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