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Hey there! My name is Megan and I'm the sewing, pattern making girl behind Dolly Henry. This is my blog, where I share my own creative adventures and hope to meet fellow fabric enthusiasts. I also design and sell sewing patterns through my online boutique, alongside a beautiful collection of clothing and dolls. Thank you for stopping by!

NEWSLETTER

Instagram, Relationship Status: Complicated



It's no secret that things have definitely changed on Instagram lately, and not everyone is super happy with those changes. Without a chronological news feed, it has been hard for me to keep up with smaller profiles as the big accounts seem to dominate the top space.

I'd have to scroll, and scroll, and scroll to meet up with a post of someone I really would have liked to see up the top. As a result, I have unfollowed a lot of accounts, placing a priority on the accounts that I regularly engage and interact with. Others I hardly ever saw, so now I make 'house calls' where about once a week, I 'manually' visit the profiles and see what everyone is up to. I'm following you, but I'm not! This is a bit like the good old blog days, where I'd go from site to site, catching up on the latest news.

Just because your numbers aren't high on Instagram doesn't mean that you don't deserve to be seen or heard. There are so many amazing, talented makers out there who are being outranked in the feed by bigger, glossier accounts and I find this a little bit wrong. I don't like vanity metrics or the status quo of needing a certain amount of followers to gain credibility - it's STUPID. I'm sure many of you who have been making beautiful things for thirty years can relate to this - why should your years of experience and skills be balanced with a number on a screen? Does having 10k + followers mean your work is superior? No it doesn't, nor does it mean it is inferior so if equality matters - why is the news feed no longer chronological? (I know why....starts with M)

Instagram has lost a lot of the community it once had, in my opinion. It's a bit like a game of monopoly now, have a certain amount of money and a certain amount of followers and you will just keep gaining momentum, outweighing the smaller fish in the pond until they are hidden twenty posts down in the newsfeed, gasping for air. And that feels really selfish. What is a platform if not made up of the members? All the members. Not just a select few. It's incredibly narcissistic to expect the whole world to ooh and ahh over your every move and not take some time to talk, chat and engage with your followers and other members on the platform. It's like being subjected to somebody's travel album or slides...you know what I mean!

A week or so ago, my sister said to me "I just got ten of your posts in a row!" What a nuisance. Not my sister; the fact that people are now seeing ten posts of mine in a row in their newsfeed. No wonder keeping followers is harder now - it doesn't really matter if the photos are lovely, it's a bit tiring seeing so much of one account all at once. Posts I had likely originally spread out across several days. It's also ruining the quality of the posts - when bombarded, you aren't likely to really pay attention to any of those posts given there is such a gigantic load of them. I bet you don't even hit the like button or read them. I bet that finger just keeps scrolling down to get to see somebody else's posts - because was we learn as children - it's not all about being the center of attention. Except now it seems, it is.

I don't want to be. I loved Instagram for the variety and the fact my newsfeed was a blend of different posts. Now I experience all the heavy weight accounts before I set eyes on a smaller account - often my favorites because as I mentioned, quantity doesn't always equate to quality. Smaller accounts often usually talk to you more too...I have no idea if when you reach a certain level of popularity if it all just becomes a bit so-so, a bit every day, but really, every so often in a while, would it hurt those guys to interact with the people who make their business popular? Without them, what you do wouldn't be possible! It's so common now - from people you'd least expect - that I am honestly surprised when a bigger account replies to one of my comments!



Vanity metrics are huge now. I suppose because vanity is at all new level. Or it seems so. I mean just think about the word selfie and the fact we are all carrying around phones with half a dozen self-portraits in them...if you are conservative that is. Oh go on, have a laugh! Really, it is hilarious! Can you imagine back in the day of the film camera taking twenty shots of your face to whip out and show to friends...carry them in your pocket...stick them to a street pole. Ummmm....no people would have said that was an incredibly vain thing to do. Eccentric. That'd be the old fashioned equivalent of NOW. I take selfies...granted very very few for my age bracket and I'm not against them but I am realistic. I do think it's a tad vain and it has had an impact on society, interaction, and attitudes.

I thought if I worked extra hard, I'd be able to keep up with Instagram's changes. If I added more posts, paid for some adverts but things have definitely changed. It's harder to get people off the platform now and onto my website or into my store. That is the goal, because I do have something to offer outside of social media and so do a lot of other people if we get off the app from time to time. It's social, it's there for engagement, and that's good. But I found it was eating up such a large portion of my time and I'd even decided to cut back blogging. It didn't take me too long to realise that MAYBE I'd killed off the wrong beast. Maybe I needed to look at what output I was getting for all my input in regards to Instagram. And it's time to adjust.

I've had to work so hard to drive traffic to my website, and it's not effective as it was even 12 months ago. I don't have a big advertising budget, I'm still hovering at hobby status and trying to grow a new business. So I was sadly, quite reliant on social media and Instagram in particular. But I am looking at other avenues now I can pursue because I need to. I have started to feel like I am spending a lot of time ONLY curating a pretty Instagram gallery when I'm also supposed to be earning an income, too. I decided I will be moving back onto Etsy and I really don't know what else to do. The pond is a lot bigger than it was eight years ago and you have to think on your feet. I really like Etsy, so this doesn't worry me. I also loved my website but it's hard driving traffic to your website, without advertising.

Thankfully, I established my blog when everything was a little bit more favourable on Instagram, and though not so many people comment on blogs as they used to, I receive feedback often enough to know someone does read it...you know..besides family :-)

In spite of all I have said, I do still like Instagram but we will just be spending less time together than we used to. Our friendship has cooled off a lot, and it's time I went back to those that have served me more faithfully in the past. After all, the world is made up of people and if it's not a fair playing field for everyone - including those who stand beneath the pillars holding the roof up so it can bask in the sun - then I'm afraid I don't have a lot of time for a platform like that.

Megan x










10 comments

  1. I completely understand! I have started using planning apps like Planoly so that I don't have to send as much time on Insta. I can do it all at once and then just press a button to post it on the day. I engage but I probably need to cut down on that and increase the amount of time I spend working on my business instead. I have my Etsy store which I think is a great form of advertising for small businesses and I am still trying to work on my blog (only so many hours in the day with four kids though!!). I don't like the Insta changes either and I hate that I can't see all the pages I want to see because I don't have time to manually go in and look at them ☹️ Don't worry, you're not alone!

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    1. Hi Xanthe, I will have to look up Planoly as I think I must get a little more organised. I do think it is hard for those of us who own businesses, to now try and balance the networking community aspect that was once easier on social media with our business activities. It's important we do engage and interact with our audiences, it's just hard when time isn't on your side! :-) Blogging is very time consuming, I do enjoy it but I try not to force my posts. When I feel I can write, it comes quite naturally but other days, I will sit there basically backspacing and typing before giving up lol! Thank you so much for your words of support and encouragement <3 Megan

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  2. I do have 18k followers, and it's only hurt me too. I had the same amount of engagement now as I did when I had 7k followers. In hating IG lately.

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    1. It is so frustrating isn't it Heather? I really feel your pain :-(

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  3. Thank you for this blog. It's so true. I find I need to search the people I really want to see. Also Instagram has put so many ads on the page now we have to wade through them to get to anything we want to see. Who reads those stupid ads anyway. Annoyed. Thank you again!!

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    1. Oh gosh Joy! You know what I did the other day? Accidentally "liked" an ebay advert - the photo was so gorgeous, I didn't even notice who it was from and that it was paid! The adverts are definitely getting more subtle, which does feel a little bit meh.... Wading is a good term for the adverts!

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  4. Such a great post, Megan! So many things you said resonated with me - particularly the frustration of having to "dig" to find the smaller accounts that I absolutely adore. I do love the connections I have established with people all of the world and discoveries of new creatives (like you) which I am so thankful for and wouldn't give up. But, balance is certainly required. Good luck with your business!

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    1. Thank you so much Shannon, I am really glad I'm not alone in my frustrations! It's really wonderful being able to engage and interact with like-minded creatives and I am grateful that social media has enabled us to do that! I feel annoyed at the changes made I think because I feel this actually stops us all from interacting in such an easy way - I do wonder about new users to the platform..how do they manage to find followers and build community when they are buried below all the other posts? Megan x

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  5. So true, and even if you do scroll ALLL the way back through your feed you don't see everything anyway. There are lots of posts from people I follow that just don't show up in my feed anymore at all. And don't get me started on the search - what about the people I follow makes IG think I'm interested in following people who post pictures of their boobs and bum????

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  6. I love how this is written, I think almost everyone will relate to you, we are all feeling it! I've never really understood Instagram though, just as I thought I was getting the hang of it they change it up again... frustrating! Xx

    Kez | acaciasdreams.com

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