I have been a freelance writer since the start of February 2021. My work as a writer has opened my eyes to the world of content creation.
Instagram is my guilty pleasure. It’s impressive how I managed to spend more than a hundred hours just mindlessly scrolling through the app. I don’t use other social media as extensively as Instagram (with the exemption of YouTube).
It’s like how people have a comfort show or a comfort game. It's something you always come back to again and again. For me, Instagram is my comfort app.
I’ve been using Instagram since I was in high school. You would think that I have about hundreds- if not thousands- of followers. I have been on the app for more than 7 or 8 years. At that point, I could have cultivated a steady fanbase.
My current account has barely 150 followers, and most of those people don’t even interact with me on a daily basis.
Yet, there was a time when I had a thousand followers. I was a popular Instagram artist who was a part of two fan communities. I had many connections and fans. Some of whom became long-time friends. For any outsider, it seems like I was on the path to becoming Internet famous.
Then I permanently deleted my account.
It’s no use looking for that old account now. I had erased most of my track records across the Internet. And while some of my previous artworks and comics still exist on a few archiving websites, you can never piece the puzzle together again. And I want to keep it that way.
So why throw away all the potential? I could have been a well-known artist on Instagram. On a platform where gaining followers is as tough as going through the eye of a needle, you’d think I would want to hold on to my empire.
But, again, no. Instead, I let go of my account. I did it with a heavy heart, sure, but it was for my own good.
There are 3 reasons why I had to let go of my old Instagram account. As tempting as it is to become Instagram famous, the cons simply outweighed all the pros.
1. College is Far More Important
Let me give you some context on what my account was all about. My old Instagram account was a fan account. I was dedicated to creating fan-related content about video games that I was interested in.
What made me stand out was that I was one of the few artists in my niche community. I made comics back then that brought a lot of interest to my account. I can fully admit that my artworks are mediocre at best. But they attracted the attention of many people outside our fandom.
Making comics was my passion during my senior years in high school. If I was not studying or chatting with online friends, I was making content. And the rush of dopamine that I get when I received likes and follows was unmatched.
But then college came. I was no longer only caring about going to school. I cared about my finances, my health, and my relationships. But most of all, I cared about my future.
College forced me to rethink my time and how I allocate it. It forced me to think twice about engaging in a hobby since I still need to finish my requirements. And after school, I would be too exhausted to pick a pencil up. I either wanted to sleep all night or play mind-numbing video games.
It was a necessary sacrifice since I could no longer produce comics like I used to. And sure, it would be fine if I could take a long break (maybe for a year or two). But that's not how Instagram works. And that leads me to my next point.
2. The Cutthroat Algorithm Will Leave You in the Dust
Content creators vary on how quickly they can finish new works. Some artists can create quirky and adorable posts in just 1 to 2 hours. Meanwhile, others make gorgeous pieces of art that require a day or two.
None of that matters when you are on Instagram.
On this platform, neither quality nor quantity matters. It's all about consistency. You have to post quality images every day at the same time. But don't use the same hashtags! The bots will think you are spamming the tags and will not show your work to others.
There are so many hoops that you have to jump through just to please this algorithm. And if you follow your own will, then say goodbye to your engagement. The more you consistently publish, the more your work is shown to others. And if someone beats you in the race of staying relevant, then your work is going to be left behind in the dust.
It's tiring to stay afloat in a system like this. You go from gaining 60 to 70 likes from one post to barely reaching 30 from another. It's that inability to meet your goal is that makes artists want to quit.
"But Athena! The number of likes on your posts does not define your value as an artist." That's true! Numbers aren't everything. But if you are posting pictures that nobody will end up seeing, what's the point? If numbers don't matter to you, why bother posting your art online in the first place?
Artists want to be seen on social media, and numbers are a great measurement of how many people have engaged with your stuff. But you can't win against a machine algorithm. So you either break your wrist trying, or you move on.
3. Instagram is Not for Writers
I think this has to be the most obvious point. Instagram is a visually-driven social media platform. There is an emphasis on posting photos and videos, not essays and poems.
Sure, you can spend your time typing up a storm in the description area. But barely half of your follows are going to bother reading through your blurb. They came to look at photos, like it, and then move on. And yes, some people are willing to read through your long descriptions. But how many do you think will stay interested after the first paragraph?
I'm not discouraging writers from using Instagram. But for me, Instagram is not made for writers to post their works on it. Rather, it's best used as an advertising spot. You have better luck on other platforms like WordPress, Wattpad, or here on HubPages. In fact, I'll even argue that DeviantArt is a better place to post literature than on Instagram.
I'm only bringing this point up because I went through a shift in college. I went from being a digital cartoonist to being a writer. And that shift made me rethink how I wanted to brand myself. I want to be remembered as an author of online articles and novels, not some nerdy artist who makes fan comics about two gay fictional men.
Instagram is no longer the platform that can support my way of content. That's why I left, rebranded myself, and started a new personal account. And I started to use Instagram as to how it is intended to be: socializing. No more chasing fame, no more number counting. Just chatting and occasionally posting a cute dog photo.
Where Am I Now?
There are some other smaller reasons why I deleted my old account. But those reasons are either too personal or too nitpicky.
But I realize that I simply can't grow if I stick to my old account. I've come to a point where it's time for me to move on, and I've become too old for my bygone community.
Deleting my old Instagram has to be one of the best decisions I made in life. There is a lot of benefits in distancing myself from the online world. Maybe I might even consider making a follow-up article on that in the future. But in short, the effects of a social media detox have done wonders for my mental health and my productivity.
I won't be going back to Instagram as a content creator for a very long time. I am contented as a freelance writer and as a student for now. Things can change in the future. Though, I doubt I am willing to put myself through unnecessary stress just to garner a like or two.
Athena Barroga Perez (author) from Philippines on August 07, 2021:
Thank you for your encouragement! I'll do my best in college and my writing career.
Athena Barroga Perez (author) from Philippines on August 07, 2021:
Thank you for the comment! And please do write about your articles on Instagram. You have the freedom to share your thoughts and experiences. I am only one person who is sharing their story. So don't feel like you have to be silenced just because someone wrote first.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 06, 2021:
It sounds like you have set your priorities. Good luck with your college years and beyond.
Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on August 06, 2021:
Thank you . I was just about to begin sharing my articles on Instagram but Now i will not.