When researching a title for this blog post, the search term “Is Instagram Bad For Your Mental Health?” appeared. What do you think…is it?
Today I’m chatting about how the latest activity on Instagram has not only affected my account but also my feeling of self-worth
Last week I was beginning to think it was and I’m rather ashamed to admit that. How pathetic! How could a social media network affect my mental health? Me, an educated, grown women. Who has travelled far and wide. A woman raising three beautiful children. How could I let the ups and downs of social media allow me to feel quite frankly INSTAGLUM – aka ‘a bit shit’.
I’m having a chat about it on this week’s Illustration Life’ vlog.
What’s Going On With Instagram?
The hack, the shadowban, the algorithm. Hashtags not working. Users being locked out of accounts. Photos disappearing. It’s been an online obsession recently.
Nobody really knows what is going on. Instagram certainly don’t want us to know. They haven’t really attempted to put an end to the never-ending rumours and theories about it other than a brief statement in February:
All I know is, recent happenings have affected my creative business negatively.
In The Beginning…
Instagram has given me such amazing opportunities and connected me with some lovely people who some I now consider friends. All of this on a free to use app that we download on our smartphones. It’s amazing when you think about it.
Thanks to Instagram, I’ve experienced such massive highs and growth. My creative business grew out of being on the platform. The people I met gave me the confidence to keep experimenting and creating. I’ve learnt about photography, composition and light. New skills I never thought I would get the hang of. My artwork has been licensed across the globe and featured in magazines and websites as a result of being on Instagram. Amazing!
However, I suppose it’s inevitable that I’ve now experienced a massive down and decline. That’s life. Up and down. But what it shouldn’t do is make me down. That’s just ridiculous.
Putting this all into perspective, I’m now feeling liberated. My account isn’t growing. My engagement is down. Yet ironically, I feel my feed is looking the best it has ever looked. And it’s full of work I’m happy with. I use it like a sketchbook and gallery of ideas. Importantly I’m still creating because I LOVE creating and sharing. I’ll never stop and I really enjoy interacting with my followers and insta-friends.
Life Afer Instagram
Creative businesses can’t and shouldn’t rely on one platform. Read any marketing blog and it’s all about the …. [insert here]… email list/blog/video content.
I put all of my eggs in one basket. Relied on a platform I had no control over. I did what I thought was right at the time, but I’ve learnt my lesson.
Without doubt to run a creative business, or a business of any sort, most of us need to work on other areas of our online presence across a few platforms. There’s a lot of advice telling us we need to have a blog, we need to create more video content or grow and nurture our email list. Great advice and exhausting. Especially as many creatives are also trying to create new work, improve and refine skills as artists and designers.
Reflecting on this I’m not surprised I was feeling so low. Until I watched a video by Todd Brison “The Artist & The Businessman”
As an artist, you have two priorities. Here is the order of importance with those priorities:
- Create more art
- Do the other stuff
Too many times I see people get influenced by the hyper-business culture we have going on the Internet right now. They allow it to seep into their work and the art gets… well, boring. A soul is sold for a cheap buck….the artistic process and the business process must remain separate. Don’t create art for SEO robots. ***Create for human beings***
I would like to add ‘don’t create art for the likes and followers’ into that quote. I’ll openly admit I got addicted to the dopamine high I would get from them. I confess I spent a lot of time crafting posts purely for Instagram. It was a strategy that worked for a while and brought many opportunities.
My strategy now? I’m in love with blogging again and I want to share my skills and knowledge in video content. I’m returning to more drawing rather than creating content purely for Instagram. Importantly I’m concentrating on making work and enjoying the process of creating.
As for feeling down? I’ve put last week behind me. Realising, I’m more than numbers and likes. I’m the artist I was born to be.
I was feeling down so I created a printable version of my simple mantra. This is available you to download in case you’re having a case of self-doubt.
Have an inspired day
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