This might sound a bit harsh, but I’ve been thinking a lot about Instagram lately and how this little platform has made us into brainless scrolling vacuum machines…
I am one of the ‘small’ accounts and I feel that I have been thrown into the deep end of second-guessing myself, my work and my creativity while trying to grow into a “big” account.
I have tried everything! Posting daily, then not posting daily, commenting and engaging with other Instagrammers, talking on the camera on live stories, showing my face, constantly curating content, styling my house in the way that looks good on Instagram. Everything you can think of, I have done it! In fact, I was spending WAY too much time on it. Instagram on the other hand keeps changing its’ rules and algorithms so often that it makes it impossible to keep up, unless you are in there 24/7. So one day it just hit me, what is this b*llsh*t? So I stopped.
I stopped endlessly scrolling and posting and waiting to see what happens. Instead I focused on my work and on myself, and then, magic happened.
When you take the comparison monster out of the equation and you focus solely on what you do, this is when your creativity gates open wide. When you focus on what you like to do, what your strengths and talents are, and not what others do or how they do it, then it’s like light bulb firework moments happening.
The problem is that this little app has been designed to keep you scrolling for as long as possible. With the excuses that keep repeating in our heads of inspiration and community or the fear of missing out what’s happening right now, we all feel like we need to be there. Yes, I have made a few real friends from IG, and I have found some amazing places to travel to and I have been inspired to create something that possibly I wouldn’t have done on my own. But all these things do not belong to IG, inspiration, community and ideas are out there in the real world and all you have to do is to step away from your screen once in a while and look around you.
Here are a few more observations I made:
- When you have had enough of IG and you want to take a break, no need to announce it. Just go, and whenever you want to, if so, come back. Everyone will still be there, scrolling.
- We are looking at ourselves way too much. We are constantly on camera, taking selfies, videos or professional shots, however we do it we are looking at our own faces and bodies WAY too much! So WE have become our own worst judges. I’m not obsessed with selfies but I have been obsessed to get the ‘right angle’, so I can showcase myself in the best light. But why? I, like many people, have fallen into the IG trap of taking a photo of myself specifically from high up so I look thinner. (I know my good friend and talented photographer Cathy will cringe now).
- It’s not all bad! IG is good for promoting your services and/or products especially if you are a small business, a start-up or a freelancer. However, you need to have boundaries. Can you set these? Or you are sitting on your sofa at 9:30pm scrolling instead of engaging with your husband, wife, family, dog or even just the TV? If you use IG as a tool for your business would you work at 10:00 at night? DAILY and every single weekend? Set those sweet personal boundaries.
- We don’t own IG that is another fact! If you are basing your business marketing plan on IG and one day this little platform decides to pack up and go, what is your plan B? I’ve been working with so many successful businesses that they don’t use or use very little of IG. There are so many other ways to promote yourself and I will write a blog soon about all the other ways you can help promoting your business without relying on Social Media.
I know I might be sounding a bit negative about Instagram, and obviously that’s my own opinions and observations, but really, the point I’m trying to get across, is that we have other choices and we need to be open to explore them, and if you step away for a bit, you will be surprised of the time and ideas you’ll have in your hands.
No, I’m not leaving Instagram if that was your next question, but now I am clearer about how this little platform will work best for me.
One of the best things that happened to me this summer and while keeping my distance from IG is that my graphic design work has been booming. I find immense pleasure in designing but for so many years while I was working as a Creative Director my job turned into endless meetings, proposals, presentations, budgeting, strategies etc, you get the picture. The higher I was climbing the career ladder the less creative work I was doing. IG wasn’t helping my confidence when it came to design as I was constantly comparing myself to others. This summer I flipped this on its head, and although I never really stopped designing and I know for a fact that I was producing excellent work (my client testimonials prove that) 🙂 I am finally proud of what I create. I stopped comparing I just create.
This summer I have also spruced up my website and I have started uploading some of the design work that I’ve done lately that I’m really proud of, so go and have a peak and let me know what you think! I will be uploading more projects soon.
While I was being busy with my creativity, I took an intentional break from this blog, but now I have some great topics to write about in the following weeks and I really can’t wait to share them with you. Blogging for me is another way of expressing my creativity and I’m intending to do more of this.
So is Instagram friend or foe? This really is for you to answer.
Adding value for me this week:
I was inspired by this TED talk and the story of Stefan Sagmeister, the Graphic Designer who closes his New York design studio for a whole year, every seven years, to go away and just be creative. How amazing that could be if all creative people could do that?
Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. – Maya Angelou
Food for thought 🙂
Much love to you,
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