Oversharing on Instagram and why I continue to hold back

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Instagram has changed a lot over the last few years. While before the secret to success was perfectly-composed pictures and brief, pretty stories, I've struggled to make the transition to the more honest, warts-and-all style we're seeing more of today and I think this is mostly because I'm reluctant to allow myself to think about parts of the mundane, day-to-day life that most of us lead through the lens of shareable snippets.

That said, I engage more with detailed, approachable stories than standalone pictures on the feed so I often wonder why I choose to hold back. 

Obviously those post stories more regularly create the illusion that they are sharing a large portion of their lives through social media - it's not like we're seeing people brushing their teeth or hanging out their laundry. 

If that was the case for me, a pattern along these lines would follow:
  1. Wake up and instantly scroll those emails, Instagram and Twitter
  2. Hope in the shower and feel guilty that I started the day looking at my phone instead of something beneficial like pilates or yoga
  3. Have breakfast and faff around for half an hour deciding what to wear
  4. Leave house for the tube and curse myself at the end of my road for forgetting my lunch/phone/purse or even all three if I'm in a particularly forgetful mood
  5. Stand in my favourite spot on the platform and read on my way into work. Strictly avoid all possible eye contact with people but also spend a few moments being nosey about other people
And so on. Naturally, thinking about our day-to-day lives is hardly conducive to sharing those small details in a way that's interesting to others, but I personally think that the bloggers with the most likeability have honed this particularly well by just picking one or two snippets of their day and turning it into a story that's engaging without actually sharing that much about their personal lives. 

To me it still feels strange to share a significant number of stories or talk in detail about my personal life on Instagram - I find it admirable that so many bloggers and influencers are using their platform to talk about important issues such as mental health and body confidence and even contraception or periods. Doing something like that doesn't feel that authentic to me unless it's something I'm really fascinated by or passionate about. 

I've noticed that the strategy has changed for lots of bloggers who for example previously might have talked about a mix of beauty, lifestyle and fashion have narrowed their focus to something incredibly niche. Users look to follow accounts for specific reasons: one influencer for restaurant finds, another for pretty coffee shops and brunch, another for luxe travel. For that reason, I sturggle with how much I share on Instagram because I get bored posting about the same thing and perhaps, I still don't know where my profile sits in a platform seeking very specific content.

I'm reluctant to go deeper and share more because sometimes it's hard to know where what I'm talking about will feel relevant to them still. I want to evolve beyond how I used to blog and use social media, and open up more but it's hard to know if my messages reach the right people still.

Thanks for reading - I'd be interested to know how others have adapted to how Instagram has changed to keep their audience engaged- let me know!


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Thoughts by Fi. Design by Berenica Designs.