The Business of Instagram (and Subsequent Breaking of My Heart)

Remember when Instagram was actually… instant.

Before it was bogged down by algorithms and millions of accounts and the pressure to perform. Instagram was a platform for sharing personal content with your immediate following—friends, family, whomever—in a 1x1 square image. I recalled the conception of my account the other day. It was 2012 and I was on vacation with my best friend in Florida (ew - sorry - not a fan of constant heat and humidity). We were in a cab headed to a bar, I believe… and she was going on and on about how Instagram was so much fun and I needed to make an account.

She made me an account.

Who knew it would become a part of my everyday. My job.

Well, my first few squares were (as most) filled with grainy iPhone photos masked with a heavy filter. Didn’t give it a second thought because I had to get that photo up as soon as it happened, right? Getting a photo ‘for the ‘gram’ used to mean a photo that you could post within minutes, or hours of taking it…

Now, Instagram is a total headache. A nightmare. A dreaded, recurring nightmare. Thanks, really, to the algorithm and the business of it all. I have nothing against curating a gorgeous feed. I’m actually all about that. But, I go back and forth with my wild OCD. Frustration overrides the fleeting joy of a well-outfitted feed… because the obsession with engagement sets in the moment a photo posts. And, if it’s not for personal purposes, say, my clients, that is a real cause of anxiety, which—taking a step back for perspective—seems so f*cking ridiculous. But, Instagram is what it is… and that’s not just an innocuous photo sharing app anymore.

Is this when I’m supposed to give some sort of advice on how to ‘win at Instagram’? Because, truth be told, no one can be an expert at Instagram with the constant changes it undergoes. I can give you advice, in terms of determining your brand voice, your color scheme, your frequency and timing for posts, and talk on the importance of planning out a content calendar in advance… but, then that makes this ‘blog’ feel like it has to teach you something. Remember (this is a reminder to myself, too), I’m writing this in the hopes that you’ll be engaged by my thoughts and words, rather than the Google-keyword-enhanced-or-click-baity-teachings of the content itself. I can’t be bothered with any of that. And I’m not above it all. I just don’t have the time.

These are my thoughts on Instagram, today.

Stephanie SicaComment