Instagram Isn’t Fun Anymore
Is it a bold statement to say Instagram isn’t fun anymore?
Regardless of the discourse surrounding social media and what it means to be addicted to or, dare I say it, enjoy it, social media has to have some kind of fun to keep its users from not jumping ship to another platform.
I stopped using Snapchat because it wasn’t fun. I stopped using Facebook because it’s just old school friends talking about their marriage and babies. Another way of saying it wasn’t fun.
The ones I’ve kept? Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. All having distinct and separate reasons as to why I own them. The easiest one to own is Tumblr. Despite all the chaos it’s going through, it’s actually the smoothest, most consistent social media I’ve had. It’s primary function for me is to join fandoms, reblog gifs and funny text posts, and find others who are just as anti-social and obsessive. Sometimes I’m active, sometimes I’m not. My favourite part of Tumblr is that you cannot see other people’s follow counts and others cannot see yours. This fact will become important later.
Twitter is a little different. While having a similar function as Tumblr, I see Twitter as more of my outward personality. It’s not formal, but it’s not the absolute me. I retweet things that I like or agree with, tweet funny (or attempts at funny) things, have made life long friends, but I also network, market my blog, and talk about my passions, the main one being books. I don’t really talk about fandoms on there, and, weirdly, I don’t talk about books on Tumblr.
And then there’s the developing villain of my social media story, Instagram.
My Instagram does not have a function or purpose anymore. In the beginning, I created a personal account which showed snapshots of my life. I only followed my IRL friends. After starting my blog and slowly changing my online presence into one of books, writing and publishing, my account became book central. A bookstagram. It’s purpose became indulging in fun and beautiful pictures of books, as well as attracting the attention of publishers (I’ve found that publishers love bookstagram).
After the algorithm kicked in, we were all a little nervous as to what that might do for accounts. And while I like to blame everything on it, I think it doesn’t help that Instagram just isn’t fun anymore. Follower count has become a hierarchy, where DMing someone with 10k feels like shakily handing a fan letter to a celebrity as they pass you in the street (even though said person with those numbers is the nicest person ever). Twitter also has follower counts visible, but weirdly, I’m not bothered by that. My count fluctuates on both platforms, but when someone unfollows me on Instagram, I’m concerned with what I did wrong. I’m active, responsive, I change up my account’s theme so as not to become stale, I comment and like other people’s posts; surely I am the perfect Instagram user?
Becoming this stressed out mess who frantically looks through their explore page to find inspiration and wonder how other accounts are growing so rapidly when mine has stagnated ever since the algorithm came in is exhausting. I just wanted to share pictures and look at other people’s pictures, I didn’t want to become a slave to immediate gratification.
I feel like social media should be treated the same way as gambling: when the fun stops, stop.
I’ve decided I’m going to be thinking about my Instagram a little differently from now on. It’s very hard to get out of the mindset of ‘gotta get more likes/followers’, because of the aforementioned immediate gratification, but I want to place all of my focus back onto the pictures and the people I interact with. I’ve begun unfollowing inactive accounts and people I find never appear on my feed anyway. I’m still whittling it down, but hopefully I’ll get there. With my pictures? Instead of keeping to a theme or posting what I think will get more likes, instead I’ll post a picture because I like it.
The algorithm may not like me for it, but I refuse to let something like that play with my feeling of self worth. On a social media site no less.
Will I end up removing it completely in the future? Maybe! But nevertheless, I love taking photos, and I would love a place where I can share them without feeling inadequate. A social media site has no place making someone feel like that, and switching off/unplugging should be a part of everyone’s routine.