How I got my INSTA love back

15 September 2017

Dear friend,

During the summer I set up my Instagram account so that it would post automatically, twice a day. I followed the advice of some well-known, brilliantly clever bloggers and I invested in a service that could post for me whilst I was away on holiday.

It took me hours searching through photos trying to pick the best ones and at the right times, to match birthdays, anniversaries etc I had everything set up and then the company I was using started having glitches, some of the photos failed to post some posted before others so the pretty pattern I had set up on my Instagram didn't work. A note of caution, according to some bloggers IG doesn't like these services and it may even be against their terms to use them (you could, in theory, be banned).

Additional hours were spent sorting my schedule out and eventually I decided to move to another service which cost more money but at least worked. I was very proud of my set up! Scheduling was hard work but it played to my super organised nature and also meant that I had three weeks free with my family. For the first time in 2 1/2 years, I could have a proper break from blogging and social media.

Having a break made me reevaluate and refocus.

If blogging is your job, I can see the benefit of using these types of service. They enable you to schedule ahead to plan your posts in advance and develop the image you want to put across. Pretty useful when you are working with brands etc But blogging isn't my job. It is at least a hobby and best a passion. Why did I feel the pressure to continue posting with such regularity even on holiday? Well isn't that what all 'the best' bloggers do?

I must admit that I didn't lay off my social media all holiday, I was drawn to IG. To the beautiful holiday snaps, new babies and special moments my online friends had recorded. I was pulled in by the stories, the brilliantly put comments on the posts, the amazing shots ... I enjoyed keeping up with the communities, including  #MummyShot (the community I host with the beautiful Mackenzie Glanville) watching the feeds that I regularly join and discovering new accounts too.

I love the variety on Instagram from the picture perfect shots from 'proper' photographers to the hazy shots of parents enjoying their morning cuddles and the perfectly imperfect, moment in a mum/dad's day. There will be no blogger bashing here as there is more than enough room for all of us and this variety is what makes IG so Interesting although, I do believe that as a blogger there is pressure to follow the blogging rules and to do things right.

There are a plethora of; How to... posts out there that are devoured by bloggers thirsty for improvement or desperate to monetise their blog. In some quarters there is almost a blogger snobbery over how you should do things. Are we in danger of becoming a bunch of Stepford Bloggers?

Shouldn't we define success in our own terms?

I joined IG long before I became a blogger and the thing that brought me to it was the diversity and the instantaneous nature. The ability to record a moment in time, perfect or not and share your thoughts and feelings honestly, in that moment...

Gradually I realised that by scheduling my posts I didn't feel like I was telling our story in an authentic way. Rather, I was giving people a filtered version.

I needed to go old school.

I have returned to posting spontaneously, to sharing moments as they occur and reflecting on others from our week. To using Instagram as a platform to write, to share my thoughts and feelings rather than just purely for pictures. Now I feel more authentic, more me... and people are interacting with me more!

There may be some days that I don't post, as real life trumps blogging any day in our house. My blog won't fall off the parent blogger chart because I didn't post on Instagram for a day and if it does so what?! I may never be a hugely successful influencer but I am loving the authentic, INSTA me.

The biggest challenge in life is to be yourself in a world that is trying to make you like everyone else...

How do you use Instagram?
Do you want to get your Insta love back?

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