But are you embarrassed about how it looks? She asked. Not out of the blue, or to be unkind, as part of the conversation. We were talking about Instagram. The challenges people and businesses can face there and how we aren’t really that sure what to do to reach people anymore.
And, I understand what she means. Having an account with over 13k follows and getting consistently less than 100 likes on an image is disheartening. It was 15k once, but a clean out, a shadow-ban and a huge chunk of unfollows later, here we are. To watch unsubscribes happen day after day. To feel completely cut off from the interactions that meant so much to me. It sucks, short version.
So yes, embarrassed is one word for it. My ego has taken a bit of a hit since my fall from the top (ish). Frustrated is another emotion along with sadness, sheepishness, and some good old-fashioned ego related jealousy. No one said I was perfect! Having my Instagram fail, it stings a bit, let’s put it that way.
I mean, I wrote a damn eBook about Instagram for goodness sake! Cringe.
Earlier this year I declared that the purpose of the blog and associated social media was changing. I thought it was a clarification of what I am about now as well as an end to the constant frustration of creating content I just wasn’t that into (sorry, where to buy, but I mean you).
It turns out, all that did was make a bunch of women feel not welcome here. When I realised what I’d done to the community I spent almost a decade building, that hurt. It hurt more than the embarrassment of fewer followers, likes or comments. That was something genuine that I’d messed up.
But I’ve learned something too.
I learnt that it doesn’t matter whether 40 or 400 people like my photos, I still love taking them. It doesn’t matter if 2 people or 20 comment back, I’ll still reply and enjoy the actual conversations. And when I post a story and even one person gets a laugh out of it and DMs me to say so, well, day made.
My blog, the Instagram or whatever, is going to be what it is going to be. I’m going to create and make things because I love doing that. People will either stay for that or not. There’s no need for me to be serious, focus on a specific niche or do anything I don’t want to.
I’m not embarrassed to have learnt something. And I refuse to be ashamed that I made a mistake that cost me an awful lot of people from the team. I will, however, keep going and trying new things. Being Insta-Famous or a Blogebrity (Blog-Celebrity, thanks, Freya) can’t be the bottom line. It’s not good enough. In fact, it’s a waste of the rather large platform some of us have been granted.
So, am I embarrassed now? No, I’m not. I know who I am and a number is never going to define me.
Chief Blogger at Suger Coat It; An Australian lifestyle blog for women who work for themselves. Melissa is a social media consultant & lover of stripes. Most weekends you’ll find her at the beach or home on the veranda kicking back. Around here, they call her Suger. Feel free to do the same.