Recently one of my friends put a post on Instagram that caught my eye. It was a little poem she had made up about the follow/unfollow game a lot of people seem to play on Instagram in order to increase their following and how it’s a bit of a crappy move and I thought I would share my thoughts on it.
I’m fairly new to Instagram and I was once very naive. If someone with 100k plus followers suddenly followed my account and started posting compliments on my less than professional photos of my dinner or my child (who is absolutely beautiful and deserves every spam and genuine compliment he gets!) I would be flattered and immediately follow back for the sake of good manners. Only for them to immediately disappear from my follower list soon after. Oh what a fool I was! They weren’t interested in photos of my homemade cottage pie (I can’t understand that?!) they just wanted to boost their own following!
Now I do get this, it’s hard to grow your following, and sometimes, fairly rarely, this sneaky move has introduced me to an account that I have continued following for their good content. But for the most part I have wised up and don’t follow them in the first place anymore. It may seem petty to some but I have also downloaded the free app that allows you to see who has unfollowed you. I believe Instagram is about making genuine connections to people. It doesn’t have to be people you have loads in common with but you can still get along with people and often find common ground, and dare I say it form friendships. Isn’t that what social media was created for in the first place?!
What shocks me the most is that sometimes it’s really well known bloggers who are celebrated for being such lovely genuine people. Maybe they are, it doesn’t make you a bad person to follow someone on social media purely to add a number to your own follower count. But at the same time it does take away some of their credibility in my opinion.
This blog post isn’t written from a place of jealousy either, before everyone thinks I am just bitter! But it’s well documented how difficult it is to grow a following on Instagram and through blogging. Admittedly there is a lot of competition out there, but I believe that if we only supported one another and actually showed a genuine interest in one another then maybe we would get more out of social media than just a business opportunity. Dare I say it we could make real connections to people that we would never have met without it.
Now I post a lot of things that I am sure doesn’t interest everyone. I post photos of my food almost daily (and it’s not always a pretty, professional magazine worthy photos either…sometimes it’s slop on a plate!) I post about my workouts regularly, often accompanied by a picture of me in a sports bra, and then of course there’s the toddler spam! Which I actually don’t see how anyone couldn’t like because my little man is so darn cute! But I completely understand why some people would unfollow me. I’m sure I get on some people’s nerves clogging their feeds with my diet cola chicken! And that’s absolutely fine. It’s the people that follow you solely so that you follow them back, post fake, generic ‘compliments’ on your photos to win you over, then get rid of you as soon as possible that I take offence to.
I would love to be successful on social media and through my blog (I feel like the two are somewhat connected) but that isn’t the sole reason I do it. I originally started blogging predominantly about pregnancy and motherhood with the occasional fitness based post thrown it. I did it because I was on maternity leave and then a stay at home mum and I enjoyed documenting my journey to motherhood, it was like a hobby. I started this blog, which is more centred around fitness because I believed I could help people, predominantly women, get fit at home and to stop thinking that once you have a baby you will never be happy in your own body again. Because that’s simply not true. And it’s a horrible way to feel. I am no expert in the field of fitness but I enjoy sharing my journey and things that I have found helpful along the way. I would love for this to become more than just a hobby for sure but I will continue whatever happens because I love writing and I love fitness.
So I am setting myself a goal to follow more blogs here on WordPress, I have to admit I don’t follow a lot of people. This is mainly due to the fact being the mum of a toddler it’s pretty difficult to find five minutes to yourself to shower let alone browse blog posts! But I am going to endeavour to try, and one thing is for sure if I am ever in a position where I have made my blog and social media presence super successful I will NOT under any circumstances start playing the follow/unfollow game. I’d much rather use my reach to support others and use social media in the way that it was intended, for genuine connections…