ARE WE INSTAGRAM CLONES?
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NAVIGATING THE ALGORITHM
Instagram is a funny old place, especially at the moment. Content creators are becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of communication and understanding between the platform and its users. Growing your Instagram following is becoming more difficult by the day, yet a large social media following is becoming more and more important, not only for influencers but for anybody applying to certain job positions. As new algorithms are enforced against the wishes of Instagram’s users, people are resorting to extreme measures in order to grow their followings. For example, April’s Instagram scandal exposed thousands of influencers as having paid for followers and engagement outright. As everybody else gets pushed further down the feed in favour of paid campaigns and popular users, is conforming to Instagram trends the only way to achieve organic growth?
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BREAKING THE MOULD
Original content is very difficult to come by these days, but that isn’t a dig. Like almost every online platform, Instagram is saturated with millions of people trying to achieve the same thing, but there are only so many ways you can style a flatlay. Even if you were the first, there are hundreds of others now emulating your style, and maybe doing it better. However, where other platforms offer functionalities which can increase your exposure – think retweets on Twitter, or SEO on YouTube – Instagram provides very little. When I committed to posting fashion only photos on my feed, I quickly realised that the only way to grow your following significantly on Instagram is through regrams. Yet, when browsing fashion regram accounts, it was hard to differentiate the girl in one photo from the girl in the next. It became clear that skinny, tanned women with glistening collarbones and perfectly smooth skin are the only ones getting regrammed. Bonus points for a glamorous location and the ideal amount of movement in their floaty dresses! The problem is I’m not particularly skinny, I cannot be bothered with fake tan, and the scoliosis scars that ravage my body aren’t exactly #instagramgoals. So what are members of the female population who, like me, don’t fit the mould supposed to do?
THE NEXT BIG THING
The truth is: I don’t know. However, like Carrie said in her post, it feels like we’re reaching a breaking point. How much longer will we be happy to scroll through page after page of identical content? Even the swish drone footage and steadicam shots that used to be admired by videographers and influencers alike have become commonplace within the industry, and they’re losing their value because of it. So what’s the next big thing? Well, I predict a shift back towards meaningful content, and I don’t necessarily mean people tackling big issues like feminisim and politics. I mean, wholesome, natural content where it’s just you and your audience sharing ideas. It’s the reason the social media stars of today took off in the first place, so who’s to say we won’t see that kind of content thrive again? Whatever happens, I hope that the staff at Instagram start listening to their users before everything they’ve built disappears down the drain, because I, for one, am getting tired of this.
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Do you think we’re morphing into the same person because of Instagram? What do you think the next big thing will be?