This post couldn't have come at a more poignant moment! With all the drama Instagram has been dishing out as of late, it is a better time than ever to take a step back from your most-used social apps and re-evaluate how much happiness and value they're contributing to your life. If you're like me, not much. Guess what? I'm not even talking about the Insta feed changes. I'm talking about my own over-usage of Instagram and Facebook, and my growing anxiety over curating the 'perfect portfolio feed.'
But while we're on the topic, here are my thoughts on the change to Instagram:
1. I don't have notifications on for a single app on my phone...not Facebook, not e-mail, not Instagram. I love too many of y'all on Insta to turn ALL your notifications on...I'm sorry, but my phone would be BA-LOWIN' UP all day, err day. I have them off for a reason.
2. I trust the changes Instagram is making. I follow a relatively low number of users (because I follow those I really care about and connect with), and I like, comment, and interact with the same users time and time again. If what Instagram promises is true, my feed won't look much different at all.
3. Instagram has heard the pleas, and they aren't trying to hurt you! There have been numerous informational articles written about the exact changes Instagram is making, and they are only rolling out the new changes (for testing purposes only) to a few users as of today. So, most likely, your feed will be unaffected for the unforeseen future. And, even if your feed was affected, I would give it a week or two before deciding if the changes are harming or helping your account. The minds behind Instagram are geared for social optimization. Trust, trust, trust.
NOW, on to the real reason for this post! As I've gotten deeper into my lettering practice, I've used Instagram as a tool to connect with other artists, share my work, and prep myself for future Etsy Shop Life (officially happening in May!). For me, a perfectionist, there is a lot of worry and pressure that comes with curating your feed. I want to bring back some of the joy that comes with interacting with my friends, family, and following by cooling my jets and posting with purpose instead of posting because I feel the need to be 'consistent.' If you're like me, you know how it feels to be overwhelmed by the black hole of Instagram, and these tips are going to be just for you!
Here are my 3 Tips:
1. Plan, plan, plan ahead. This is certainly not a revelation for a polished social media king or queen, but for ME...it is! Planning does require a little of work, but since I've gotten in the flow of it, it's been a breeze and quite rewarding. So far, I've devoted a section of my planner to Instagram scheduling. Instead of figuring out what I'm going to post an hour before I want to post it, I take time to prepare posts ahead of time. This reduces the stress and anxiety of scrambling to whip up an art piece to post, or figuring out when to post, what the caption should be, what random, obscure Holiday is on that day, etc. I also plan time to browse Insta and check up on everyone I follow and stay active! And I don't mean writing "From 1:00-1:30PM I will check Instagram and actively like, comment, and follow." I mean, I know what times of the day are good for me to browse because there's nothing else I could or should be doing.
- Waiting on the train? Browse Insta!
- On the train? Browse Insta!
- Grabbing a quick lunch by yourself? Browse Insta!
- Waiting on someone to arrive somewhere? Browse Insta!
- Waiting in line for 1.5 hours to see Batman V Superman because your fiance made you get there that early? Browse Insta!
These are times that work for ME. It's all about your daily routine and what you have going on.
2. Change up the TIMES I post: I used to post at night...anywhere from 9:10-10:00PM. This, it seems, was the magic hour for me and my personal Instagram following, yet because it's that time of night when I'm winding down, I would end up staying on Instagram for an hour or more, and go to bed with a headache, unable to fall asleep. Because of my work with Girl-ish, I'm very familiar with what times of day are "best" to post on Social Media, but I'll be the first to tell you, I DON'T BELIEVE IN THAT. In the past month, I've posted literally every time of day, on every day of the week, and I end up with the same amount of engagement each time. Because of this discovery, I've settled on posting mostly in the morning. That way, I can post my planned art work for that day, then forget all about it because I'm busy at work! Wow, has this been a game-changer.
3. I stopped making as many videos: Hyperlapse Lettering Videos, though they are the sole reason for my Instagram BOOM last year, were also the sole reason for my anxiety on most days. The perfectionist in me cannot make just one video or stop after the first attempt. No, there was an unnecessary amount of stress involved in the making of those little 15 second videos, and it was just harshing my mellow every single day. So, I (mostly) stopped. Problem solved! I still post videos when it feels relevant for me, or even better, when I have the time and energy!
Bottom Line: If there's an element of your social media routine that simply isn't working for you: cut it out or change it up. What can you do to make your life and your art easier and more enjoyable for you? In this world of free advertisement and small online businesses, Instagram is no longer a fun and carefree memory-sharing medium. For us artists, photographers, and bloggers it is more like a curated portfolio that we are constantly perfecting, adding to, and worrying over. If it feels like I'm speaking directly to you: DON'T FALL IN THIS TRAP! You can stay in the game and keep your sanity!
What are a few ways you stay out of the trap of Instagram madness? Let me know in the comments below!