Has Instagram made you feel down or even depressed? Are you comparing yourself to others and not measuring up? I’ve dealt with something similar. There are major side effects of being a social media influencer and until recently I was ready to give up on this career and start fresh.
Mark Twain once said, “comparison is the death of joy” and truer words have never been spoken. I spent most of 2019 comparing myself to others, upset, confused and depressed career-wise because my efforts were not paying off. I lost my passion for what I do and I let insecurities creep in.
My relationship with Instagram is bittersweet, to say the least. It is a platform that has become a big part of my livelihood but something I have no control over. I would put in the work and see little return on countless hours spent writing, editing, doing outreach, photography, videos, accounting, emails, countless product trials… the list could go on and on. It slowly consumed me to the core and ruined entire days at a time. I let thoughts darken my spirit instead of lifting me up. Instagram was my kryptonite.
It all started with the Instagram algorithm changes and the way content was being seen by users on the app. It really screwed me (pardon my french). All of a sudden the women I loved engaging with were gone (still following but no longer seeing my posts). I felt empty after a while because I was no longer creating content for me but for the algorithm and what I thought would perform best, but people were still not there to seeing my content. Was there something wrong with my account? Only the puppet masters of Instagram really know what works on the platform but transparency is not a thing at Instagram.
They SAY you have to use all of the tools available to put yourself in the best space to perform well on the app. That is making content for IGTV, the feed, stories, going “live” and whatever else they decide to come up with. They also say you can’t post and ghost, you have to sit there after posting and engage with other accounts for countless hours. You also have to respond back to people commenting on your posts, and at some point, you become a robot and all the heart and soul goes out of it. I’m not saying it’s not important to engage your community because after all, that IS what I love about this job. But when its forced its not fun or authentic. The algorithm changes were disappointing and not what I signed up for to say the least. Disappointment slowly turned to sadness and sadness slowly turned to anger. Simply put, I was over it.
I was often confused and frustrated because the algorithm change seemed to be affecting my account more than others but comparing yourself to anyone will always be a downfall. You never know the full story to be able to compare anything. On Instagram, that is the majority of what’s going on. A whole lot of flexing and comparing. You never know what is real and what is fake. So much so that it led Instagram to take the positive action of hiding likes. I’ve wanted to write about this for some time but always held back because I didn’t want to be another whinny person on IG talking about the “algorithm.” But is that really gonna be the key to a positive IG experience? Only time will tell.
I sat and thought about permanently leaving the social media space and going back to working for “the man”, but the thought of leaving made me sad. So I decided to give it another go. A new came with a fresh start. I’m going to give it everything I have and post what I want to and what inspires me because I want to see if I can get back to where I love blogging again. I learned an important lesson last year. Just because I’m in the social media rat race, doesn’t mean I have to conform to the norm. I just have to be me.
It’s a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way but I have taken that lesson and built a foundation to better myself without looking at anyone or anything in order to start this year off right! I will only follow my gut and daily inspirations to create content that matters to me. This is why I decided to stick to this career path in the first place. It was an emotional and creative outlet I never knew I needed until it was there. An outlet that last year was simply unfulfilling and a point of sadness.
Thoughts of “am I still in the right career space,” “am I relevant anymore,” “was I crazy to think this could be a lasting career for me” all crept in along with fear of the unknown. I don’t want to do this job simply for free product or an income. I want it to be a rewarding and positive addition to my life and others.
My AHA MOMENT came during an argument with my husband where he angrily spouted off just how lucky and blessed we were. Listing things left and right in a slightly lower octave below screaming. (Bryan rarely gets angry like that so when he does I know its serious.) I had been wallowing for months. Complaining about this and that, forgetting to be grateful.
So I vowed to make a change.
- I vowed to not let IG control my emotions. I know it’s gonna be hard since my job is VERY interconnected with a platform I can’t control or even have any insight in: I will start blogging more and posting only snippets to my Instagram. I feel more comfortable being open and raw here than on that platform that I have mixed feelings about. So make sure to come to my blog and check for new posts (you can even leave me comments on here too.)
- I vowed to be more grateful: I’ve been starting every day with a mental note of all my blessings and things I’m grateful for. Like family, health, my pets, home, and friendships.
- I vowed to be more healthy: frequent workouts and a better diet.
- I vowed to be more organized and task-oriented to make more time for what’s truly important, time with my family and time spent not thinking about work.
Here’s to a new year and a step in the right direction. 2020 here I come!