Is Instagram dying? Or is it already dead? I’ve heard this question being asked over a year now and frankly, I don’t know how I feel about it. On one hand, it makes me feel anxious because I’ve put years of hard work curating my content and building my audience, it will be a shame to see all that go. On the other hand, I’m relieved. I’ve been feeling very uninspired to post and to even scroll through Instagram these days. Why? These are my take on why I think Instagram is no longer the king of social media.
Instagram is sooo fake.
Where do I begin with this. It’s hard to say what is real on Instagram. Numbers are inflated, engagements are forced, everyone is always trying to sell you something, toxic positivity and you constantly need to show your best face. Granted that everyone only wants to show the highlights of their life but it’s like we’ve become desensitized. How many times have you felt underwhelmed when you compare reality vs what is shown on Instagram? When was the last time you travelled somewhere for the experience without planning it around the pretty photos you’ll take for Instagram? Do you really need this bag because you love it or because everyone else is wearing it on Instagram? Can you trust that all the compliments you get on your posts are genuine or because they expect you to return a nice comment back on their posts? If I want an honest review or opinion about anything, Instagram is not a place I go to for that.
The algorithm sucks.
The algorithm on Instagram is constantly changing, at this point, I really stopped caring. I use to go on YouTube and the creator page to check out the new Instagram posting trends and how to improve my content on the platform. “Use 30 hashtags“, they say. And the next week, they tell you that 5 hashtags is the best way. Then they tell you to post every day and just throw out any content. Next week, they tell you photos are obsolete and to post reels. They don’t even show your posts to your audience. I threw in the towel when they were turning Instagram into TikTok. Screw your hashtags and your reels, I’m just gonna post what I want, when I want it because whether or not Instagram pushes out my content to my followers, I have to look at it on my grid and I don’t want to see a jumbled mess of shit just to please people who are only going to see my post once and forget about it. What’s the point of posting something you don’t really like for the sake of others? Besides, Instagram is not where I get my inspirations from anyways *coughs Pinterest.
Everyone is an Influencer.
Everyone is an influencer now. I don’t think it is a bad thing. Even before social media, we were sharing what we bought, giving advice and guiding friends or family, so why not share that with a wider audience? But I think many influencers are missing the point and creating content for monetary gain, more sponsorships or for the algorithm. And since everyone I know now is an influencer (even pets and children) of some sort chasing for the next dopamine high from likes and sponsorship deals, can you imagine what my timeline looks like? It’s just a whole string of ads even when they’re posts from people I know and follow. But when you go to the other platforms that they use (if they have any!), they often have an ‘off Instagram‘ version of themselves which I enjoy watching more.
This is one of the main reasons why I have reverted back to posting more on the blog, read other blog reviews, get inspired and watch content on other platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and Pinterest. If I’m going to influence and get influenced, I want it to be genuinely heard from or for me.
Everyone is posting the same thing.
The same home décor. The same events. The same outfits. The same pose. The same product placements. Even the same coffee stirring, down to the same trending music and same style of cup. Everyone kind of lost their personalities and are doing things for the gram, literally. Everyone needs to have a tepee in their living room (even though it’s useless and takes up space) because it looks good for photos so every other creator and their neighbour decided to add a tepee somewhere in their house. One reel taught you 5 ways to pose for photos and now the whole world only poses 5 ways. Heck, everyone even has the same plant collection. How the heck did this happen? God forbid you dress differently or love your vintage cabinetry in case the algorithm doesn’t push out your content or that bag is not in trend anymore or you’re not relatable enough for clients to work with you.
I have to admit that I fell into this trap for some time. I forgot how to dress as myself as a result of dressing for Instagram. I didn’t realise it until I had to downsize and get rid of rubbish quality clothes. And guess what? 3/4 of my wardrobe were of rubbish quality clothes I bought on impulse just so I won’t repeat wear them on Instagram and the other 1/4 were clothes I have loved way before I got into Instagram. It really slapped me back into reality. I was not going to compromise my denim jacket and Petite Noe that have been through hell with me and last me longer than some relationships I have with people, just to fit in. I’m almost 40, trends are wearing thin on my patience anyways. I just want to love what I love whether or not anyone else cares. Besides, you’ll be surprise at how many people don’t notice how many times you’ve worn that white dress and that someone is secretly lusting over your brown leather sofa.
TikTok and Gen-Z.
Since the reopening after the pandemic, we see a new generation of influencers attending media invites alongside us millennial aunties – Generation Z. They seem fresh out of school and are comfortable doing dance chorography mid event. “What’s your TikTok?“, they’ll ask. Then when you ask them for their Instagram handle, “I don’t use Instagram“…
I had an epiphany. You know how most of us have Facebook but don’t use it except through linked posts from other platforms? And only boomer aunties ask you for your Facebook and we say we ‘don’t use Facebook‘? Omg, we’re the new boomers. Millennials make up the highest user demographic on Instagram – late 20s to early 40s! Instagram is cheugy. It’s no longer the hippest place to hang out and frankly, most millennials are slowly shifting more of their attention to TikTok now too where the algorithm is more catered to what you enjoy watching, it’s far more entertaining, product reviews are (mostly) more honest, and, this is debatable, it’s less curated. What’s more, Instagram is now attempting to be another TikTok and removing whatever little things that’s left that we enjoyed on the platform, it’s just pissing even the millennials off and driving us away.
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Instagram Feed Over the Years:
When you scroll through your feed, can you tell the year and what you were going through at that point in your life just from looking at the photos, filters and what you were wearing? I’m nostalgic and tend to do this with most of my social platforms especially with Instagram. I was always particular about curating my feed as I treated it as my portfolio while still holding my memories and telling my story. Let’s look back at a timeline of my Instagram feed.
@lovebellavida Circa 2014
I started this account relatively late in 2014 around the same time I opened this blog to the public. I use to love adding fonts in my photos and collages of photos from my blog posts before the invention of carousel swipe posts.
@lovebellavida Circa 2015
I loved reminiscing my feed from 2015 the most! It was my most personally motivated made-for-myself point in my Instagram history and highly inspired from Tumblr. I didn’t get a lot of likes then but I didn’t cared as much as I would in later years.
@lovebellavida Circa 2016
I was preparing for my wedding, studying to take my guiding license, working part-time and going through some personal issues this year and it shows (to me, at least). I ditched the Tumblr aesthetics and was saving money for our wedding.
@lovebellavida Circa 2017
The year I got married and the year I started getting approached for product sponsorships. A very eventful year with a lot of personal, wedding and honeymoon memories mixed in with my first sponsored reviews.
@lovebellavida Circa 2018
@lovebellavida started gaining a lot of attention this year as I started travelling more and got back my mojo. Sponsorships were rolling in and I was posting every day. As a result, the account grew rapidly this year with some of my travel posts going viral on the explore page, granted that it was much easier to garner more eyeballs then. I can never get that same amount of attention since.
@lovebellavida Circa 2019
A continuation from the previous albeit less travel posts. My posts became even more intentionally curated here as I experimented with new editing styles. I do enjoying looking back at my posts from this period however, this was also when I started to feel burnt out and was anxious about slowing down for fear of losing out.
@lovebellavida Circa 2020
The year the pandemic started and the global lockdown began. You can tell from the stay-at-home challenges and almost all of my content were shot and produced at home. I wasn’t inspired to take outfit pics and no travelling made @lovebellavida and my self-worth take a deep dive.
@lovebellavida Circa 2021
My confidence started to pick up when the world started to reopen but I decided to slowly shift my attention back to the blog and post less sponsored posts and focus on making myself feel better inside.
@lovebellavida Circa 2022
Doubling down on the previous year with the feel good posts and focusing on the blog which was also the year this blog hit it’s 10 year mark and @lovebellavida started slowly coming back up again. This was also the year Instagram started to be a TikTok wannabe which made me ultimately decide to make Instagram the side dish to my blog and here we are now.
Do I think Instagram is dying? Not dead but it’s definitely aging. We thought Facebook was dying for the longest time, it’s still here just mostly used by an older generation, I think this is what is happening to Instagram. If you’re like me and feeling on the fence about Instagram, I don’t think you should quit it but just take a break and not worry if you lose your followers. After all, if they truly enjoy the content you make, they will still be there eagerly anticipating your next post when you’re ready. Having said this, don’t put all your hopes and eggs into one basket, spread out and find another space that you enjoy creating and consuming from. In my case, I have my Twitter for short personal updates, Pinterest for inspiration, YouTube for learning and this blog to share and be heard.
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