Being on the most popular social media platform - Instagram
Some people said it is near the end for Instagram, but most are still enjoying the perks and fame they cultivated on it. Compared to the earlier version of Instagram, or the pre-Facebook phase, Instagram was more focused on photography, capturing and sharing the moments, and self-expression in life. It started to get more complicated and confusing when Instagram began to monetize the platform heavily.
Change is hard
Change is inevitable. Change is a double edge sword that will either lead you to have a bigger hit or become the tombstone that you just ordered. The evolvement of Instagram sort of reminded me of the development in Austin right now. The growth and the change in Austin are overwhelming to people who grew up here or have lived here for long. Austin has more and more high rise buildings, and traffic is getting worse like any big city in the US. Some people see that this is no longer the Austin they loved, so they moved away. It is like riding on a bus, you either get on, or you get off, but you can't change the bus route. The same is happening with Instagram. We can continue to play its game, or we will have to find a more suitable platform.
With this blog post in place, am I quitting Instagram? No, because based on the current climax, Instagram remains the most influential social media platform, and I don't plan to hide in a cave anytime soon. However, I have to realistically look at what I can gain from the platform with the time and effort I put in. Living life as a self-employed individual that competes with time every day, I can't afford to play a losing game. As some people told me, I am not getting any younger, so it is important for me to figure out a better way to utilize my time. For now, my goal is to maintain a minimal appearance on Instagram and focus more on the work that will actually bring in income.
What has changed on Instagram?
As a photographer, I like to believe Instagram was going to be a platform for photography but it never was. It was a social media platform that allows people to post imagery and now videos. It is not just videos; we can also post multiple images, posting Stories on top of photos we posted on our feeds. Unless Instagram is my full-time job, I can't keep up with all the things I have to do to stay visible. With Instagram integrating Facebook's algorithm, my effort becomes even more meaningless. Years on Instagram, I learned it's ever changing direction and how to do well on it. At the same time, I knew Instagram is not a platform that I like to do well on even though it is currently the most popular social media platform. I am insecure, and I am not good in self-expression. Unless you are one of my close friends, you probably think I am not approachable as I get used to keeping people at a distance. Instagram loves unique persona, as a more reserved person, I never really fit in. I am not saying an introvert can't be unique; you just can't do well if you are not willing to be loud, to be different and expressive.
What have I gained from being on Instagram
If you knew me in person and you don't think I am an introvert and a reserved person that's because I have tried extremely hard to change and to adapt. Being on Instagram, I gained the opportunity to practice my socializing skill. I made friends, and sometimes I talked to strangers I met on Instagram. It may sound simple at that in this era, but there was no way that I would do all that before Instagram. Thus, I am very grateful for what Instagram has given me. I met genuine friends that have been helpful and supportive of me. I talked to and learned from many talented people from all over the world. All these benefits enriched my life, and I wouldn't be who I am today without it.
Marketing lessons on Instagram
Instagram is a place that you market yourself or your products. Although the Instagram algorithm is always messing up your marketing plan, who can say it is not the same in real life? Things change, trends change, and you have to figure it out fast and utilize the change to your benefit. There's no point to spend time whining about change if you want to be successful on Instagram. Skip the complaining part, look into what changed and figure out the algorithm behind it before others do. If you have been on Instagram for long, deep down you knew there's a way to stay on top. Just like hikers, if you hike enough, you would know where to find the secret trails. Unfortunately, Instagram's algorithm may not be what you wished for as a path towards fame. Set a goal, if being popular on Instagram is important to you; diagnose the algorithm behind it, understand it and think outside the box to stay ahead of it. As I said earlier, I like to focus more on my work outside of Instagram, all the marketing skills I practiced and learned while being on Instagram are truly helpful!
Instagram improves my photography skill
Even though photography has not become my biggest income source, I noticed how much I have grown during my time on Instagram. Yes, when I focused too much on the trend, my images could be pretty cliche. However, things become a trend for a reason, and there is something excellent about it that entices people to imitate. We will always learn something when we work hard on it. Maybe the result is not what we anticipated, but the experience will help us on the next journey we enroll. When we are encouraged and motivated, we put out our best work. Looking through my Instagram feed, I certainly think it is the case for me, and some of my best work has definitely been on my Instagram feed. My editing is precise, and I am careful on pictures that I pick to show my followers, that help me to think more about the purpose and depth of an image. After all, what matters most is what you show and not what you shoot. The editing trend is always changing on Instagram. I am the last person who would stick with a single editing style. With plenty of experimentation when editing my photos for Instagram, the experience strengthened my editing skill and now I am better in expressing myself through my images with proper editing.
Where do I go next?
The question of where to go next is probably what many photographers on Instagram are asking themselves now. As of now, I haven't seen any platforms that come close to what Instagram can do. That doesn't mean I should limit myself. It is time to apply the creativity and energy that were cultivated on Instagram in other things in life. For example, I am writing more on my blog. Self-conversation helps me to gather my thoughts and lead me to a better direction. It also opens up an opportunity for me to start a conversation with creative people like you all. Agree or not, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email, just to be sure to keep things civilized!