I used to have a love/hate relationship with Instagram. You know some of my thoughts from this article, which resonated with the blogger and creative community. But something’s changed. I’ve seemed to have turned a corner in my relationship with the platform.
While obsessions with likes and posting perfect pictures of perfect hair on perfect vacations is, of course, still present, it isn’t for me. I took time off the platform, barely posting at all in the last six months, save for a few mentions about articles I wrote. When traveling at the end of last year, I shared a few snaps of me in Japan and Wyoming, but still, my heart was not into it. I didn’t understand what I was trying to say, what aspect of myself I was trying to share, and what I wanted out of the platform. And these are questions that aren’t inherent. Rather, I realized these things after reflecting on my discouragement and feeling perplexed by this monolithic social media app.
Sure, Instagram is a fantastic resource for people to get their work seen. Period. But all of us other people, whose work is fluid and changing, who are still trying to find what they want to be about, we need clarity. Likes give us a direction for what people want to see. They do not provide us a path that we make for ourselves. And so that’s what I’ve been doing with my time off from Instagram. I stopped using it, stopped conforming to the expectations, and I mostly forgot to use it. And, if I’m honest, it was nice.
Without worrying about follower growth and engagement, my days were better, and I judged myself less against anyone else. But now I’ve come into a new phase, and that’s rediscovery. I’ve rediscovered my love of taking photos in the moment and finding creativity in every day.
Funny enough, it started with my garden. People who follow me know I spend a lot of my free time tending to my plants. It’s a hobby that has brought me so much joy and peace of mind, and I believe growing things is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life. So naturally, I started to photograph my plants. Simple stuff, with my iPhone when I saw something beautiful. Then it evolved into taking photos of bees, of other things I noticed, and all of a sudden, BAM, I’m back on Instagram posting things that make me happy from my day to day life.
The difference is that it isn’t for anything. It’s just to share. To share joy, love, design, and the little things in my life that make each day worth living. When you take back the power of your creativity from a platform like Instagram, the result is that you’ll feel empowered. The algorithm doesn’t need to dictate your life. Who cares what a computer program thinks is worthwhile? It is not important at all. Instead, what’s important is your expression, your freedom, and the ability to self-determine how you want to share, regardless of what number value others give it. And it’s in that place that I’ve felt free. I post photos I see, rather than trying so hard to make them. I give my ideas space to marinate and resonate before moving onto the next thing. I try to get deeper with the moment, through photography and sharing why I found a picture important, what I noticed, and where my life is.
All these things are worth sharing.
And it may not be the cleanest, most stylish grid you’ve ever seen — not even close — but it’s me, it’s honest, and it’s freeing. So here’s to settling into your most authentic self, and sharing the real you with the world.
If your interested, go ahead and give me a follow @evagrall! What do you think about Instagram? Has your relationship with the app evolved for the good or bad?