Instagram is big business these days. Recently, it’s starting to feel like my life revolves around Instagram. Everything I do, I take pictures of “just in case”. But no matter how hard I try, I often find myself falling behind on Instagram. My follow count hovers at the same number whether I post daily or once every week. I can’t be bothered to dress up and put on a full face of makeup each day just to get a photo to keep my feed “updated”. And trying to dedicate half an hour every day to interacting with everyone I follow is honestly tiring. Everyone shows a highlight reel, and everyone is trying to be aspirational. It can be pretty depressing to feel like you’re praising everyone, but getting very little back. Sometimes it works, and then the algorithm switches on us, and we’re back to square one. It’s exhausting. But apparently, it’s essential to being a blogger.
But the real problem I have with Instagram is the lack of definition as to what an “Influencer” is. Nowadays, more brands are making their starts with Instagram, and the look most brands want is just plain “Influencer”. But “Influencers”, or what people think of when hear the word “Influencer”, seems to have a very set theme. A young woman, with a Barbie-Doll look. Big boobs, treated hair, face full of makeup-artist grade makeup, tall, and face full of fillers. And hey, if you need all of this to feel confident, then okay – I don’t judge you for thinking like that. But has anyone else noticed all successful, highly followed influencers all look the same?
It’s gotten to the extent that I have fully researched getting cheek and lip fillers, even though needles set off my syncope and I have no problems with or desire to change my facial features. I have regularly bought clothes I would never wear because it’s “fashionable”. I’ve subscribed to YouTube channels run by influencers who just annoy me, because I feel like I can’t be a blogger without saying they inspire me. And basically, I have felt my anxiety worsen, my inspiration halter, and my mental health slip, purely because I can’t gain followers on Twitter and Instagram. And I’m tired of feeling like I’ll never be successful because I don’t look the part.
Instagram is frustrating enough. But does it need to be? I regularly feel like I shouldn’t be there, because I can’t gain followers. I just want to be myself, but I don’t look the part. I feel like I’m not good enough, and fear of a backlash stops me from posting certain things. In trying to post more of myself and my life, I’ve opened myself up to unwanted sexual advances from strangers and rude comments from others, meanwhile I feel like other bloggers just comment and like to be polite. Sometimes I can’t think of a comment to put on someone else’s photos, and I feel guilty for it, even though I shouldn’t. And the follow/unfollow game and bots take up more space in my mind then I need them too.
I’m probably never going to be a quote-on-quote “influencer”. But did I ever want to be? I don’t want to be defined by a fake appearance or a number next to my name. But here I am, desperately trying to claw followers and writing about how hard it is. We all know that Instagram and social media is bad for our mental health, and I feel like I’d be better off if I deleted my blog, my Instagram, my Twitter and everything else and lived my life without social media. To be honest, would anyone really miss me? This industry is fickle. If big names such as Jamie Genevieve, Lydia E Millen, In the Frow, Imogenation, Soph Does Nails etc. all disappeared overnight, would people spend the rest of their lives wondering where they went? It might occupy us for a few weeks, but eventually someone else would fill the gaps. Chucking biology into this feels counteractive, but that’s how niches work. When one opens up, it’s quickly filled. Survival depends on how you adapt to available resources. And now, not using fillers, not having plastic surgery, and not wearing the “right” clothes, means you don’t fit the niche. And you aren’t going to. Unless the niche changes. Which it likely won’t.
So, maybe it’s time to stop worrying. This isn’t something I should be wasting emotions on. Personally, I enjoy being given a window into someone else’s life, without feeling a need to “be” them. But I know that’s not the norm. Oh well. I’ll survive.
Do you feel like Instagram success is now based on fitting a mould? Let me know in the comments below!
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