Dear Instagram

I have been holding off posting this for so long, it is a risky thing to post as I don’t want to come across ungrateful in the slightest. I am lucky to have the platform that I do, but at the same time I want to use this platform to share how I am really starting to feel about Instagram. I know that a lot of my fellow blogging friends feel the same so I want to put it down into words, even if some people take it the wrong way.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram. I first made an account back in 2012, when I had no idea blogging was really a thing and I was just starting to watch YouTube videos. Instagram introduced me to a world that I didn’t know existed, the world of blogging and flatlays and people actually making this as their jobs. I fell in love with the whole idea and since then have been posting my own photos on the platform. They weren’t very good at first and I only started posting properly in 2015, but nonetheless I loved it. The platform have introduced some good features over the past few years, such as the stories feature and the ability to follow hashtags which I quite like. If it wasn’t for Instagram, I wouldn’t have started my blog as not only did I learn all about blogging through Instagram, but it also gave me the confidence that people would read it.

This was my feed back in 2015:

Then the algorithm happened.

If you are not familiar with the Instagram algorithm then I would have a google before you read this post, purely because I am not too good at explaining it… I am not very good at all the technical details. But I can tell you one thing, it is the most annoying things to happen to social media. All of the small bloggers are in the same boat and it seems to be effecting everyone, but that doesn’t make it any less disheartening.

My feed from 2016:

I have refrained from having a ‘online rant’ for a while, because I know it’s not all about the likes however when a photo that you posted from 2015 has more likes and comments (even when you had 1000 less followers) than now, then it is disheartening. Extremely so. So many bloggers including me have upped their quality massively, post more frequently and have learnt more and more about promotion yet are seeing a huge drop in engagement when if anything their content is improving day by day.

For a bit of insight:

My most popular photo from 2016 (when I had around 500 followers)- 387 likes and 133 comments.

My most popular photo from 2017 (when I have around 1300 followers)- 242 likes and 26 comments.

I know. A huge difference particularly considering I have over double the followers now. This is because photos are going in less people’s feeds due to the non chronological order system now, so even less people see my posts. My average reach is about 400 per post when I have over 1300 followers. How can people like a post that they haven’t seen? This works the other way too, as now I can’t keep up with my favourite creators so I end up having to search for them every week or so to see what they have been up to.

At the point I had 1200 but look at the reach, this is about average for everything I post.

I have been quite lucky with followers as I have steadily grown over the last year, but not at the speed that I used to back when I started. I know that this is probably due to quite a saturated blogging market, and people can’t follow everyone, but it would be nice to see hard work rewarded with followers. It is harder and harder to reach goals now, and the algorithm does seem to favour larger accounts for some reason, so no matter what I do there never seems to be any form of growth. I find it sad that I set myself a goal of 1500 followers by the end of 2017 thinking that it was an easily reachable goal, but that was never achieved. That being said I do like my little community and having stable growth, which is significantly better than some who have actually seen a loss in followers. It’s not the nicest feeling when you post a photo that you are really proud of, and it is met with a decrease in your follower number. I love how all of the bloggers have started to shout out people on their stories in order to help people, as that seems to be the only way of gaining a few followers at the moment. The lovely @petitelliee gave me a little shoutout the other week and I gained more followers than I had the entire fortnight before!

My December 2017 feed:

But I think the most annoying thing about the algorithm is how messy seeing photos is. Instagram literally means ‘instant’ but now that is no longer the case. When I scroll down my timeline, it’s all from a few days ago, photos are out of order and often you get two posts (different days!) from the same account in a row. Its so confusing to keep up with my favourite creators and I just want chronological order back. I’ve actually even seen my own photo reappear on my timeline 4 days later!

I do apologise for my rant but I want to open this conversation up to other bloggers and creators on Instagram, and get more opinions. I don’t think there are any ways of truly beating the algorithm, so I think sitting it out and us all being in the same boat is reassuring that it’s not just me having difficulties. It’s just so demotivating and I don’t know how one app can be my favourite and my least favourite all at the same time. So confusing!

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