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Why I’ve Stopped Caring About Instagram

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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?

Wait: I can sense I’m losing control of this post here. Let’s wrestle it back on track, shall we?

S

o, 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.

And then, a few nights later, the same thing happened again.

“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?

Absolutely 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.

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.

(Scott A, if you’re reading: that bit was just me exaggerating for dramatic effect, OK?)

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?

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(Er, that came out a bit weird: what I mean to say is, enter your email below to be notified each time I publish a new post...)

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13 Comments
  • Allegra
    November 28, 2018

    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.

  • Steph
    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!

    • Amber
      November 28, 2018

      Seriously, according to Instagram, EVERY SINGLE PHOTO I POST does “95% better” than the rest of the posts on my page. It makes NO SENSE! And it honestly drives me mad to know that they’re just trying to dupe me into spending money on advertising: I mean, why should I have to pay so that the people who are already following me can actually see my posts? Crazy!

      Oh, and yes to the bad photos doing best: my most successful photos ever have all been mirror selfies, taken on my phone, in the dark. I sometimes think I should just run with it, and only post bad mirror selfies, but I can’t bring myself to do it, because they’re just SO BAD!

      • Sora
        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.

        • Amber
          November 28, 2018

          YES! I’ve tried this too, and got absolutely nothing out of it: such a waste of money!

  • Ella Morgan
    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!

    Kisses
    Ella Morgan
    moonlightfelicitydestin.blogspot.com

  • Nouchaline
    November 28, 2018

    I totally agree! There’s no rhyme or reason to instagram anymore.

  • Myra
    November 28, 2018

    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.

  • LindaLibraLoca
    November 29, 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

  • Elizabeth
    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.

  • Cristina Maria
    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!

  • Debbie Carr
    December 2, 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 @ https://tiger-mint.com

  • Natassia Crystal
    December 14, 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

AD | Time for a quick game of “Where’s Amber?”⁣
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It’s another rainy Monday, so I’m throwing it back to our trip to @universalorlando ‘s amazing Volcano Bay water park last month. I’m a bit of a scaredy when it comes to water flumes, but this park had tons of stuff for pretty much everyone: plenty of rides for me, and an amazing splash pad for Max 👶In fact, I’d still be on The Fearless River right now if I possibly could be. Still, doing the laundry and turning the heating on will be just as good, right? Right?! 🌋 🏊‍♀️ .
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#universalorlando #volcanobay #waterpark #lazyriver #vacay #floridavacay

AD | Time for a...

Good news! We took Max to hospital this morning, and saw two different surgeons, who agreed there was no need to go ahead with the surgery as his lip is healing really well on its own 😅  He’ll definitely have a scar, unfortunately, but that would’ve been the case whether he’d had the surgery or not, and if it turns out to be worse than anticipated, we’ll have the option to have it corrected under local anaesthetic when he’s older. ⁣
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I’m still really upset that this happened in the first place, obviously, but so relieved that we don’t have to put him through a general anaesthetic, and just incredibly grateful that it wasn’t anything worse. I know some parents have to deal with much more serious stuff than this, and my heart goes out to you all: it’s been a rough couple of days, and I’m really grateful to everyone who took the time to comment on yesterday’s post - your stories were so comforting when I was panicking yesterday ❤️ ⁣
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(Old photo, obviously: every time Max sees the selfie camera, he thinks it’s going to be one of those filters where you open your mouth and something happens 😂)⁣
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#pbloggers #mummybloggers #mummybloggersuk #ukmumblog #mumblogsuk #mumblogs #mamablog #ukparentbloggers #parentbloggersuk #ukparentingblog #parentingbloggers #motherhoodblogger #motherhoodblog #ukblogger #ukofficialblogger #happyblogger #mummyblog #bloggerclubuk #instamum

Good news! We took Max...

Totally unrelated photo, but we’ve just spent the morning in Accident & Emergency with Max, who fell on the path outside the house and split his lip open 😥 ⁣
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They tried to stitch it up at A&E, but it was totally impossible with him awake, so they’ve booked him in to have it done under general anaesthetic tomorrow ... Max is absolutely fine: the bleeding stopped quickly, he doesn’t seem to be in pain, and is just his normal, happy little self. I, on the other hand, am a complete wreck: the plastic surgeon he saw today reckons if we don’t have it fixed, his lip will be crooked when it heals, but I’m absolutely *terrified* of the thought of my baby having to have a GA. ⁣
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If you’re a long-time follower, you might know that I have a full-blown phobia of general anaesthetic (I literally had an elective c-section in order to eliminate the possibility of an emergency one, which might have had to be done under GA), so I just can’t get my head to accept that it’s safe and he’ll be fine 😥 ⁣
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Positive stories and advice very welcome: I’m just so terrified, I can’t even imagine how to get through the next 24 hours 😥😥😥

Totally unrelated photo, but we’ve...

#throwbackthursday to last week, when I needed a sunhat and SPF 50 to leave the house, rather than the current raincoat and wellies situation. Can you tell the post-holiday blues are still in full swing over here? 🌧 .
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#whatiwear #30plusblogs #everydaystyle #realoutfitgram  #scottishbloggers #fashionblogger  #fashionblog #fashionstyle #whatimwearing #stylegram  #outfitoftheday #personalstyle #todayiamwearing #styleinspiration 
#stylediaries #styleblogger #over30style

#throwbackthursday to last week, when...

I posted this on Stories over the weekend, but he looked so cute in it I figured it deserved a spot on the grid, too! This is Max all ready for his friend Eleah’s 1st birthday party on Saturday: despite the jetlag and his continuing obsession with doors of all kinds (He had an entire soft play at his disposal, but he mostly just wanted to open and close the gate into it...) he had an absolute ball, and spent the whole drive home shouting, “HAPPY! HAPPY!” Thanks to @thestirlingstyle for a great party 🥳 🎈 🎉 . (Oh, and that’s his hairbrush in his hand - boy likes to look his best 😉)
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#littlepiecesofchildhood #cameramama #chikdhoodeveryday #childofig #celebrate_childhood #babieswithstyle #ootdkids #fashionbaby #trendykids

I posted this on Stories...

We’re back home in not-so-sunny Scotland, but my feed is still stuck in Florida... New post is up on the blog (direct link in Stories..), talking about how we’ve been dealing with toddler jetlag, and why I always hate coming home after a trip...
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#myunicornlife #lifecolorfully #liveauthentic  #ABMlifeissweet #ABMhappylife #ABMlifeiscolorful #howyouglow #makeyousmilestyle #thegoodlist #thecolorwallproject #colorsplash #colorworld #colorsplurge #lovecolors #jj_colorlove #gf_colour #huntgramcolor #jj_colorful #tv_colors #pocketcolors #sunnypicchallenge #colorhunters #colorgram #colorfulllife #colorinspiration #brightcolors #colormyworld #colorinspiration #womeninframe #ihavethisthingforwalls

We’re back home in not-so-sunny...

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