7 Jun 2017

Dear Instagram

Instagram Algorithm Changes Open Letter | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Dear Instagram,

Remember me? We used to friends, you and me. Back in the day, I could waste hours scrolling through pretty pictures of sunsets and Sunday lunches, travel inspiration and the latest trends. I'd be so excited to stick a filter on my latest sunny snap and post it for all to see, back when people actually saw my photos, that is. I'd check Instagram first thing in the morning and last thing at night, as well as numerous times throughout the day. It was a source of both inspiration and procrastination - exactly what I look for in social media. But what happened, Instagram? You've changed.

First, it was changing the timeline from chronological order to what can only be described as a shit-show of an algorithm based mess. Before, I could scroll down my feed knowing that I was reliving the past couple of hours in real time. I was seeing people's Saturday brunches on a Saturday, isn't that funny? Now, I sit at my desk on a Monday morning and all I see is a wave of "TGIF" and weekend fun that feels oh so far away. I open Instagram and the photo at the top of my feed is from four days ago. Four days, in terms of social media, is a lifetime.

Who are you to decide who I want to see first on my feed? If I follow someone, it's because I like their photos. I want to see them. I am choosing to see them. If I didn't want them cluttering my feed, I wouldn't follow them. But what does that matter to you? For the love of god, the chronological feed was logical. It was sensible. It worked.

And you know what? I'm really annoyed that you're not showing my pictures in people's feeds either. I've worked so damn hard for years now to build a following that is mediocre in comparison to most, yet I am still lucky if a whopping 2% of my followers see my photos. What is with that?! Sure, maybe some of them are just following me for the sake of it, or it's a pity follow, or maybe it's a follow from high school friends who are feeling nosey. Maybe my photos aren't to everyone's taste, but they are good. I've been doing this for a while now, I know I can take a half decent photo when I try. Nowadays, however, if my photo reaches 100 likes I feel blessed.

The elusive shadowbans maybe have something to do with it, and as much as people may cry myth, I know it's been detrimental to me. I've been "shadowbanned" three times now. Yes, three. Each lasting around a week, with no obvious cause or solution. How am I supposed to get past this? I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle here, Instagram, and I'm fed up.

Why would I not use hashtags? I love taking photos, and styling flatlays is one of my favourite activities, so surely it's understandable that I would want people to see the fruits of my labour. I spend a lot of time researching the best hashtags to use, finding the smaller more niche hashtags and getting involved in the communities when I can. You blocked me from my own god damn travel hashtag, Instagram, are you serious?

Maybe, in the end, it all boils down to the introduction of business accounts. Don't get me wrong, Instagram, I tried to get on board with them. I really did. At first, I thought they were brilliant, I loved the analytics and I was stupidly into having a "job title" on my profile. My engagement wasn't really affected at first, so that was cool, but then the slow decline started. I know that your endgame is encouraging people to pay a little extra to boost their posts, I get that you need to generate revenue somehow, but even when I tried boosting a post it got a measly SEVENTEEN likes. I'm not splashing my hard earned cash for seventeen likes, no siree.

All in all, you've become a pretty disheartening place to hang out at the moment, Instagram. We have a deep bond, down below it all, and I don't see myself giving up on you anytime soon. I can't quit you, I love being a basic Instagram cliche far too much for that, but seeing people get ahead using shady tactics like bots, buying followers and that ever-so-infuriating following to unfollow technique that drives everyone crazy, whilst I try my hardest to be as genuine and authentic as possible is just not what I need right now.

Something's got to give Instagram, before we call time on our friendship for good.

Instagram Stories are cool though, I like them. They can stay.
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