Social Media Usage And Why I Gave Up On Instagram

Social Media Usage And Why I Gave Up On Instagram

LH-Balloon

As bloggers, we use social media a lot. We kind of feel like we have to, right? Be it to drive traffic to our sites, secure opportunities or purely to make some friends along the way, blogging and social media seem to go hand in hand.

But how much effort should we be putting into something we can’t control?

On Tuesday night, I finally made the decision to scrap my Instagram account. Less than 24 hours later, Instagram (along with Facebook and Whatsapp) went down. I guess it just couldn’t cope without my presence.

I’m joking, of course.

But I do want to talk about Instagram – why I got rid of it and also the uncomfortable amount of panic which followed the outage.

Let’s start with how I ended up deactivating my account.

Back in October, I wrote a post about trying to solve the Instagram mystery. In it, I discussed various methods I had tried to grow on the platform. I tried a few others and saw little improvement.

So, when 2019 rolled around, I decided I’d just do Instagram for fun. I started posting less, rambled a little in my stories and did my best not to take it seriously. I wasn’t really concerning myself with follower numbers because they had become as unpredictable as the British weather.

Things were okay. Then, for the last few weeks, I’ve had this niggling feeling that I should give it up. While I was trying my best to have fun with it, I realised I wasn’t. It was sucking up my time, but bringing nothing to my life or my blog. It’s not a platform I enjoy, and it never really has been. I had seen lots of tweets complaining about the algorithm and the unfollowing games and I felt the same way. Yet, I wondered why we all cared so much and if it was even worth it.

Still, I was torn between getting rid of it and holding onto it because I know brands often appreciate an Instagram presence. I was apprehensive about the fact it could reflect negatively on me. Plus, I’m a little bit stubborn and didn’t want to admit defeat.

Every night (and I mean every night) I would have a debate with myself. It went a little something like this:

I really don’t like Instagram, I should delete it. 

But then, what about brands who value Instagram over other platforms?

My value goes beyond Instagram.

But you’re a blogger, you should be on Instagram.

It always came back to the same two points, though. I don’t enjoy it and I have value beyond that. It doesn’t make me a bad blogger to not be on there. In fact, it has no reflection on my ability as a blogger at all.

I didn’t want to make a rash decision but, the more time passed, the more I believed I should step away from the platform. I am sure that Instagram CAN be great, but pictures are not my strength. Words are. That was the attraction of blogging for me. Having a space to write – not the idea of having to maintain an Instagram feed and update my stories multiple times a day.

I realise you get out of it what you put in and, every minute I spent on Twitter, I would be stressing about the fact Instagram would suffer. Then, when I tried harder with Instagram, Twitter fell to the side. That just makes me human – there’s only so much I can do. And then I realised I could remove some of the pressure by taking one of them out of the equation. The one I enjoyed the least.

So, I said goodbye to my Instagram account. There was an instant sense of relief.

I don’t want to say my life isn’t “Instagram worthy” because that’s ridiculous. However, most of my days look the same. I’m sat in front of a screen, working hard to try and get things off the ground. My time is put into writing content, working on other projects or cleaning my flat. There are only so many times I can post those things before it’s just… dull. Both for me and for anyone following me. When it comes to my blog, Instagram felt pointless. It wasn’t driving traffic, I wasn’t enjoying it and it was taking up one of my most precious resources: my time.

I’ve tried a few things since I started blogging. I’ve naturally taken to some and failed miserably at others. That’s fine because I gave them a go and realised they simply weren’t where my strengths were. Blogging is a journey. Along the way, you will discover things that work for you and things that don’t. It’s perfectly acceptable to admit a platform isn’t suitable for you. You can then use your time to be the best at the ones you enjoy.

LH-Balloon-2

What Happens When Social Media Goes Down?

The following day, Instagram went down. And, my goodness, what a reaction.

Before I delve into how concerning and uncomfortable it was to witness, I want to clear up a few points.

Number one. I don’t actually spend a lot of time on social media anymore. I tend to pop on, update, close it and come back to it later. The amount of time I put into it has reduced drastically in the past few months. I don’t feel the same pull towards it as I have done previously. The very fact I’ve spent so much time deliberating about what to do with my Instagram account shows that it still has some sort of hold on me, though.

Number two. I realise it’s important for my blog. To be completely truthful, I probably wouldn’t be on any social media if I wasn’t blogging. I enjoy connecting and talking to other bloggers, but it’s not an essential for me. Yet, I do understand its importance for blogging and business. So, when people were feeling a little alarmed because of the potential damage to that, I kind of get it.

Those things out of the way, I find it alarming the way people react when social media goes down. The main reason for that is because, realistically, it will be back soon enough. It normally goes down for a little while, gets fixed and everyone carries on as normal.

So, people seriously can’t find something else to do for a few hours? For me, it’s an “oh well, it’s down, let’s do something else”. But the sheer amount of people who decided they’d rather take to Twitter to panic about it was almost comical. I realise some of those tweets were done to be ironic or funny but I’m confident many of them were serious, too.

Worst case scenario: it’s gone forever. What then?

Though I don’t think it’s likely to happen anytime soon, Instagram and Facebook are owned by the same people. They could quite easily vanish or fade out. You know, like good old MySpace did.

If you’ve put so much into it that that’s a massive issue, that’s equally worrying. Even from a business perspective, surely you should have other means of generating it (like your own site) rather than just social media?

I’ve got to be honest. I’ve felt uncomfortable about other people’s relationships with social media for a long time. That sounds a little arrogant, but that’s not my intention. I don’t think I’m better than anyone else because my relationship with social media is different. All I’m saying is that you should have other things you enjoy doing. A book, for example, won’t let you down. And I don’t like to see members of my generation – or any other – so reliant on something which can disappear in the blink of an eye. It’s not healthy.

In fairness, there are probably a handful of people who were justified in their panic, for whatever reason. When it comes to the majority, though, I fear there’s too much invested in the world of social media.

The biggest value of having your own blog and your own site is that it’s yours. Instagram going down confirmed for me that I was right to move away from it. Not because it’s unreliable, but putting my energy and effort into something which I don’t have control over has an element of risk. Focusing on my blog and freeing up more time to work on that (or interact with the audience I already have) is a good decision to make.

As bloggers, I’d urge you to think about how you use your time. Is it being absorbed by something you don’t control, or are you using enough of it on your own site? We all put a lot into social media and maybe sometimes we lose focus. I know I do. As I’ve said, social media is important for your blog and there’s no getting past that. But your blog and content creation should always be the priority. This latest hiccup is proof of that.

Social Media For Bloggers

Social Media Usage And Why I Gave Up On Instagram
Bloggers And Social Media
Why I Finally Got Rid Of My Instagram Account
Instagram Went Down

46 Comments

  • Lisa 18th March 2019 at 11:20 am

    I saw your comment about disabling your Insta and the next day it was bedlam, your influence is terrifying, haha! Seriously, Ruth, you talk such a lot of sense here. Insta isn’t my favourite platform either, I find the whole struggle to grow and gain followers/engagement so time sucking. If I could, I’d just post flowers and cats but I know that brands and PRs like Instagram so I keep trying. I actually prefer Twitter too, although I don’t have much to say, I just like reading and RTng others. And you are spot on about blogging – that’s mine, all mine, and I’m not reliant on anyone else (well, apart from my hosting company, haha). Another great post, as usual, thank you for sharing and I’m following your handlettering Insta for daily inspiration now too!

    Lisa xx

    • ruthinrevolt 19th March 2019 at 4:38 pm

      Exactly. I think, if people have plenty of time to put into it, it’s possible to make things happen but I found I was forgetting to check it, or not replying to people for days which didn’t look particularly great. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for following my lettering Instagram, too! 😀

  • Morgan 18th March 2019 at 12:25 pm

    I definitely think as bloggers, we should choose whatever platform appeals to us, period the end. Normally if a platform appeals to you, it appeals to your tribe and you will find them on the given platform you choose to focus on. I have the same kind of love/hate relationship with IG but as a photographer, unfortunately, it is a great platform to show my work. So I remain ‘steady but rocky’ with it. I’ll go a week posting consistently then stop for a few days. I just need to step away sometimes. Does it stop my growth? I’ve noticed it does a little bit. But is my mental health more important? Most definitely.

    • ruthinrevolt 19th March 2019 at 4:40 pm

      You’re right there – I think I’ve found most of my closest blogger buddies through Twitter which just proves to me it’s where my sort of people hang out. Like you say, though, as a photographer, it’s a pretty important platform for you!

  • Rachel 18th March 2019 at 12:39 pm

    I have decided to stop using Instagram too. Now I just have to delete it !

    • ruthinrevolt 19th March 2019 at 4:40 pm

      I hope you feel better for it! 🙂

  • Lex 18th March 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Totally agree with you about Instagram! I had a bit of a debate about mine as well as it adds the least to my blog. I decided to keep mine in the end as I tend to use it for my fav travel photos while I’m on a trip, especially as I often don’t have time for other platforms while being on the go. But once I’m back it completely falls away again and I finally accepted that I don’t really care, didn’t even notice the outage!

    • ruthinrevolt 19th March 2019 at 4:40 pm

      It sounds like you have a good system that works for you! 😀

  • Suktara 18th March 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Good decision Ruth! I am contemplating something similar. Instagram is too much effort and I find it really overwhelming. The follow unfollow thing another thing I don’t get. Lovely post as usual 🙂

    • ruthinrevolt 19th March 2019 at 4:41 pm

      The follow unfollow thing is just tiresome. Sadly, there are people who encourage it as a way of growing. When I was doing some reading about Instagram previously, it was one of the suggestions! It’s just so silly.

  • Jane Frith 18th March 2019 at 2:43 pm

    I share your frustration! At the end of the day though, I quite enjoy Instagram and it takes very little effort from me so I’ll hang in there for a while yet.

    • ruthinrevolt 19th March 2019 at 4:42 pm

      As long as you enjoy it, that’s the main thing! I did enjoy seeing your travels! 🙂

  • Kate 18th March 2019 at 3:04 pm

    I’ve sort of given up on IG as well. Couldn’t crack the code. I have a friend who’s really good at it, but that means spending 8 hours a day on it, liking and commenting nonsense on people’s pictures (she doesn’t speak English, she speaks in emojis) and I personally don’t have time for that. I’m only keeping Instagram so that I see what Zara is up to 😉
    I find Twitter so much safer and lower maintenance.

    • ruthinrevolt 19th March 2019 at 4:46 pm

      That seems to be the theme – if you have the time to put into it, you can make it work but I just… don’t. Well, maybe I do, but not without it harming other things which just doesn’t seem worth it. Someone’s got to keep an eye on Zara, though, you’re right there 😉

  • Macey 18th March 2019 at 3:06 pm

    So glad you wrote a post elaborating on why you left! I struggle with social media in the sense that I don’t like spending so much time staring at my screen (I shared as much with you on an IG DM, irony haha). I don’t want to be at a point where I hate it or don’t want to use it because I have been there before, so I’ve definitely taken to a route similar to yours–I log on every few hours, spend no more than 10-15 mins on Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest/all three, and then spend my time better elsewhere. I want to enjoy it because it can certainly be frustrating at times. Blogging is still just a hobby for me; I don’t see that changing, so I’d like to enjoy the social media accounts that I’ve created for my fun little space!

    • ruthinrevolt 19th March 2019 at 4:46 pm

      It seems like you have a great approach to it, to be honest, and I hope you continue to just have fun with it! 😀

  • Jo (A Rose Tinted World) 18th March 2019 at 6:07 pm

    It did make me chuckle when I saw that instagram had gone down the day after you had said you were leaving it! I am firmly in the camp that if it isn’t making you happy then stop doing it. I’m having no joy with instagram, but will keep it just in case I ever do get my etsy shop set up!

    • ruthinrevolt 19th March 2019 at 4:47 pm

      I had no idea I was so powerful 😉 I think Instagram can be great for Etsy sellers so that does make a lot of sense!

  • Zoë 18th March 2019 at 8:39 pm

    I honestly didn’t realise Instagram went down. Not until I went on twitter for a nosey the next day at least. But Im like you Ruth, I don’t rely on social media, and to be honest Im not active on it an awful lot! I post on instagram once a week, and most just share my blog & channel on twitter! I totally agree with you and the fact that other peoples relationships with social media is worrying. You don’t own your instagram account, but you do own your blog, and that automatically makes it a million times better! xx

    http://zoe-ware.com

    • ruthinrevolt 19th March 2019 at 4:49 pm

      I used to spend so much time on there, but it would mean I was often writing blog posts an hour before they were supposed to go up because I was so busy chatting on Twitter, haha! I don’t like working that way so something had to change.

  • Laura 18th March 2019 at 9:51 pm

    To be honest I have been thinking the same things as you have. On one hand instagram is great because I like taking pictures and expressing myself but on the other hand I don’t tend to be consistent nor have time to constantly leave comments on other people’s posts to get noticed. When my follower numbers drop it kind of gets discouraging, it makes me think “oh am I good enough? Maybe I’m just a fool and nothing else” it’s kind of a huge cycle of feeling rubbish then feeling inspired by others. I think life is far more complex and goes beyond social media. I think unfortunately we all need some sort of validation, a pat on our backs to make us feel worthwhile and good enough. When we are able to shake that need, I think social media becomes more of a poison than a cure.

    Lovely post!

    Laura / laustworld.com

    • ruthinrevolt 19th March 2019 at 4:51 pm

      I definitely understand. When I first started trying harder with Instagram, my follower count actually went down and I felt awful about it. But I think it’s just the whole platform is ruled by games and has become such a chore in many ways. It’s nothing to do with you as a person (which I’m sure you realise most of the time!)

  • Sam 18th March 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Great post gorgeous! I feel like Instagram is a pretty bad platform for bloggers unless you’re into fashion or home decor. I hope you feel content with your decision. Love you lots xxx

    • ruthinrevolt 19th March 2019 at 4:53 pm

      Thanks beautiful! Love you loads xx

  • Rebekah 19th March 2019 at 4:07 am

    I had exactly the same arguments with myself as you did at the beginning of the year. Though I spent so much time on Instagram, I never really saw any reward from doing so, and I found myself becoming more and more frustrated with the app. I’m not a natural photographer, either, so trying to make “insta worthy” photos took up so much time I could’ve been spending on other things. Now, I’ll pop onto Instagram maybe once or twice a week to check up on my favourite people, but I’m nowhere near as invested in it as I used to be. I LOVE what you’ve said about other people’s relationships with social media, too; I feel exactly the same! Seeing how badly people reacted to the Instagram & Facebook going down was crazy!

    Rebekah Gillian | https://rebekahgillian.co.uk/

    • ruthinrevolt 19th March 2019 at 4:58 pm

      I feel the same way about photography. I quite like it but it doesn’t come naturally to me so it was taking me a while to get a decent picture and I just knew it wouldn’t really be worth the effort. I’m glad you’ve found a way to use it that works for you! The reaction to it was so intense. It did make me wonder what would happen if they did go down forever.

  • Melissa 19th March 2019 at 5:08 pm

    I can totally relate and truly appreciate the honesty of this post. I’m admittedly not great at social media because it feels so unnatural. It’s so easy to get distracted by the numbers game that social media creates. Focusing on your blog and the content there really is most important. Thanks for taking the time to write this…it was a much-needed read.

    • ruthinrevolt 25th March 2019 at 3:26 pm

      I often wonder what it would be like if we were the only ones who knew our following counts, rather than having that information so public… Thanks for a lovely comment!

  • Cordelia Moor 19th March 2019 at 5:59 pm

    My blog insta is definitely my most neglected social media platform. I’m not a photographer, I don’t know how to make good pictures that’ll actually grow that following, and to be honest – I’m a writer. I don’t even tend to use my own photos on blog posts now, because that’s not where my strengths lie. If I spent more time focusing on getting photos, my writing would suffer – and then where am I? I like instagram for personal use. I have a separate account that I’ve held for years and there it’s not about growing a following, it’s about seeing all the cool sh*t my friends get up to and curating a photo diary for myself (I have photos on insta from years ago that don’t exist anywhere else), but I’m not worried about it being ‘perfect’ because it’s not meant for other people’s consumption.

    Cordelia || cordeliamoor.com

    • ruthinrevolt 25th March 2019 at 3:28 pm

      Exactly! I think that’s a great reason to use Instagram, in fairness. But when it comes to blogging, it seems to take so much effort to grow on there. I’ve never fully warmed to the platform, even for personal use. I didn’t mind it a few years ago but it’s never been a favourite.

  • Natonya 19th March 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Kudos to you for knowing your worth and doing what’s best for you! Sometimes you need to let some stuff go to see full happiness and growth. True, Instagram is probably the most popular platform with brands but with your quality work and networking skills Ruth, you’ll land so many brand opportunities anyways. I used to put so much value into Instagram but I realized it’s too unpredictable and after my shadowban last year, I realized less is more. While I still hold my account, I put more focus on my blog/website because that’s something I can control and will last forever. Thanks for this inspiring post!

    Natonya | https://justnatonya.wordpress.com/

    • ruthinrevolt 25th March 2019 at 3:29 pm

      Ahhh, you are the sweetest! 😀 I think as soon as I realised that Instagram hadn’t really come up with the brands I’ve worked with so far, I accepted I could survive without it. You’re right about it being unpredictable, though, and I feel like whenever people think they’ve got the hang of it, they switch things up and everyone ends up back at square one.

  • Kristian 20th March 2019 at 3:07 pm

    I enjoyed reading your post and I’m glad to know I’m not alone! About two weeks ago God told me to delete my Instagram and it really was stealing my time no matter how I tried to back off of it. My blog has been doing much better since I quit and my motivation level has gone up!

    Thank you so much for writing this post ❤️

    • ruthinrevolt 25th March 2019 at 3:32 pm

      Oh, that’s fantastic! I feel much better since letting it go, too! It just feels like one less thing to attempt to juggle and I can get back to enjoying the others. 🙂

  • Ellen Brown 20th March 2019 at 3:25 pm

    I totally agree with a lot of the points you have raised! I decided to stop using Instagram in January for mental health reasons. Being on the platform wasn’t benefiting my blog and it was negatively impacting me – sense of comparing and putting all my hard work into something that just wasn’t growing. I feel so much better for it

    • ruthinrevolt 25th March 2019 at 3:32 pm

      I’m so glad you feel better for it, lovely! It is so disheartening to work so hard on it and see no changes. 🙁

  • Trace 20th March 2019 at 9:12 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, Ruth! I feel the same way about Insta and Facebook. They feel soulless and each time I scroll on there I leave feeling down! Twitter is my fave go to so I’m sticking with that for now!

    Trace x | thefashioncollector.com

    • ruthinrevolt 25th March 2019 at 3:37 pm

      They really do. It’s hard not to be bothered about it. I’m with you on Twitter! 🙂

  • Kim 20th March 2019 at 9:43 pm

    I have Instagram and my blog is linked in my no, but I wouldn’t say I use Instagram for my blog. It’s more a place for me to share my nature photography from various walk a I do and little snippets about my life. Funnily I use it so infrequently that I hadn’t realised it had gone down the other day lol. Twitter is my favourite social media for blogging. Great post Ruth.

    • ruthinrevolt 25th March 2019 at 3:38 pm

      I know very few bloggers who get any value from it for their blog, but enjoy it for other reasons like yours which is great! Most of my days just look the same (and I like it that way) so I don’t have much content to share 😉

  • Beka 23rd March 2019 at 4:52 pm

    This was such a great post, and I feel the same way you do about social media. Before I started blogging, I was using nothing but Facebook messenger to keep in contact with people (and for the more-than-occasional Facebook scroll). If it wasn’t for blogging, I wouldn’t be as active, if at all, on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc. I barely every update them now, compared to when I started blogging – and with Instagram, I am so anxious to get everything right and be one of “those” Instagram bloggers, that I end up feeling deflated and de-valuing myself as a blogger, and a person. I think I could live happily, or happiER, without Instagram but I’ve always been a bit of a self-destructive person so we’ll see if I have the guts to delete it like you did!

    Beka | http://www.bekadaisies.com

    • ruthinrevolt 25th March 2019 at 3:46 pm

      I think it’s so strange to adapt to it, especially as it quite important in blogging, so it’s not very realistic to say we don’t need it. But there are definitely days I could do without it 😉 I felt the same way with Instagram. I got so caught up in trying to get it right that, at times, I felt paralysed and didn’t want to post anything at all. Good luck with whatever you decide to do with your account!

  • Angela 24th March 2019 at 9:32 pm

    I love this post and your honesty. I had no social media until I started blogging. Then my mental health took a dive because I wasn’t seeing growth and the whole follow/unfollow game. So I took a walk and thought about it. And decided to not worry about it as much and focus on creating quality content. Since photography is a hobby of mines I enjoy posting on their and discovering accounts. I’ve just put less focus on growing my own. And I feel so much better. Thanks for the great post your an amazing blogger and you’re going to go far. 😀

    • ruthinrevolt 25th March 2019 at 3:53 pm

      Awww, thank you so much! I’m glad you’ve decided not to worry about it so much. I feel like everything gets a little bit more fun when you reach that point. I’m sure Instagram can be quite fun when you have photography as a hobby (well, when you take following numbers and games out of the picture).

  • Shan 26th March 2019 at 8:21 pm

    Insta is my happy place. I’ve always felt happy, yeah I might have under a thousand followers on there but the photos in my stream make me smile. Yes people play games, but I love scrolling though silly videos and watching people’s live instas and interacting on there! I guess it’s where you’re comfy – you excell with Pinterest whereas I’m still learning to not buffer face it and ask what am I doing here 😂😂 Respect to you for sticking to your guns though. Insta is more about pretty photos than blogging it is true x

  • Zoe 28th March 2019 at 10:01 am

    This post hit the nail on the head for me. I can’t be bothered with Instagram, it’s so much effort for such a small return. I also haven’t touched my twitter in weeks and yet my blog is still generating views. It’s helped me realise that I don’t NEED social media to survive in the online world, and my wellbeing has been so much better for it.

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    About Me

    About Me

    After being diagnosed with depression and anxiety then receiving treatment, I wanted to turn my situation into something constructive. So, with a lifelong passion for writing and a renewed sense of determination, I took a step out of my comfort zone and began putting all my efforts into creating a positive space online.

    I talk openly about mental health and also share blogging/social media tips to help others on their journey.

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