Why I’m Still An “Instagrammer” When Engagement Is At An All Time Low

Instagram, the big blogger’s joy and the small blogger’s misery. IG has become a platform for the big’un, the bloggers with the followers – The money, the camera, the look. No longer can you take a quick snap of your outfit on your iPhone, swipe on a filter, and post it. Nowadays, it’s more common for bloggers to snap IG pics on their Olympus PENs with a pricey 45mm lens, edit, filter, (obvz add some Grain because that’s really in right now) and then posting can occur – but not without an obscure, witty caption of some type.

The honest truth is that I’m at my breaking point in the world of social media. Particularly Instagram, with it’s new updates and shitty algorithm – I’m finding it increasingly more difficult by the day to find joy in posting on the platform. I don’t have a DSLR, I don’t have a iMac, and I don’t have a lot of money. I outfit recycle a lot, with shots taken on my iPhone – oh, and none of that fancy editorial bokeh. (Sometimes pronounced: BOH-kay – the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens)


My engagement is lower than ever, and Instagram keeps prompting me to “buy sponsored content” to boost my posts… is Instagram purposefully not putting my posts out there so I have to pay to get the Impressions I usually would? Between the algorithm and the shadow ban, there really is no way to “win” Instagram these days as a start out or small time blogger.

Yep, controversially I am referring to myself as a small time blogger here purely because I don’t have any of the photography or editing equipment that most of the ^^ up there, 50K follower bloggers do. I don’t actually feel like you can make it to the big leagues without buying a fancy ass camera and editing you photos like you’re in vogue. You can read all about my views on “levelling up” in the blogging industry here if you’re nosy. Instagram has “you’re only as good as your photography” vibes right now – it’s pretty shitty.

I know full well that I’m not skinny enough to be anyone’s Instagram goals, my phone camera doesn’t product those magazine-worthy images that entice people to hit the “follow” button, and I don’t have the mula to be purchasing a Celine bag or Gucci belt to make my outfits look effortlessly luxe. So why do I still persist with a platform that now only plays to the strengths of a very particular clique of bloggers?

Throwback two years, and lil Hols was a non-blogger who adored the world of Instagram. Back then, I think everyone did. It was a platform of self-expression, creativeness, and a window into the lives of real people. Unfortunately, the Instagram of today doesn’t ooze the same appeal. Anyhow, it was a platform I really did enjoy creating content for – and I wasn’t even a blogger! I used to get a real kick out of taking a mirror selfie of my outfit, a lifestyle shot of the brekkie I made that morning, or perhaps a beautiful view on a brisk morning walk. Back then, it was literally a point and shoot situation with my basic iPhone 5, and I fucking loved it.


Nowadays, I literally can’t do a photo shoot without getting some form of photography anxiety. I feel so sorry for my boyfriend because he has to put up with me having a mini breakdown when I can’t nail those bokeh-charged editorial “I’m a fasherrrrn blogger”-esque shots with my phone. Turns out, it’s not really that bad and once the anxiety has settles and I get round to giving my photos an edit – they’re alright. Nothing like the standard of most instagrammy fashern bloggers, but I’m working on the quality of my photography constantly. I’m still on the grind, and I need to accept that that’s totally okay.

I’ve made a conscious decision to remind myself of a few things whenever I’m using the app and feeling down about it:
1) Instagram isn’t what makes you a fab blogger
2) You’re much more than your photography
3) Dwelling on such trivial things isn’t healthy

From what I’ve experienced, Instagram can have a negative effect on my mental health and I can only imagine that this affects others aswell. It’s so easy to compare yourself to others in the industry, but that’s not what blogging is all about, and I’m determined to not let it get to me.

I’m ready to re-ignite my passion for Instagram, are you?


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  1. Imogen Rose
    September 24, 2017 / 12:04 PM

    This is so relatable Holly and I can only imagine how you feel as this is your income… I love blogging and Instagram is another creative output for that but lately it's becoming a drag. It's so easy to get sucked in isn't it. And you're totally right it's not healthy. Great post xx Imogen http://www.imogenrose.co.uk

  2. Arianne
    September 24, 2017 / 2:20 PM

    Love this post! Instagram has changed the way in which we view bloggers/blogging and this is so relatable…anyway, I absolutely love your look, especially the heeled boots :)Feel free to check out my latest post xLOOK LOVE WEAR

  3. Alicia S
    September 24, 2017 / 6:22 PM

    Girl I absolutely adore your Instagram! I think it stands out against all the fashion bloggers that use the same approach to all their photographs, your grid is just so refreshing to look at.Alicia xAesthetic Obsessed

  4. Anika May
    September 24, 2017 / 6:35 PM

    I'm literally reading this posts like "yup, that's me"…"that's also me"…"ah ha me"! I don't have an iMac, Photoshop or a bucket of money to spend on ads and often feel like I don't fit the "insta" image because of my body shape – plus I recycle outfits basically every six months. Sadly, I have under 1000 followers and now the algorithm is in place, I literally feel like I'm not getting anywhere, it's so discouraging! I'm so glad I read this post as it's like the little push I need to keep going and just enjoy Instagram as a small blogger and realise I'm more than my profile! Lovely post xAnika xo | anikamay.co.uk

  5. Chantelle Nelson
    September 25, 2017 / 12:59 PM

    Ah I can totally relate hun. I keep thinking instagram might change back but I think it's never gonna happen!!! :(Chantelle xThe Girl In The Tartan Scarf

    • Chantelle Nelson
      September 25, 2017 / 1:00 PM

      Ps you keep doing you because I absolutely LOVE your insta and blog!!! 💗

  6. Rachel
    September 25, 2017 / 2:48 PM

    We've followed each other for a while on IG now and your photography is endlessly inspiring to me Holly, you remind me that we don't all have to have the perfect set up constantly. I've totally fallen out of love with the app, and now I feel obliged to post after a colour of days, so big love to you for managing to stay so beautiful and consistent! xxRachel | kyvbey.blogspot.com

  7. Aimee Hyndman
    September 27, 2017 / 1:37 PM

    This really resonates with me, especially as when I logged on to IG this morning I found I had somehow lost 900 followers overnight. How?! Was this IG deleting lots of spam/inactive accounts maybe? I don't think anything I post on IG is offensive enough to warrant such a mass unfollowing. It's really got me down though, especially as I was only four away from 2k last night! It definitely feels like IG is penalising those who don't have a big following, or the right camera, or the perfect edit. I'll never stop posting on IG, because I love sharing what's going on in my life, but it would be nice if IG could be a little kinder to us smaller bloggers! x http://www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

  8. Melissa Jane Lee
    October 2, 2017 / 9:39 PM

    I find Instagram gets me down a lot lately. I try not to dwell on it, and why my photos don't get as many likes as others etc, but it's hard not to take it all personally. I spent a few hours yesterday googling Instagram filters to see which ones were most popular and might get me 'all the followers'. I hate the pressure to be Instagram-perfect, when I and other normal people know this isn't ever the case for anyone in reality. I totally agree – it is not a healthy place to visit sometimes, and I can completely relate. I agree – keep posting and being yourself, and don't compare to others. PS gorgeous outfit!

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