Every single one of you just read that title and was like “this bitch is posting every two seconds…” You’re right. I have an addiction (the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem). I love taking photos of what I’m doing around the city. I love getting to play with filters. I love having a creative outlet.
But, I hate it.
Instagram used to be a platform for creators. You used to be able to post what you were passionate about and grow a community of people who are passionate about the same thing. Or if you were just using it as a normal person, you had a place to look at photos of your friends on vacation while you sit in a dusty office. But either way, it was a place where you had a community.
When I first got Instagram, I used it as a normal person. I posted normal posts of me and my friends and whatever I was eating. But, when I moved to the city. I realized that people here were using it to create something bigger. People were posting what they do, in fashion or photography or eating, and they were able to make themselves a brand. I was in New York City. That was what I was doing. So, I posted it.
I was broke (am broke) and I was living in a ridiculously expensive city. But, I was still constantly doing stuff. I was just doing free stuff. So, I posted it.
I started growing a following (maybe that’s an aggressive term for it). People liked what I was posting. I started getting reposted by big accounts. My followers kept growing. I started working on creating an aesthetic for my page. I started blogging more consistently. I started getting more into photography. I started creating better and better content. My followers kept growing. And, then they stopped. They even went down. I was posting better content. I was doing more and more events. I was getting invited to events. But, the growth had completely stopped. Each day my followers went up 10 and down 7 or up 7 and down ten.
This was the beginning of the algorithm (DUN DUN DUN). Instagram sold out. They sold themselves to Facebook. Everything changed. They created an algorithm similar to the one that ruined Facebook (no wait that was parents). They decided that rather than seeing everyone you follow, they’d choose who you saw. They decided that celebrities were more important for you to see than your friends. They decided it was no longer a platform for communities to grow.
At first, I feel like only bloggers noticed. I feel like even now only bloggers notice when it gets worse. We feel it. And, for small bloggers it hits us harder. But, regular people still hadn’t noticed. And, Instagram didn’t care what small bloggers had to say that wasn’t where the advertising money was. They wanted the big influencers to be the main (only) thing you saw on your feed.
Now, it’s gotten to the point where normal people are noticing. It’s gotten to the point where people are tweeting about it. Twitter was in a downward spiral until Instagram effed up. Now, people are going back to Twitter so they can complain about Instagram. Twitter is going back up. And Instagram, they’re just making it worse.
Now, there are ads almost every other post. The only thing you see on your feed is ads and celebrities. Fuck your friends. Instagram doesn’t care. They’re here to make money. They’re here for the advertisers. They’re not here for you and your friends. You only make them money when your eyes are on an ad.
Here’s the problem, though. Apps are ephemeral. Everyday new apps are created and old apps lose users. If Instagram isn’t careful, someone will come along and create a similar app, but that is better for its users. Isn’t that right, Myspace? And, millennials don’t really respond well to have advertising blatantly shoved in their face and ruining their user experience.
But seriously, this algorithm affects people. These changes affect people. There are users who make their living by growing their audience. They’re are users who would like to start making their living by growing their audience. They’re are also people that just want to see when their friends are doing when they’re actually doing it, not three days later.
I started my Instagram thinking I could turn it into something really cool that could potentially allow me to work with brands I like. But, now I can’t even grow my following because I don’t have enough followers or engagement for my posts to be promoted. The algorithm has made it so that if you had a ton of followers before it started, then your followers grew and your content was prioritized on the search page and on your followers feed. But if you didn’t make the cut, your efforts to broaden the reach of your posts were thwarted. Your posts were now not a priority to Instagram and reached less and less people.
Then came the culture of buying followers and paying for engagement. Now every girl with $65/month has 10k followers. But, none of that is real. It’s still not the genuine communities that were being built at the beginning. And those fake communities just don’t hold up as well. Eventually, people start to realize the content is all the same, every other post is an ad, every influencer is sponsored by the same brands and it gets boring. I just barely scroll through Instagram anymore because it’s not interesting. I actually started going back to using Twitter more (people on Twitter are hilarious).
I’m hoping Instagram gets a Twitter. They needs to listen to what people want. Because if people aren’t getting what they want, they’ll leave.
***********Hi! If you’re still here, (why?) thanks for listening to my rant. I know it’s dramatic. I know it’s just Instagram. I know it’s trivial. But, I needed to rant. Thanks for reading (Mom).
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