In the Beginning
Back when I didn’t put a lot of thought into it, I would post snaps of my life on Instagram: what I was wearing, what I was cooking, where I was going, you know, just the usual run of the mill, day to day shots, fun stuff without overthinking it, just doing it. That was in 2015. Fast forward to 2019, and now Instagram is the place to grow your brand and create eye-catching content to influence people to do whatever you’re doing. So I started doing that, or at least I thought that’s what I was doing. I had a little over 700 authentic followers at the time, but like many on IG, I was looking to grow my following. Initially, I had hopes of being able to grow my following organically, but impatience won out. I wanted the benefits that came with having a larger following- mainly monetization, and so I joined a loop. But here’s where things became problematic. Monetization had never been my primary goal. While I did want to be compensated for the work I was doing eventually, I really did like sharing my many thoughts and how I do life. Unfortunately, I didn’t believe in my ability to do that on my own, so I joined a loop.
In a matter of days, my number of followers grew, and I was ecstatic. But as my number of followers grew, so did the number of the accounts I was following, and what’s more, I was now following quite a few unfamiliar accounts, and many of them either didn’t interest me or they did not even represent who I am or my beliefs. Furthermore, it seemed the more my following grew, the more inauthentic my followers became. I noticed that I began to receive fewer likes, and engagement felt like it was obligatory, or it was nonexistent altogether. Then to top it all, I began to feel like a failure. I felt that I had succumbed to what IG wanted me to be, and in doing so, I lost my passion for sharing my journey with the people who’d been following me all along; I lost the connection that I had been working to create, and that was not my intention at all.
So I stopped the loops, and started doing me again.
Now that I have stepped back from the idea of gaining followers for the sake of having high numbers, I do feel a whole lot better about myself and the intent behind each one of my posts, and even though my engagement is not where I want it to be, I’m where I want to be. I am finding my groove, which is a slow groove right now, but soon enough, when I’m ready, the pace will pick up. All that matters now is that I be authentically me.
What Looping Taught Me
The experience taught me a lot about myself and quite a bit about others.
I learned that being impatient pushes you to do things that do not jive with your purpose.
I learned that impatience makes you act out of desperation, and desperate people do things that patient people won’t do.
I learned that I’d rather have fewer real followers than thousands of unengaged followers.
I learned that I do not like comparing myself to others. It makes me feel inadequate.
I learned that reciprocity does not mean the same for everyone.
I learned that I would rather inspire than influence. Yes, there is a difference. While every post doesn’t have to be profound, I do want each post to inspire you to take notice of your life and revise it if there is something that requires revision.
I learned that I am passionate about sharing who I really am versus who IG wants me to be.
I learned that good things take time, and while there are those who experience overnight success, many of us don’t.
Will I participate in another loop?
To be honest, I’m not sure. I think there are some communities of Instagrammers and Bloggers that really do care about supporting and growing one another. I have witnessed it. With that being said, if I am able to find a genuinely supportive community of lifestyle bloggers with an authentic focus on “inspiring one another to bloom” then I would happily join it. I really do love creating and inspiring, and the teacher in me needs to share with others. Now that I know this, I plan to make some major changes, which means, I have to be okay with losing a fake following in order to gain an authentic one.