My #instabreak (read: #instarelief)

A week and a bit ago, I decided to deactivate my travel Instagram page, @courtney_brisbaneblogger. It was a choice I battled with over and over and for the first couple of days, I honestly was not sure if I had made the right choice.

Now I can honestly say, I made the right choice. I am not waking in the morning and checking Instagram, worrying about the stats. Worrying that I am not getting notifications from the same people, being disheartened by the lack of engagement.

I miss the contact of several people, absolutely – but for the sake of my mental health, I have to tell you – it is the best choice I could have possibly made. I absolutely want to get back on there one day, although I wonder if there is, in fact, a way to clean-out my followers and those accounts I am following – without re-activating my account.

….

So I waited a week before I continued this post, just to see if my opinion had changed at all. It has not, thankfully. This last week I have been able to concentrate on my business, my work, and my I.R.L friends. I have not been caught up in algorithms and phony human-contact, hashtags, and scrolling through the same photos over and over again.

I can slowly feel my creativity coming back to me, I felt porous, leached dry of any genuine creativity when I was playing such close attention to my lifestyle/travel IG. There are quite a few people I have connected with, through text and message – those who genuinely understand the need for a break.

What I find to be completely amazing though, is the gorgeous woman who started our niche #gram tribe, also was going through the same thing! I had no idea when I was at our meetup (the night before I deleted/blocked everything) and looking at this incredible woman in the flesh, that she too was looking at taking a break. I’ve just checked and yep, this woman -who I really admire, has also taken a break from the gram.

The thing is, it is and is not real life, as much as any one thing can be both and both not something. You look at places, some genuine shots, genuine moments and then there are the pre-meditated, posed, screen-show masterpieces which are popular. It is fictitious, it is vacuous and do you know what? It is not inspiring. Not at all. It creates a breeding ground of doubt, of comparison and of an intrinsic sensation of failure.

I know there are people out there who are personally offended by my choice to delete my page or to stop communicating with them. All I can say is it is personal 100%. It was personal to me and I am feeling lighter, breathing deeper and my social media anxiety is fading.

Thank goodness.

Another thing to remember, social media is not real-life and other people’s actions are always made for THEM, not for you and that is A-OK.

Courtney Gaye Signature copy

 

 

 

 

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The Instagram Algorithm – what it means for you

Instagram – what a love-hate relationship I have with it. On one hand, it has brought together so many fantastic people all on one platform, on the other I seem to constantly be wading through sponsored posts with content that has nothing to do with me. Despite filtering my preferred feed and removing posts of a particular nature, I am still struggling with growing my following and keeping my engagement at a level which I find rewarding.

With 1349 (genuine) followers my engagement has been steadily dropping since April of this year, where it was at its highest. On average it is dropping around 10% per month. Apparently my best time to post is Saturday at 8am and my highest engagement occurs on Sunday’s at 5am.

My most popular post of all time was on 26 November 2017 and it had 515 likes, most of which had occurred in under an hour! I have no idea how it went so crazy in such a small amount of time but it really went off! To date I have been unable to get anywhere near this number of likes for any other posts, despite having grown my following, improved my captions and hashtags and also increased my engagement with others.

View this post on Instagram

Do you suppose she’s a wildflower? 🌸🐰🎩 -Alice in Wonderland • Today I’m missing my girlfriends quite a lot so I’m sharing pics from our last girls pic – I apologise for the influx! ~~~ Growing up in Australia, in many different rural communities – I'm used to strapping myself in for a decent drive to get to the closest town / city / coffee. I'm talking driving 3 hours each way into Mackay just so I could get a decent coffee on Saturdays! ~~~ So when I got to NZ – I was quite shocked to learn that in that same time period you can drive ACROSS some parts of the country! Obviously I'm not going to throw that opportunity away! If you have access to a car in N.Z – I highly recommend using it – pack a bag, grab your camera and drive! I've connected with an absolutely gorgeous lady by the name of Sha @lifetomyfullest through wordpress who has also documented her journeys across N.Z (driving and solo travel) as well! ~~~ Just remember to take care where you pull over – the scenery is beautiful but so are yours and everyone else's lives! ~~~ Canon EOS 550D • #akaroa #southisland #thegiantshouse #happiestgardenonearth #newzealand #nz #girlstrip #findyourtribe #travel #passionpassport #purenz #flowers #tourismNZ #sheisnotlost #beautifuldestinations #igtravel #purenewzealand #NZMustDo #wearetravelgirls #wineandcheese #instatravel #doyoutravel #wanderlust #darlingescapes #travelgram #bucketlist #explorenewzealand #instagood #chasingtheworld #shewhowanders

A post shared by Courtney Redmond 👩🏻‍🦰 (@followcourtneygaye_creative) on

My focus has always been on engagement, the likes and comments are great but ultimately I am using this Social Network platform for exactly that, social networking. I am inspired by so many  incredible accounts out there and am fortunate enough to have met several people from Instagram in real life.

On the other hand, I have gone through the follow-unfollow game, the bots, spam, fake comments and even negative feedback when quite frankly, it was not warranted nor welcomed. I am however a very (super) small fish in a very large pond.

The latest Algorithm – what is it looking for?

Your feed is not based on who you are following alone, it is also based on who and what you like. The system is relying on your past behaviour to create your feed. In addition to this, Instagram is also trying to show you content from your friends and family so they have announced that 90% of the posts shown will be from this demographic (previously it was 50%). So this might explain why your feed has several posts from people you know and then fifteen posts of cake decorating (because you liked that one cake decorating post yesterday). Instagram is kind of like a needy acquaintance trying way to hard to be your BFF sometimes.

The algorithm is not going back to chronological like most of us had hoped, but depending on how often you use the platform it will try to show you the most recent/relevant posts when you log in.

I had some accounts I really loved following for their content and their engagement, but their accounts are no longer about travel and have turned into constantly sponsored product-placement posts (I don’t necessarily want to unfollow them but muting them is likely going to be my next step). My advice would be to unfollow or mute accounts you no longer wish to have dominating your feed.

Gone are the days where posting videos or using Instagram Stories/Instagram Live would help your reach, those features are fun but they are no longer likely going to improve your reach or enagagement. Shadow-banning which was long denied (much like the “non-existent” bell-curve in uni marking 😉 ) has been confirmed as being a “bug” which has since been fixed.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your content, engagement, captions, theme and brand. If like me, you are simply posting what you love, when you want to then you will likely have a heathy following but you won’t be quitting your day job anytime soon.

Taylor Loren over at Later posted a wonderful article on The Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2018, you can read it here. I have always had better engagement in the morning, I think it takes into consideration transit time for Australian’s getting to and from work and those followers in the Southern Hemisphere who are scrolling their feed during the evening.

Ultimately I think my lack of theme or ‘brand’ is the reason my Instagram is not doing overly well. I just do not seem to have that creative flare. Ideally I would love to have a cohesive theme but I find it to be quite limiting as I do not want to be confined to particular colours or posts. It’s a conundrum. I think I will primarily focus on my blog and Pinterest pages and have IG in the background.

What are your thoughts?

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post.

If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post. I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

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x C x