No One Cares About My Instagram... And It Shows
Instagram has definitely shifted from the tight-knit community we used to know and love to a flat-out popularity contest. And I’m over it.
Instagram is like a bad ex-boyfriend.
It’s a toxic relationship that you just can’t seem to quit.
Instagram insists on pulling you back in.
Daily, we get sucked into the lives of people we know, strangers whose feeds we find aesthetically pleasing, and what Kylie Jenner just released for her Kylie Skin line (as of next Monday, a face mask and a lip scrub).
But in having an Instagram since high school—close to 6 years now—I’ve noticed that we’ve become more disconnected and apathetic than ever, even though we can contact anyone at the swipe of a button. In my time on Instagram, I’ve noticed three things that actually have caused me stress, lowered my self-esteem, and resulted in me deactivating my account for two weeks, just so I could get some space:
1. People pick and choose who they’ll elevate. That’s that.
I’m a photographer. I love posting my latest shoots with friends or when my next gallery show would be. And while the likes roll in, there are crickets in the comments and the shares are drier than a desert. Why is that? I can blame it on the algorithm. But the reality is, my own friends just don’t want to share my work. And that’s ok. It took me months to accept it. But if no one else is going to boost me, at least I will. As unfair as it is, it is true. Especially, when I see mutual friends getting reposted for their accomplishments, and I get one or no responses from people who I have considered my best friends. It’s sad, but true.
2. It’s obvious that someone has followed you just because they saw you from somewhere else and don’t actually care about you or your work.
Because when they see you in person, they act like you don’t exist. If you can only acknowledge me online, I’m extremely conflicted with whether you’re actually interested in my art or just want to keep up with what I’m doing.
3. The option to reply to a story is there, but it seems as if no one else is using that option.
I could post the coolest thing on my story, and only hear radio silence. Not even a half-hearted “awesome” can be heard from the top of Everest when it comes to my story.
Instagram has definitely shifted from the tight-knit community we used to know and love to a flat-out popularity contest. And I’m over it. We can only hope that one day, everything will revert to the way it was during 2011, when Instagram was strictly a place to post the epic ice-cream sundae you were eating or pictures of your childhood dog named Max. I can blame YouTubers for using Instagram to not only sell products through sponsored posts, but their bodies as well. (I’d rather not see your bikini photos when you’re only sixteen.) I could blame Instagram itself for constantly changing the algorithm that now only keeps the top-liked posts on your feed, instead of by time, like in the good old days. I could even blame society too for creating these pressures of a perfectly curated VSCO feed (“sksksk”). But the truth is, there is no one to blame but ourselves—the people who you think you know but you don’t.
More than once, I’ve heard Instagram being compared to an art gallery. The comment bothered me so much, because it could be far from the truth, in my opinion. In an art gallery, if you like the work, you tell the artist. There is no prize at the end of a gallery opening that’s awarded to the person for the most times someone walked up to them and said, “I like your work.” There is no tally kept for how many times someone lingered by your piece a little longer than expected. That’s what I love so much about museums—you can freely express your interpretation of an artists’ work without the degrading opinions and disappointment from the lack of validation from the people who you think will support you.
I wish I had a solution for this feeling, but I don’t. And I hope I’m not the only one who feels this way.