If you win the rat race are you still a rat? – How Instagram and Facebook have become the new rat race

I have found myself running a race on a treadmill, and I am going to step off.

When I started my blog two years ago, I knew I wanted to start a Facebook page and Instagram account to have a platform to share my blog. For the most part, it worked wonderfully.

I have close to 20,000 followers between all mediums.

But those followers came at a cost that I wasn’t prepared for. It turned out that writing my blog was the easy part, but social media would be a bigger challenge.

I’ve learned the ins and outs of WordPress and SEO and how to successfully upload photos to my blog, which I have enjoyed. But I have also learned things like algorithms, bios, captions, hashtags and oh so much more that have no real value in my life.

I spent innumerable hours learning the Instagram ropes and even started a Facebook group to help others. My motto was, “Let’s do this together” because I wanted to help other women figure out social media so they too could grow their following.

But to what end?

Instagram and Facebook, which are essentially one and the same, have taken the fun out of getting online and finding something interesting or thought-provoking. They are even making it difficult for me to see my close friends because they dictate who shows up in my feeds.

Their goal is to get me on their sites (the treadmill) and keep me there for hours. And if I do not play by their rules, I am penalized. So like many others, I tried to figure out the system.  

If I wanted to increase my engagement I had to play along. Likes for likes, comments for comments and above all, be sure to get out there and comment on, and like, the new stuff (it is called proactive engagement versus reactive).

There are countless Instagram experts who share the secrets to successfully getting around the dreaded algorithms, which are ever changing because Instagram/Facebook wants to control the platforms.

I’ve been told to get online and “warm up” the algorithm by liking a lot of photos. Or go back and like comments to let people know I am online. Once I post, but only at the precise moment any number of apps tell me is best, then the first hour is critical!!

If I don’t get the engagement that Instagram or Facebook has decided I should, my post will go exactly where the hamster goes when he is desperately running inside his wheel. Nowhere.

So I find myself liking photos I don’t like, commenting on captions that don’t captivate me, and mindlessly tap, tap, tapping away. And I know I am not the only one doing it.

Most people who are trying to build a following are either spending hours and hours a day commenting and liking or mindlessly liking just to try and be seen. Feeds are filled with visual white noise while we all desperately try to stand out.

So I am going to get off the treadmill, go outside for a walk and get back to being genuine.

I am going to stop liking photos just to fulfill Instagram or Facebook’s algorithm requirements. I won’t comment on a post that doesn’t inspire me to do so, and I am okay if you do the same.

Does that mean I won’t help a friend out if she asks me? Of course not.

I appreciate that so many people are trying to make money from social media and I am happy to help. But as far as looking, liking and commenting for my entertainment, I’m going to be more genuine.

And I am okay if you do the same.

Reader Comments

  1. Amy Kennedy

    Oh man, Loretta! This has been on my heart lately! And I don’t even know the times you are suppose to post yet. Thank you for the invitation to life again! I really want to focus (and have been for awhile now) on writing… and feeling really good about it. And to do that, you gotta live! Great encouragement for me! Thank you!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you, Amy!! I am glad to hear you are spending more time on writing. You are a gifted writer and I look forward to your posts!!! Let’s get out there and live and get off Instagram and Facebook’s dreaded treadmill. Xx

  2. Brenda Darwin

    Bravo! This is so refreshing! I am so much happier when I don’t let myself get sucked in, instead spending time doing things I really enjoy!

  3. Hilda Smith

    Totally agree. I am limiting myself to an hour a day reading others posts, liking and commenting. I might do 20 mins am and 20 in afternoon and 20 at night. I need to make a list of people I enjoy reading..

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Hilda, I lost focus on my blog because I was spending so much time on social media trying to build my platform! The ONLY thing I have control over is my blog. Facebook and Instagram are not mine. They are just allowing me to use their platforms, but on their terms. No more.

  4. Betty

    I came to this realization a while ago as well. It is just not worth it. The important people in our lives deserve the attention we give Instagram/Facebook and we should keep that in mind. When I have time I comment and like posts but when not….it’s ok. It will still be there.

  5. Sherry

    You have just verbalised exactly why I have completely backed off of all forms of social media. Like you, I found I was spending hours doing the admin side of things and I just wasn’t enjoying it any longer. So, if I start posting again, it will be for personal pleasure and my follows and the blogs I read will be because I’m truly interested in what the author has to say!

  6. Catherine Grace O'Connell

    Hi sister @Loretta Sayers. Well said. I got off long ago. It was killing my soul. I haven’t done anything not 100 percent authentic in a long long time. Liking for likes. I spend way less time on IG than I did. I still enjoy my community on FB and commenting on those I love.

    I think there’s another way. A better way. Let’s chat about it. Bravo. Welcome to the not race race ❤️

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      I noticed, Catherine. I was so busy running on the treadmill I forgot to be my authentic self. Your words are spot on…it is a soul killer. I am happy to be a part of the human race instead of the rat race!!

      And yes, there has to be a better way.

    • Rebecca

      I was wondering when you were going to write this Loretta. I have spent time on SM only when I want to and post what I think is valuable and what I love. It isn’t for most people. But there are many who want my presence. And not a phony one! Bravo!!!

      • Loretta Sayers
        Loretta Sayers

        Thank you, Rebecca. It has been eating at me for some time. I didn’t want to “cut my nose off despite my face” but needed to come to grips with my own actions. I have to get back to basics and doing what is right for me. The ONLY thing I have control of is this blog. IG and FB are not mine. I am so grateful for all of the friends I have made on SM and want to remember that and keep that foremost in my mind.

  7. Lana

    Social media takes up so much time. I feel like I’ve gotten away from writing, which was the whole reason I started blogging in the first place. Although to be honest, I’ve never been very successful with social media anyway. I had my sister helping me with my IG account for awhile, but I realized that wasn’t authentic, so I stopped doing that. Now I just follow who I like. I do enjoy scrolling IG but I’ve cut way back so that I have time to do other things. Thank you for writing so eloquently what we’re all thinking!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Lana, you said it – “I’ve gotten away from writing, which was the whole reason I started blogging in the first place.” That was me too!! Time to get back to basics and what I love. Thank you!

  8. jodie filogomo

    I have felt this way so many times Loretta. And it still happens to me. Then I give myself the lecture, that I do this for fun. So only do the fun part that I like. I still try to be smart about it, but heck…we are also moving. So how much time can I give it?

    The part I really like is sharing and learning about others. How else would I have learned in our cat kitty car training to keep the zippers open? And it helps so much!!

  9. Sharon pohl

    I agree. I have spent endless hours to what advantage ? I am launching by website, blog and shop for my own products. I have stopped trying to get engagement by spending 4 to 6 hours a day liking , commenting and following I sell a wellness product and CBD oil , and I need to focus on that as well as inspiring others to live a healthy life. I will be focusing on building a real business. Not a pie in the sky influencer hope. I have recieved thousands of dollars worth of fee gifts ( most I would not have bought) to post, but no money. I’ll be changing my IG and social to Zeal4us today.

  10. Julie

    I have decided to do the same. I didn’t make it nearly as far as you did with followers, engagement, etc. but I got tired of it, just the same. As hard as it is to see my numbers remain stagnant, I engage honestly and only to those posts that truly add something to my day and my life.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Wouldn’t it be interesting if we all did this, Julie?
      Give FB and IG a run for their money!

      I am happy to hear you have done the same. Took me a little longer, but I’m with you.

  11. Lisa Lamont

    Oh Loretta, I can totally relate!!! I am exhausted trying to keep up with Facebook and Instagram. I do love all the connections I have made because of this platform (including you!!!) I agree, I will continue but on my own terms; ) XOXO

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you so much for sharing this post. Hopefully, it will encourage others to join us!!

      I am so thankful for all of the lovely women, like you, I have met because of social media…and that is what I want to continue to focus on.

  12. Marijke

    I actually really appreciate your honesty because I have started to feel the same. I have met very interesting people who with who I have things in common, I have met people that I find charming, interesting but have nothing in common with and I have met those who I have nothing in common with. I have been pm’d by people who express they are interested in me only to find out they have a product to sell. It confuses me and f… cks up my sense of being genuine. I am not as succesful in growing my social media as you are but the time I spend on it is tremendous. So I want to change priority and time spent. I am not sure how yet. Msny thanks for sharing and opening up my eyes😳

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you, Marijke. I do think there is a better way to do this. I am thinking about how and will, of course, share it with my group.

      I have had the same experience as you, with DMs and sales pitches. It can be so draining.

  13. Phyllis Lerner

    Yes! I couldn’t agree more. There is no such thing as a “blogger.” We are all media companies consumed with the dreadful social media platforms that are basically time wasters. Kudos to you Loretta. I am giving you a standing ovation. 👏👏👏

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you, Phyllis!! I so appreciate this. I have been agonizing over this for the last few months and I don’t even know why!! It is time I took control back instead of letting IG and FB lead me around by the nose. XX

  14. Brigit

    Omg.. I love this post. Seriously I’m not in any business. I delete and block men. I am penalized I’m sure. I don’t care.. I honestly want to like who I like. My feed is full of junk a lot. I’m okay with my page. I don’t post much but I engage with who I like… perhaps my page is boring to most but I’m okay with it. I’ve made great friends anyway. I am authentic, not making money and pretty nice I think as an over 50 lady who is kind, fun and honest.

  15. Laura

    Yep. I feel the time suck of this too. Since I still work full-time and have a household to run, I just don’t have time for all the social media that is “required“ to have a “successful“ side business. So I am letting myself off the hook! 🙂 ps. I do enjoy your posts and content, but I’ll miss a few I’m sure Because my plan is not to be on Instagram constantly 🙂

  16. Juliet

    So we’ll expressed. I completely agree and often stop and wonder why the heck i’m Doing and what I hope to gain by doing it. I started with social media hoping to get traction for a blog … the blog is. Ow coming but I can’t do it all and I think I may follow in your footsteps. Perhaps if more people do the same FB/IG will hear us and adjust. Probably not. xo

  17. Kim Cook

    I love this post. I don’t typically comment on things that don’t resonate with me. I post on the pages of the women I support and who in turn support me. It is getting harder to see them in my feed. Wonder when IG and FB will catch on??


  18. Deborah Gutierrez

    Yes! I believe 100% that evaluating the use of my time on the Socials is integral to my emotional well-being. I do love the gifts I have learned from you and glad to call you friend.

  19. Stephanie

    Loretta- it’s the rare person who steps away from success, despite the cost. I don’t have anywhere near the following you do, but I feel the same pull and have made a similar decision. I’m sick of the ads and the liking what I don’t like either.

    I will miss the amazing ladies I’ve met on IG. And wish all of them the very best. My worth is not measure by IG followers.

    Blessings for your future!


    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you, Stephanie. I will still be online, but on my terms. No more following FB/IG’s idea of the game. They keep saying they want more authentic engagement, yet they keep changing the ways we see our friends posts. And, oh the ads! Every other post is an ad now!!!

  20. Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

    Hi Loretta I don’t visit often but your post has really resonated with me. I have been feeling exactly the same way and I don’t have a quarter of your followers. I feel that many of us are starting to realise that social media can just take over and as you say – to what end? We stop living our life in reality and are tied to feeling that we just have to be ‘on’ all of the time in blogging, FB and Instagram. Great to see someone actually put into words what we are all thinking. Have a great weekend.x

  21. Christine

    Hi Loretta,

    Nice to ‘meet you’. Just found you via Sizzling Towards 60 from down here in Oz and I must say this post really resonated with me. I’ve been working towards building my connections online, by engaging, being authentic, producing good content, yaddah yaddah, but it’s a big learning game and a tough gig trying to find the right spot. All the bloody rules!! You’re obviously hitting some sweet spots with your ‘numbers’ – well done.

    It’s frustrating because I really do want to connect with like-minded people, and I’m not trying to flog off anything. You do have to consider from time to time, what am I doing??

    I’ve just joined with you on Insta, FB etc and I even liked a few posts – only because I did though, not cos I’m supposed to! Looking forward to having a good look around your online world. I’m @BoomingOn) and look forward to more connections.

  22. Nancy

    … you said it perfectly! Your blog is your own! Our own! We must remember that! And you are such a gifted writer! Keep on keepin’ on!
    Instagram is an accessory… just like jewelry it enhances the important and beautiful aspect… US! IG enhances the Blog which is important and beautiful! Rock on girl!
    ~Nance Endless Summer on IG!

  23. Nancy

    I commented earlier and it disappeared.

    We all are starting to understand … that our Blogs are our own!

    The best analogy…. Social Media is an accessory to our blogs. Just like jewelry… it enhances the beautiful being. Social media enhances our beautiful blogs.

    You are a fabulous writer… I’m glad you are back! You have yourself a new follower here on WordPress!

    Keep on keepin’ on! Rock On! Blog on!

    ~Nancy …also nance endless summer on IG

  24. Helen Greenwell

    Wow do I love this! I’ve been feeling the same and have scaled way back on social media and on my blog. The fun was gone because I was so busy trying to grow a following. Over the last few months I’ve realized I don’t really care. I may try again-but with a different attitude. I’m not going to be the next big name and that’s fine. I would rather provide value-added content for other mid-life women. We’ll see how that goes. Right now I’m just spending a week enjoying two of my grandchildren!!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Now that sounds like the perfect week, Helen!! We get our girls next month for a week, and I can’t wait!

      When I wrote the words, “But to what end?” it struck me as so ironic that I am spending all this time trying to figure out IG and algorithms and for what??? I mentioned to Catherine months ago that our blogs were the only thing we own and we should focus on them. She listened to my advice but I didn’t! lol

      So, my focus will be here…where it belongs.
      Thanks for stopping by, Helen and have a great time with your grands!

  25. Sherri Preston

    Thank you for this post!! I also love writing and enjoy sharing, if someone finds inspiration in one of my blogs, thats where my enjoyment comes from. I have met so many wonderful women through the various platforms and that has become very enjoyable as well, but I have fallen into that same hole and have been trying to find my ‘rhythm’ not worry about facebook or instagram. Have a great weekend and great reminder of what is important!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you, Sherri. I started this journey to write and like you, that is where my joy comes from. I have been so lucky to have met a wonderful group of friends because of social media, so I love it for that reason.
      Now we just need to find that perfect balance between the two.

  26. Melanie

    Sorry, it took me so long to read your post. I had to like and comment on 300 IG accounts within 24 hours so I didn’t get in trouble or hurt someone’s feelings first. JUST KIDDING!! Even typing that seems silly to me. At times I would find myself worrying about completing “likes”….likes!! That’s crazy.

    I have learned so much this past year being on social media and in different FB groups. Some things make me shake my head and others warm my heart.

    For me, I am focusing on what I can control and that is my blog. I will continue on social media, but have never been crazy about it. I have made some fabulous friends via IG, and for that I am grateful.

    I’m glad you are taking control and doing what makes YOU feel in control and happy in your day to day life. Make time to write that book….I want to read it!!

    Hugs my friend…Melanie

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Absolutely, Melanie. Our blogs are the only things we own! I’ve had such good success here and I’m not sure how I got so far away from it!!! Must have been those 300 likes I was trying to get in! 😉

      Thanks for stopping by. Xx

  27. Stacie

    Yup, the whole IG thing is sucking the life out of me too. I’m so tired of being a slave to it when it doesn’t appreciate me. It definitely helps to step away and to be authentic and genuine instead of being intentional (for me). Good luck to everyone in this rat race!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Stacie, thank you for popping over and reading my post.
      I think most of us are tired of being a slave to IG! Ugh!! For me the most important thing is to enjoy the process and meet some friends along the way. I just can’t see myself continuing to understand the game that is Instagram…or is it Instagame? lol

  28. LeAna

    Hi Loretta: I just found your blog through the Midlife Blogging Community. I clicked on because this title caught my eye. I have just started blogging about 7 months ago and am finding that the social media is indeed a ‘rat race.’
    I’ve met some great people and am thankful for that, but my motivation for starting my blog was to get back to one of my strengths, writing. My following still numbers in the low hundreds and I’ve decided I think I don’t care if I grow a following or not.
    Thank you for this very timely read. As I try to decide if I’m going to try to make money from my blog or not, this essay weighs toward not worrying about it the money side and simply enjoy the writing side. We shall see.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      LeAna, thank you so much for reading my post. I can tell you after two years of writing and blogging, social media and algorithms, WRITING is the best part. However, a writer mustn’t simply write…she must be read too. We write for others as well as ourselves, don’t you agree? So that is what spurs us on to find readers in a sea of other blogs!

  29. Lisa

    Sometimes you just get tired of playing the game. I think being genuine and real are what resonate with people! So that seems like it should make a difference! : )

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