Blogging. Instagramming. Self-promoting. It’s a funny old online world isn’t it? I’m in the thick of it and even I can see how it must all be a bit baffling to my friends, family – to anyone actually, on the outside looking in.
It’s kind of an all or nothing place, Instagram. Or at least it is in my experience. I’ve been addicted to it since the day I first downloaded the app in 2011. And I don’t say that lightly. There are three things that I have been addicted to in my life. Cigarettes and coffee being the other two. I gave up the former years ago. The latter, not so much. I’m currently trying on a daily basis to delete caffeine from my diet and am failing miserably.
So what is my definition of addicted in terms of this social media app?
- I spend hours on it every single day. The only time I have taken a bit of a break was when I was pregnant and had such bad sickness that I couldn’t bear to look at my phone as it made me feel worse.
- Whilst writing this blog post from my sofa I’ve had to put my phone in another room, as picking it up and checking Instagram/twitter/facebook every three minutes is not conducive to getting words down.
- It affects my mood. If a photo isn’t performing as well as I would hope – so by that I mean that perhaps it isn’t garnering as many likes as I would indeed have liked – it can significantly affect how I’m feeling. Making me feel glum and disheartened and whiney.
- I care a lot. Probably, too much. You might just say it’s an app, but when you are fully invested in it as I am – and also partially making a living on the back of it, which I know is a privileged and fortunate position to be in, it’s hard not to be consumed by it and take it all a bit too much to heart. What do I mean by to heart? See point three, and also more to follow below.
- My obsession and disdain with Instagram’s algorithm and how it may or may not impact the performance (likes/engagement) of my posts riles me up way more than it should. Several times in any given week, in fact.
- I drive myself insane with all of the above behaviour.
- And just to add, for anyone rolling their eyes at my words – I am well aware that in the grand scheme of life, none of this matters. I agree it doesn’t matter. It’s just an app.
Points 1-6 being said, the good of the app outweighs the negatives by a mile. The community, the people, the opportunities and the flexibility it has brought me to my own day-to-day is pretty bloody marvellous. Time and again I have seen this not so little app literally change people’s lives – and that is without exaggeration. From those who use it as the main platform to promote their business, to those whose Instagram feed is their business in that they make their money via the sponsored posts they create. Then there are the chosen few who get to travel for a living on the back of it as they showcase the beautiful places they visit to their legions of followers, while some use it as a tool to promote the good work they are doing, whatever their mission of making a difference to the world may be.
So what other baggage does Instagram addiction bring? Comparison. The ultimate thief of joy. Now correct me if I’m wrong but surely this is something we all do? It’s human nature is it not? Well in the world of Instagram and blogging it is rife. How can you not compare yourself and your content to your peers, just like we do in every other walk of life. It’s just how we are. How I am anyway. Though I’m slowly getting better at this. Sort of. It is far better for the soul to just focus on you and your own thing, while championing others as you go – the latter of which I think I’m pretty good at.
It can also be tedious in that it’s easy to get caught up in the playground politics of instagram. For example there are apps that you can download that tell you who has unfollowed you, or even blocked you. Call me a glutton for punishment but I use one such app. Blocking is neither here nor there really, in my experience that’s (almost) only ever happened when someone has pinched one of my photos and is claiming it as their own. As for the unfollows, you might think that this is by-the-by when you have a relatively large following – and most of the time it is and you have no idea who the people are that have unfollowed. Sometimes though, it’ll be someone you may have known through Instagram and even regularly interacted with on that platform who unfollows you. While that can suck, it’s usually not personal – for example maybe they just decide they want to focus on the accounts that they engage with all the time. That’s usually been my reasoning when I have unfollowed people.
But it’s when you see that someone you know in real life has unfollowed that it’s almost impossible not to take it personally. Sometimes I’m not aware that someone I know is even following me, until I see that they’ve stopped. When that happens, you can’t help but think ‘what have I posted or done to offend them?’ Or more often than not with me I think, ‘bloody hell – I must really do their head in for them to take that step’. Such is the silent torment of this app!
- I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this. Are you addicted to Instagram? What do you love most about the app, and what winds you up about it? Has it changed your life in any significant way – or is it simply a part of your day-to-day?
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