
    Like you, I don’t really mind about how grammable something is these days, and I simply use the photos I take for the blog or just for fun. It doesn’t really matter.

    November 28, 2018
  • Ha, it makes me laugh when people suggest they were never on Instagram for the likes and follows! Why is it considered so lowly to admit you enjoy the buzz of someone saying you’re awesome?! Don’t mind me, I’m just posting pictures of my outfits for no reason whatsoever, I just like doing it…! LOLZ! Anyway, good for you – I really love some of the little communities I’ve discovered on Instagram and have met some wonderful people, but I don’t half find it baffling. Some of my most popular posts are the worst quality and then pictures I’m really proud of gain no traction whatsoever – I just can’t work it out. And then when Insta wants to give me ‘helpful’ advice, it makes no sense at all – I swear every time it tells me, ‘Hey, this post is doing better than all your others…!’ it’s actually a post that has the least likes/comments/views! You totally should stop caring, because it is BONKERS! I should stop caring too, but I’m a bit worried I’m too weak – I JUST LOVE THE LIKES TOO MUCH DAMMIT!! I am going to try though, and just enjoy the pretty pics and friendly interactions rather than drive myself insane wondering why nobody likes me!

    November 28, 2018
      • Besides, let me just butt in and say, that even if you pay for promotion, you don’t get ANYTHING back! I got 40k reach on a promoted photo and just 2 follows. Only 2! It’s insane.

        November 28, 2018
  • Sometimes, all you need is to be yourself… I understand you. I also tried everything single thing to have more followers, but I didn’t get morr, so I just decided to let it be as it have to! Now, I don’t care anymore if I have a thousand of followers, because I know that the ones that I have are real followers and they won’t unfollow me just because I don’t follow them back!

    Ella Morgan

    November 28, 2018
  • I totally agree! There’s no rhyme or reason to instagram anymore.

    November 28, 2018
  • Myra


    I am delighted say I have reached 100 followers, and surprisingly many are international photographers from far flung places like Brazil, Afghanistan, Syria, Italy, et al. I think they follow me so I can look at their images and follow them. Then they unfollow me lol.

    November 28, 2018
  • I have never been much of a visual person. I care much more about what is written than I do about the picture, so Instagram never was a great fit for me to begin with. But I decided to really try, be active, post regularly, engage, and I have done it all year – only to get the same results you got. I am stuck with numbers and nothing changes. my goal for next year? Follow your lead and stop stressing.
    Instagram stories is amazing though!

    Anne – Linda, Libra, Loca

    November 29, 2018
  • Instagram as a business model is trash. I knew it would end up that way because Facebook did the same years ago to people. They let them build massive communities on their pages and then overnight they killed their visibility unless they paid for ‘boost’ or ads. Add to that the cynical function of ‘likes’ as a measure of success and it’s all pretty messed up.
    I genuinely love photography and have done my entire life, and yet I find myself actively not posting on Instagram in case it doesn’t ‘fit the theme’ or if an image I like doesn’t get the sufficient ‘likes’ then I’ll feel like a failure.
    Like I said, Instagram is trash.
    As you’ve seen I’ve unfollowed everybody, and deleted the app from my phone. I may or may not go back to Instagram, but for now, I just need to cleanse myself of that unhealthy cycle of not creating, not sharing, and feeling like a constant failure.

    November 29, 2018
  • I absolutely agree with everything you’ve said. Just wanted to add that I love this new layout you’ve implemented for the article. The picture showing up on the side as I scrolled was lovely. Just putting it out there, I know how much time and effort you spend on making sure your web design is top notch. Congrats!

    November 29, 2018
  • Instagram is a funny beast. I’ve tried so hard to build my following, being a new blogger, and sometimes it’s just really not worth it. I think my blog is more valuable in the end. I’m going to try to concentrate more on that.
    Debs @

    December 2, 2018
  • Loving those dots and heels!! 🙂

    And yeah,.. I guess there was a time when I was worried about likes.. especially compared to the number of followers I have. And it was quite discouraging to see other accounts do well when all they do is post selfies and outfit photos with their phones.. always shot in the same mirror in the same corner of their room. Meanwhile, I’m trying to mix it all up.. posting high quality photos and smartphone pics.. indoor and outdoor.. and still, no real growth.

    Now, I’m just posting pics without thinking.. and it’s quite liberating. 🙂

    YouTube | Blog: Geekette in High Heels | Instagram

    December 14, 2018