The (Unhealthy) power of Instagram

If anyone knows me at all, they will know of my obsession with the picture sharing social media app that is known as Instagram (you can go follow me if ya fancy a cheeky peak here: georgiaefrancis)

I think anyone that is anyone has an Instagram account; whether it be for sharing your own pictures or following (ahem, stalking) others. What started off as a harmless picture sharing website has slowly but surely turned into a competition against strangers, and quite often, against friends, of who can use the most hashtags and/or get the most likes on one picture, or gain as many followers as possible.

Instagram has become a place where people use their posts as a way to glorify their lives. It has started making every other ordinary human miserable because they feel their life isn’t as glamorous and they are unfulfilled because the accounts they follow are doing so much better at life.

I’ve noticed it more and more as of late too; that I’ve slowly become one of those annoying people who are increasingly frustrated when the following count goes down when so many ‘people’ started following me a post previously.

It wasn’t until I read the wonderfully real, honest post “A note about Instagram” by the amazing Hannah Gale, that I really looked into this obsession of mine.

Last year I really started to get into photography as a hobby. I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures and I got my first proper camera, the Fujifilm X-T10 for Christmas this year. So as you can imagine, my instagram has become the number one place to share my snaps. Many DSLR cameras now offer build in wifi which enables you to instantly transfer photos from your camera to your phone for easy, quick sharing to social media platforms, so I adore being able to shoot and upload continuously without hassle.

I don’t want to say I’m a good photographer either because let’s face it, I am beyond clueless. I’ve only just gotten to grips with Aperture and Shutter Speeds and sometimes I go for the easy option when out and about and use Auto mode (SHUSH. Don’t tell).

Photography is all about trial and error and having great patience at honing your skills and developing your craft. It’s an art form and it’s one that can only get better as time goes on. Self-teaching is always a good way to go, and just simply experimenting with the camera itself is the best way to get to grips – or at least, it has been for me.

But back to it, since getting my camera, my photography has improved a fraction and I find I can take better quality pictures even using my little iPhone SE. When I take what I think is a pretty effing good shot, I will post it to Instagram.

I am a hashtag fiend, but I ALWAYS have been. Check out my twitter feed from way back when; hashtagging is something I am openly teased about by my friends #soznotsoz #cantstopwontstop. So naturally, my posts on Instagram are hashtagged to death or at least until I can’t hashtag anymore. Most of the time the hashtags are relevant to the post as well. Regardless, it’s not the number of hashtags you use, or even the most popular hashtags you use, that generate your audience.

It’s a number of things. Posting at a particular time of day, posting a particular type of picture – it all counts and it’s a gamble. Your picture will either be picked up and suddenly start raking in the likes, or you can be lucky enough to get any attraction at all. And that is what has started to piss me off – that and those pesky little bots Hannah discusses in the link above.

It’s a game of posting at the right time with the right pictures. What gets me is a picture can be of terrible quality or has had no time or attention spend on it, and it’ll generate twice as many likes as a picture that is of higher quality with great detail and exposure which gets a fraction of attention.

Maybe I am the green eyed monster of jealously when it comes to seeing something I’m really passionate about not get attention it deserves, or maybe I’m trying to benefit myself and sound like a whiny bitch who is seeking attention; whatever it is, I am taking a leaf out of Hannah’s book (she wrote another blog post about the importance of unfollowing) and I am starting to clear out my Instagram feed so I can stop wasting time on looking at things I don’t want to see and I can start focusing on what really matters – enjoying the creativity and art and passion I once had for Instagram and most importantly, my photography in general.

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