There. I got your attention. It seems as though anything relating to Instagram and any tips or suggestions on how to grow and gain traffic on the platform is a BIG topic right now. That stupid algorithm, the confusing hashtags, the decision you must make on how to create a cohesive feed.. Guys, there are so many areas of Instagram that just seem to be taking over our lives - mine included!
When I first joined Instagram in 2014, I dabbled with a personal account but just didn’t understand “how” to use it. I also opened my crochet account (@the.hook.nook) that year but didn’t actually hit 6K until September 2015. I know that’s a good amount of growth in a year for some, but I feel like it’s so much easier to grow these days. I know some people that have gained 15K+ in their first year simply because they knew how to “play the game”. It’s discouraging, right?! I mean, you do your best, you work so hard but then you look at your ‘likes’ and followers and then immediately question everything you’re doing. “No one even cares about this photo, I’m such a failure. So-and-so is far better at this than me. I should just quit before I embarrass myself even more.”
STOP IT RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND.
Do you really think that? Do you truly feel like you aren’t worth it because of these silly numbers?! Well, I sure have. And still do from time-to-time. It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to that person over there (did you see how many likes they got?! Oh, and @somebigcompany featured the photo also!!) and creating this negative and discouraging mindset about yourself simply because of social media. I find myself pausing before posting on my feed or in my stories and asking myself, “Will people like this? Are they going to unfollow me because of this? Maybe I shouldn’t post this because it could be offensive to someone.”
We need to stop this. Right now.
Since when have we let the internet dictate our self worth? Sure, I’ve found success on Instagram - and it’s been entirely unintentional. Yes, I’ve done giveaways, I’ve collaborated with many companies and brands, and I use hashtags daily. I’ve played those games. But NEVER in a million years would I have ever expected or even aimed for what I’ve found. I started Instagram as a way to post my finished pieces, to share what I was working on, showcase my yarn stash, everything that everyone else was doing. To go from simply posting a photo of someone’s order to working with big names was never my end goal. I just wanted to make stuff and earn a little bit of income on the side to pay for more yarn! Because of social media and these silly numbers, it’s also created waves in how I’m viewed. I’ve had people share that I discourage them from trying crochet because they don't think they could ever be as “good” as I am, or that I “deserve” the success I have found, and even have had comments that my life is perfect and they want to be me.
This hurts my heart so bad.
These stupid numbers have created an unrealistic and phony image about everyone. Never ever think that you’re only as amazing as your follower count or amount of likes per photo. Never ever think that just because someone has a lot of numbers that they are anymore special than you are. You are SO special. Yes, you. So what if @thisbigname landed a collaboration with @thatevenbiggername. Your collaboration hasn’t happened yet because we are all still waiting to know you, to hear your voice.
I recently listened to a podcast on the Our Maker Life blog featuring Anja from Peony and Thyme. Not only did I totally relate to so many things both her and Jewell (founder of Our Maker Life and North Knits) were chatting about, but something Anja said really stuck out to me. She had mentioned how she had heard a really great perspective - that each of us are the only ones with our own voice. We can try and pretend to be like @thecoolestpersononinstagram only to find that we don’t love what we’re doing, we are getting burnt out, we aren’t inspired and we definitely aren’t having fun anymore. This is entirely because we aren’t being a genuine reflection of ourselves.
Stop. Let’s think about this again.
Remember when you joined Instagram and were so excited to show off what you were making?! Remember when you were so proud of yourself for finishing that sweater finally or that time you FINALLY got your hands on some Madeline Tosh or Malabrigo yarn and couldn’t wait to post a photo of your new babies? Go back to that. Go back to being happy, to being excited. Let go of the numbers and use Instagram as if nobody is watching you. You want to put a video of you lip-synching to a song you’re sure will offend others? Do it - I did it the other day!
Make social media fun again. Use YOUR voice and YOUR interests to attract your people while also using the same voice to repel the ones that aren’t your people. Let go of self-made requirements and expectations and hone in on what truly inspires you and makes you happy. It’s YOUR life and YOUR craft. Don’t let someone make you think that it’s not special or it’s not “good”. You are amazing, you always have been. Now it’s time to accept and love your quirkiness and interest in certain vulgar songs and express it with pride online. Go post a photo of that super delicious meal you had the other day but weren’t sure if it would “fit” your aesthetic. Be you. No one else knows how to do that.
Dude, you’re so freaking awesome. I can’t say that enough. Now I want to see just how awesome you are, without the bits and pieces of trying to be someone else. Are you willing to show me? Am I willing to show you? Yes. I absolutely am and I’m really, really hoping you can show me, too.
Besides, do we really want our sons and daughters basing their self worth from this garbage? No. Be a role model and start now by showing your children that it’s ok to be you, no matter what that looks like.