Opening Up About My Recent Anxiety
Yesterday was one of those days where IG just decides no one wants to see my posts. The immediate urge is to delete the posts because they didn’t do well, but I always hate reposting things just because the amount of likes doesn’t look as good. Especially when I have other great content I want to share.
I think the hard thing people still need to realize is that IG decides when and to who it shows our posts, and we can’t do much about that. The algorithm doesn’t have the ability to tell if it’s good content, and it doesn’t decide on what to show with any sort of human feeling.
Yesterday I had a little bit of a breakdown, telling Josh how I feel so much pressure with my job these days. From having to constantly please the algorithm, post what I think my followers want to see, be ever responsive on IG (which I do enjoy but it takes a lot of time), please my clients and often bend over backward for their demands while they never show the same respect back, and appeal to new clients along the way. And then, after all that, I get clients demanding more ROI (return on investment). How do I get them more sales? How do I prove that I offer value? This is where I break.
Where is the time to create, the heart to fulfill inspiration, the will to do it every day? Where I was once just an artist creating and sharing my world, now I am a slave.
This is where I break. Somehow the Influencer industry has moved away from what it started as- getting brands in front of more people’s eyes. Brand awareness, and representation. Now I’m also responsible for getting them sales, or else I’m not good enough to work with.
And I realized this- I can’t force people to like someone’s brand or product. I can’t guarantee any percent of sales. A brand chooses what they try to sell, wether or not it’s something people will want. And when they choose to work with me, I do my job by putting it out there before my audience, with my own unique work. But I can’t convince people to like/want said product. I can’t fill heads with lies to make profit for someone else. At least, I can’t morally do that.
The pressure on me to be all things and provide profit for companies has become overwhelming to live with. Each new day comes with it’s own new stresses and I never feel like I can get off this hamster wheel. And meanwhile, all my work becomes less and less valued by the companies out there because engagement and turnover expectations are so high.
But when I have nothing left to say, when I’ve cried all day and asked the universe why I do so much and receive so little… I finally remember my value is not determined by an algorithm, or the opinions of countless brands looking to take advantage. My work is not only as good as the amount of likes it is given. GIVEN! I don’t GET likes anymore. Instagram bestows them on us like reward points. That’s much different than GETTING the likes we have already earned from years of gathering interested followers. But the problem with this reward system is… there is NO SYSTEM!
No rules for how to play the game, no explanation for why we are punished by the algorithm. One day a post does well, but that doesn’t count towards the next day. The next day it’s back to zero, and hoping the post does well. So it’s an endless cycle of trying to please a cold, feelingless algorithm that makes no sense. And we spend our days in misery, asking why we aren’t good enough, why we can’t get more work, why we are so burdened with stress… because the system is broken and nothing is fair. One can’t even earn success on this platform anymore.
So how can a system like this go on, if it’s so broken? We see the clues of its collapse almost every day, with every weird and out there change IG tries to make. And next, they are taking away likes altogether! The thing that made this app what it is!
They say “You don’t get enough story views for us to work with you” “You’re not getting as many likes as other influencers of your size” “Your insights aren’t showing enough engagement” …… all things that change weekly, and are completely out of my control. And why do shifting numbers raise or lower my value? When I’ve always been here, doing what I always do- I am constant. So I have to realize IT’S NOT ME. I’m not the one failing. I’m not the one losing value. My work is as good as it ever was, if not BETTER than it was years ago before the algorithm.
I have to keep telling myself
"It's not me, it's them"
So if it’s not me, then the problem is them. Them: Instagram, Facebook, the algorithm, all the companies always wanting more more more. The algorithm is here because they don’t want us to be self-sustainable and profit. They want us to rely on them, they want us to fail so we pay them for success. So maybe the problem isn’t with us, the users and content creators. Even though they sure like to blame us for the toxic ways of this platform.
The problem is with them- the moguls who only want to turn a profit from us. They are monsters, and they created a beast. And I no longer want to carry the weight of this toxic place, or the pressure that it forces onto me. So what is to be done? What can I do to shed this weight on my shoulders? What can we all do?
I see so many girls striving to be part of this industry, but I am being honest when I say it, it’s a dying industry. It’s been dying since the algorithm. And it’s toxic. The dream is an illusion. There is no more natural growth, or sustainability. Even when you have found some level of success, IG is constantly taking it away from you. So what even is the point? But I know most girls won’t believe me, the allure of it all is too strong to resist. And so the app goes on, counting on those people who they can still fool. And causing more people to deal with the anxiety it results in.