I’ve tried to find the time to write this post so many times over the past few months. But I guess that’s the biggest reason as to why I want to write this post in the first place…
I started writing my first blog back in 2011. Back in the day when Facebook ruled the social media land. In fact, about 90% of my traffic back then came from Facebook, can you believe it! I wrote whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. And you want to know why? It’s simple- because I loved to write!
Whether it was about what I’ve been up to at college lately, the latest Justin Timberlake album or what what was currently pissing me off about the world, my blog was my little area of the internet I could write whatever I fancied.
When I landed my first full time job my blog started to suffer and I ended up neglecting it for nearly 2 years. Over that time I didn’t realise how much the bloggersphere had changed, especially when it came to fashion and lifestyle blogging.
Just before I left my blog to sit and collect cyber dust I received my first two brand collaborations. One was from Money Supermarket and the other from a gift website called iWoot. I had 200 followers on Instagram and little did I know gifting from brands was about to become ‘a thing’.
When I started working on my blog again the whole landscape had changed. People started getting thousands of followers and with the followers came ‘brand collabs’. In other words, people started getting paid or gifted for posting on Instagram.
For someone who started all this because they loved to write, gifting and working with well known brands sounded so incredibly exciting but mind-boggling at the same time. However very quickly I learned the only way you were going to get yourself noticed by brands was via Instagram. Which seemed odd considering the only reason I was here in the first place was to write not post photos. I wasn’t a photojournalist…
I didn’t realise I had to essentially become a photographer, model, stylist, art director and picture editor all at the same time! But somehow myself and about a million other ‘bloggers’ took up the challenge and before you knew it, everyone was obsessed with Instagram. It took over our lives in ways we could never have imagined.
We’d spend hundreds of pounds on fancy cameras, buy lattes at the fanciest cafe in town to take one photo and set alarms on holiday so you didn’t miss ‘optimal posting time’. You’d even loose hours of your life stalking random people you couldn’t care less about in hope they would follow you back. Talk about doing it for the gram, but for a while it worked. It was the only way you’d get the collabs or make the money!
Becoming a full time influencer was a job so many people dreamed of and could actually achieve without any experience or degree. So as more and more people started playing the game, Instagram made the game harder and harder. This ultimately led to more people starting to cheat at the game which made it exhausting for all those who didn’t want to sell their soul to keep up.
People became ‘bloggers’ overnight by buying followers, likes and comments whilst sharing sub-par images and writing all of about 100 words in a ‘blog post’. If you’re a blogger reading this, you’ll probably find it hard to disagree that we’ve all felt a little jealous of these people at times even if we don’t like to admit it.
The effect these people have had on the bloggersphere has been incomprehensible. Nearly everyday I see someone pour their heart out on social media about how their following isn’t going up or interaction is tanking despite creating amazing content. It’s an issue every honest blogger or instagrammer is experiencing and has made this whole industry a dark place to be.
After reading all of the above you’re probably expecting me to sit here and say I’m throwing the towel in for good. But that’s not the case at all. You’ve probably noticed since the end of last year I’ve been a lot less active on Instagram than I have been the last two years. Strangely enough, this hasn’t been intentionally. It’s just because I’ve been busy.
Whilst I’ve been playing the game on Instagram, I’ve also been playing another more important game- life! The last two years of my life and career have taken me to places I’d never dreamt of visiting or experiencing. And none of that has been an outcome of my Instagram.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked with some of the most incredible brands and met some of the most amazing people from my Instagram. However I feel like I’ve come to a point in my life where I don’t need to rely on an app or social media to bring me happiness or good fortune.
Unlike some, I don’t do this full time, so why do I keep pushing myself to act like I do?
This doesn’t mean I’m giving up on Instagram. I still enjoy posting my favourite photos of my travels, outfits and everyday life, it just means I’m no longer going to obsess over it. And I’m ok with that!
If anything it’s a bit of a relief. I mean, I have a full time job, relationship, family and a home to upkeep so can you honestly blame me if I don’t want to waste hours of my day commenting on Sandra’s latest £5 top?
And the blog?
Like I said in the beginning, I started doing this because I love to write and I still do. So many people have been saying recently that blogging is dead and in some ways I agree. If just blogging is your career then this statement may well be true, it’s no secret that all the brand collabs and money are coming from Instagram now.
However in reality my blog traffic is thriving, more that it has in previous years. A fraction of my blog traffic comes from Instagram so just because I’m not putting all my effort into my feed doesn’t mean I’m going to give up blogging as well. Real life blogging isn’t dead.
As long as I love writing and people love reading what I write, this website isn’t going anywhere. And so what if I only post once a month? I’d rather post once a month than 100 words 3 times a week about some sort of fast fashion dribble…