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.