I posted the following on my Instagram account:
What is it I’m saying here? Well, basically I’m wondering where the fuck is everyone? (This is going to be long. If you care, read it all. If not… Oh well. The short version is basically a goodbye to Instagram for the most part). Seems that lately, on a very consistent basis, less than 10 percent of those who are following me are looking at, or commenting on, or liking the images I put up here.
575 people follow me here on Instagram yet, when I post images that, in my opinion, are pretty good, the most response I’ll get is about 40 people liking the image and a small percentage of people commenting on it.
Now, of course, this is going to start to sound like sour grapes a little. That I perhaps “deserve” more likes or views or whatever. Well, I understand it does, but stick with me here for a minute.
I’ve been on Instagram for a little while now. You now and then I’ve mused about the merits of posting images here and whether or not I would stay. I’ve waffled back and forth a few times, but ultimately decided to stay. A few of you made a convincing case for me to remain.
But lately it seems that a lot of effort on my part (taking, processing, and posting images) is not showing any improvement here on Instagram.
What I sense is going on is that I’ve hit some kind of barrier here which I cannot break through. In my opinion, it’s caused by a couple of key things.
First, without the ability to easily re-share images here in IG with other users, the act of discovery is thwarted. What I’m talking about is some kind of “retweet” function: an easy way of forwarding pix to those you follow while still maintaining attribution to the original photographer. Because this function is lacking, there is no easy way for me to share exceptional images with my followers and help them discover a new photographer. In the same way, they cannot share my images with others either.
This “retweet” function allows trust to build between followers; we become essentially photo editors. I will follow people who will turn me on to good photography and, I’m sure, vice versa. Because this function isn’t built in here, this aspect of community growth and trust is lost. That’s a shame.
Secondly, the idea of popularity and following here on IG is something I do not understand. I get the sense that there are many people here who are just interested in followers and getting on the popular page than anything to do with photography. I know I’ve bitched about this a lot, and I’ve gotten a lot of useful replies about ignoring that. And I have.
The idea of posting images here when there is probably a large percentage of people who really do not give a shit about the photography itself and are more interested in a popularity contest is very disheartening. When I post an image here and only 10% of the people who follow me make some kind of acknowledgment of that image (thanks to you, the 10%), what I begin to question is who the fuck are the other 90%? Of course this is perhaps a little over simplified, but I’m probably right to question this.
I like to think I’m a pretty decent photographer, since I’ve been making my living at it for almost 30 years. I’ve posted well over a thousand images here yet the ones that have gotten the most attention were some pinup girl shots I retouched of Betty Page (yeah, tits and ass). Again, somewhat disheartening.
So, my plan is to curtain my involvement at Instagram and focus my attentions on more photographer related communities, like Flickr and 500px. I’ll still use Instagram to post images to Flickr and Twitter and Facebook because it’s a very simple process for many of the images I shoot on my iPhone. I may continue to post my Quote Photos too, but again, just to get them to the other service (my idea for them was to promote dialog about the shots and the quotes, but that hasn’t worked out like I hoped).
I’m sure this is going to disappoint some of you (10%?) Some will say I’m whining because I want more followers or to get popular pix. Well, I’m 47 and I’m caring less and less what people think about I’m doing.
I really thought IG would be a great place for me, but I can see its not a real fit. Maybe I’ll give it some serious thought again in the future if things change here, but for now, I think I’m just going to move away from here until the noise dies down a bit.
Thanks to you of the 10% for all the support.