I wanted to start this post with “if they can ban the President, they can ban you,” but it’s much more insidious than that.
For years I’ve been playing the cat-and-mouse game of social media’s rules – using all the right hashtags to spread my photography, coming up with catchy captions and titles for people to see my art. My Instagram has gathered over 1100 followers over 5 years only for my growth to completely plateau and my reach to flatline. It’s a little disheartening to see the hard work I put into capturing some photos only for 10% of my followers to actually see the post and sometimes only 2-3% engaging with the post. It’s not about the Likes or the Comments – it’s about people seeing my art. If my own friends aren’t seeing it showing up in their feed, why am I posting at all? So after trying hashtags, location tags, and engaging people through stories, I’m realizing how much of a waste of time it is. There’s no point to it anymore if the algorithms make it nearly impossible for your own followers to see your posts.
Why bother? Why waste all this time creating content only for it to get lost in the ether of a news feed? Art and photography are supposed to be timeless – not some blip under a thumb until the next cool thing catches your eye. Photography is supposed to be enjoyed on a big screen, on a large print – it’s supposed to make you ask questions and wonder how the shot was taken. It’s not supposed to be a 2 square inch disappearing fad on a tiny phone.
So after watching Instagram and other social media platforms ban or suspend friends of mine for having the wrong opinions, limit the reach my art should be having with my own followers, I realized it was time to leave. More importantly, once you realize that you don’t own your work on social media – you don’t own access to your own followers, you can’t say certain things, you don’t own who you can reach – the “social” aspect of it kind of disappears. You’re really just working and laboring on creating content so an algorithm can tease you into thinking that people *could* like your art. You’re wasting time scrolling through feeds so an advertising agency can get rich off your attention.
That’s not why I shoot photography. I’m not here to get rich or make someone else rich. I shoot photography to share my experiences and meet new people and make new friends. My camera is my journal and Instagram turned it into a chore. So, having said that, I’m leaving Instagram and Facebook permanently. I hope you do too. Your time is worth more than a click or a view on an ad. I’ll be posting on my website to share my travels and sending out emails to you if you want to subscribe to stay updated on my photography.