Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Instagram Changed Its Algorithm and Everyone Hates Me

 
So, Instagram recently rolled out its new algorithm, which happened to coincide with my decision to turn off the notifications on my phone because they were stressing me out and causing me to hyperventilate. Every time an Instagram notification popped up on my phone's lock screen, I'd automatically pick up my phone, open the app, and respond to comments/see who had liked my post. It was usually a comment like, "Great work! Follow 4 follow?" but still, somehow I cared, and for some reason, I still checked.
 
"You've got to turn those off," John observed one day as he noticed my phone repeatedly lighting up as we were trying to enjoy lunch outside in our not-even-close-to-being-finished-garden. Goodness knows why I even felt the need to have my phone outside with me - I'm not an on-call surgeon. I stared into space, munching on my sandwich as my phone repeatedly lit up. "It's really stressing me out!" he pressed. Tired of his wheedling, I turned off the notifications and checked my phone every other hour or so, but noticed that the number of likes on my photos had dramatically decreased.
 
Of course, I had no idea that this new algorithm was the reason for the sudden drop because (you know, unlike the widespread panic a few months ago when everyone was like, "MAKE SURE YOU TURN ON YOUR NOTIFICATIONS SO YOU DON'T MISS A SINGLE POST!" and I was like, nawwwww) Instagram didn't make some grand announcement about it. 
 
So, I blamed it on turning off the notifications. I relayed this to John, who tried to explain to me with the tone and patience he uses to explain something to our 2-year-old niece why the two had no correlation whatsoever. I only half-believed him, then became convinced that everyone became suddenly and completely uninterested in my photos. Or that they found them annoying/irrelevant. Totally logical conclusion, right?
But what the actual eff ew cee kay (I can't swear here, because my mom's friends read this blog), you guys. Why did it even matter? When did I start measuring my self-worth by the number of likes or page views I get in six minutes or an hour or a day or a month or a year?

Maybe when a PR started referring to the words I thought up in the shower and the photos I so painstakingly edited as "content" (which I prefer to think of as "stories", instead). Maybe when someone said to me, "If I were you, I'd really start paying attention to your DA score." Maybe when I went to bed feeling close to tears because I chose to watch Grand Budapest Hotel on Netflix with my husband after dinner instead of working on my backlog of blog posts. Because ... wasn't this whole blogging thing supposed to be, you know, fun?
 
Anway, I'm keeping those notifications firmly off - if my photo of a single monstera leaf basking in the warm glow of the morning sun doesn't garner 100 likes, it doesn't matter (although, I was pretty proud of that pic). If my DA drops to an all-time low ... it doesn't matter. I've decided to (figuratively) step off that social media scale and stop obsessively checking how much I "weigh" in terms of social influence.
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31 comments

  1. I came to the same (admittedly slightly crazy) conclusions awhile ago - it's the only way to keep my Twitter addiction in check. Out of sight, out of mind and all that...

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    1. That's interesting to know, Emma! I think I should do the same with my Twitter notifications. I keep thinking I'm going to "miss" something, but it's like, miss what? Missing winning a new car? I don't think so ...

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    2. A part of me wishes I could just quit Twitter altogether but it feels like one of those things you *have* to have, although it'd probably make no difference to me as I'm a tiny blogger anyway!

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  2. Gah! Well done, I need to manage my addiction some how too!

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    1. How do you manage all your notifications, Angie? Do you find that it distracts you? Or do you look at them all at once after a couple of hours or so?

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  3. Very wise! I've been doing the same - notifications drive me mad, now I just post what I like :)

    Jasmin Charlotte

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    1. Oh man, I agree. I think it's just so much better for our mental health! :)

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  4. Loved this post! Those notifications can seriously skill any productivity, too many flashes from our phones! What a great decision to just be done with them :)

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    1. THANK YOU, Marcella! Yes, it's like email notifications flashing up on the corner of my screen at work ... I can't help clicking on it and then getting distracted from whatever I'm doing at the time.

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  5. EXACTLY! We should never forget why we started blogging in the first place! I turned off notifications as soon as my IG started attracting more attention because it was overwhelming and very distracting, especially at work. My likes have dropped too recently and it was a bit upsetting at first, but then I decided it's not the end of the world, because when I focus too much on my blog's daily views and likes on IG I feel almost repulsive towards it all and loose interest. So I let it be the way it is and enjoy the process. My only "trick" on IG is to rely on hashtags to have exposure and that usually brings the traffic. I also used to seriously stress about meeting deadlines of my posts, but eventually I felt burnt out, so now I post whenever I manage it, still x number of days a week, but it doesn't have to be on set days at set times. Balance is the key! :) xoxo, nano

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    1. That is a GREAT idea, Nano - I'm impressed that you managed to do that immediately while it took me so long! I absolutely, 100% agree with you re: the "repulsed" feeling, which I've definitely been getting and it's been making me a bit down. So now, I'm just trying to let it go. It's a process. Sometimes I'm good at it, other days - not so much. You post regularly and your photos are always SO, so lovely. xoxo

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    2. Thank you so much for the sweet words :) I agree, it is a process and sometimes I get in the trap of being obsessed with "likes" and "comments" and "views" too, but as long as we work on focusing what's important we'll keep enjoying blogging. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!! xoxo, nano

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  6. I find it SO hard to be disciplined with my phone use but really love this post - I know I'm addicted and wish Pete would tell me off a bit more for it because at the end of the day I know it doesn't really matter! X

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    1. It's a tricky one, Lins! Tbh I think John only said something about it because my phone is always in his sight line and it annoys him, haha! x

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  7. I'm with you, Jaime. I can't stand the constant beeping - it gets in the way of life! I am such a late adopter that I only got a smart phone last summer and it's turning me into the person I always used to laugh about/moan about. I'm constantly checking my phone for emails, twitter, instagram. Honestly wish I could just take a good long break from it all - but then I think that nobody will know about the blog let alone read it if I don't stay out there most of the time. Wish I could find a solution that works for me. So great to read yours - I love your Instagram account, by the way.

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    1. I think that's probably wise, Clare! I have definitely felt the need for a break this past week, which has made me sad. My blog was once a place I could share my thoughts in a fun way, but it's become so much work (which I enjoy, but I just don't have time for it especially with a full time job) which has filled me with dread at the end of each working day. Last week, I prioritised spending time with my husband instead because HE is who matters to me at the end of the day, not a write-up on an event I've attended, etc. I'd like to have more time to focus on my own writing too, but I can't see a way of doing that without going part time with my job ... I feel like I'm at a crossroads right now which makes me feel uneasy and excited at the same time! I'd love to know when you find a solution that works for you! And thank you so much for your kind words: the feeling is very much mutual. I love your writing and your photos.

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  8. Okay, what exactly is a DA score? As someone fairly new to IG, I'm suprised at how quickly I've been sucked in ... although I was extremely proud when the Premier of Bermuda liked my photo ...

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    1. https://moz.com/learn/seo/domain-authority

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  9. JT, I completely agree with you on staying social media sane! I care but stopped caring if you know what I mean. I had this same exact thought a few months ago. At the end of the day, blogging is suppose to be fun and enjoyable, so why make it miserable on yourself right? I post and write the way I enjoy on topics that are relevant to me, and I think that's the best way to approach social media and blogging from a personal interest perspective. Because your followers will naturally like what you do, otherwise they won't be reading/liking/sharing all of your awesome musings. High five for sharing this because I bet you a lot of us agree with you! xx

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    1. Thanks so much, Laurie - it's great to get your expert insight and your personal experience too, since you work with this kind of stuff on both a professional and personal level! Really appreciate it, and am really thankful for your support too! xx

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  10. I think I need to turn off my notifications as well, I will being haning out with Fredrik and post a picture and then even if we are playing a game I keep lifting my iPad case and peeking to just see if anyone has liked it yet! I do feel a weird mix of lucky and annoyed I have an iPhone 3 so it is not any use in the social media department nowadays but I did have a conversation with my mom how hard it will be for me if I get a new phone and I can be all internet all day out and about like everyone else! As for actual pictures I post on Instagram that is an extra amount of anxiousness I need to keep in check as well, I am always thinking that I have not posted a picture yet today and I must now even if I have nothing I actually want to post. I feel like when I first started Instagram I would just see something interesting or fun and want to share, now I scroll through my feed to see how similar it is to any other pictures and then agonize over if it is perfectly composed or not and how many likes I think it could potentially garner.

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    1. As I was reading your comment about the anxiousness, it made me feel so sad, Bailie - but then I realized that you were describing exactly how I felt/feel too! Someone wrote a helpful comment on my photo, which was that we "share these memories for ourselves, not for strangers" - or something to that extent - which made so much sense.

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  11. I turned my instagram notifications off a couple months ago to save on different apps eating my data (that craps expensive) and it's so freeing! I only check it now when I check instagram for new photos, which by the way, the OCD in me is PISSED each persons photos aren't in sequential order, there is coffee at night and wine in the morning and I don't like it. Instagram is INSTANT PHOTOS, but that's a whole other post haha.

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    1. I think I need to do the same thing for Twitter. Haven't quite been able to do it yet, but I'm working on it. Turning them off for Instagram has been so, so helpful. I'm annoyed that the photos aren't in sequential order, too. I like seeing them as they come up in my feed "live".

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  12. I turned off notifications awhile ago because they were seriously distracting me at work and fuelling my anxiety. I don't have a lot of Insta followers so I haven't noticed a difference but it's great to only check the app when I fancy it, rather than feeling beholden to it.

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    1. Totally agree with everything you said (as usual!). The notifications were definitely fuelling my anxiety.

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  13. I didn't even turn my notifications on for fear of feeding this social media addiction any further. To be honest, it was quite nice, because I feel a lot more connected to other people and stuff outside the social media channels. But what really annoys me is the fact that I'm not able to see everyone's feeds much. This desynchronising is so annoying but at the same time, it does put things into perspective, ie I know better and connect better with people I genuinely like (your feed, included).

    Honey x The Girl Next Shore

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    1. I agree - I sometimes think, hmm, why hasn't *this* person posted in a while? And then I'll look them up and realize that Insta has just been "hiding" them from me, which is SO annoying. Glad yours stays up there for me though as I love all your pretty and foodie pics! x

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  14. It's so strange how easy it is to get sucked into the numbers game. In my head I know I don't care, I can rationally tell you all the reasons why the number of likes on my photo or the numbers of followers doesn't matter (because it really doesn't), but I still check. And it still makes me happy when one photo gets more likes than usual. Sigh. Ongoing battle! But I think my Insty notifications are now going off :)

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    1. Ah, the numbers game. I feel like that's fodder for a whole other post. I HATE it. And I have these waves of caring, then not caring. I feel happier when I'm not caring and I get sad/depressed when I do care. Like you said, it's an ongoing battle. For what it's worth, yours is one of the few blogs I genuinely love to read, and I also really, really enjoy your Insta feed.

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  15. The greater the number of Instagram likes associated with a post, the greater will be the chances of it becoming viral and popular amongst the context of Instagram.
    www.benoberg.com

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