It’s Not about the Likes

The other day I read an interesting caption on Instagram. This person wrote about how they had nothing new to share. Even though their brain was full of ideas, they didn’t know whether to capture an image or a video (exclusively for Instagram, please note), and that the whole situation led them to creating nothing. They weren’t against videos except that they take so much time and planning that it just doesn’t happen. The post gained thousands and thousands of likes and hundreds of comments. Most people agreed.

My journey to instagram started over ten years ago with my first blog. I was in love with blogging .. writing, taking photos, and engaging with other bloggers. Instagram was NOT the focus .. until it was.

Eventually I did get caught up in the IG game: taking photos, posting, and waiting for the likes and follows. Slowly and insidiously Instagram became THE focus. Every like and every follow gave me a little shot of that feel-good hormone, dopamine. If an image did great, I created more of the same. If an image didn’t do well, I changed my work to please Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, it was a blast! It was inspiring and energizing. I created so much content and honed my photography skills. Because of Instagram, I have an enormous library of images to use .. kind of like my own private stock photo site. But my photos lived only on Instagram.

Insta Image July 2019

This was an image I created exclusively for posting on Instagram in 2019. It’s a selection of beautiful blooms from my flower subscription with Goodland Farms. It was enormously successful on Instagram but has since lingered unseen on my hard drive for years .. it had it’s 15 minutes of fame and it was over .. I barely looked at it again .. until now.

Fast forward to when Instagram announced it was no longer a photo sharing site. My engagement dropped dramatically, and I ended up not picking up a camera for months. Perhaps I just needed a little break anyway. When I did start posting again, it was lovely the way my IG friends welcomed me back .. it was quite touching really, and very heartening.

One morning I got up and I didn’t launch Instagram. Instead I went straight to my website and started tweaking. Hours passed and I felt something in me shift .. if you want to read about what happened, check out my post For the Love of Still Life Photography.

A lot has changed since even that morning. I’ve completely revamped my site for the second time in four months! New host, new theme, new focus. And although I’m not abandoning Instagram any time soon, here I post for the love of posting .. it’s not about the likes.

your art is not about how many people like your work, your art is about if your heart likes your work, if your soul likes your work, it’s about how honest you are with yourself

Rupi Kaur
Milk and Honey

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16 Comments

  1. Barb your post is so on target!! I have not really been taking many photos lately, for my own reasons. With less photo taking has come less IG time spend too. It’s been a welcomed break. I found myself looking for the “likes” and being very upset when they didn’t come as I had hoped. Seeing others get more likes, while not getting many is also upsetting. Sometimes we just need to reevaluate what is important to our own sanity and happiness. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, they truly hit home.

    1. Hi Debra, first up, thank you for stopping by and reading my post (I really appreciate it). I’ve noticed that lately you haven’t been posting as much (I hope all is well). Instagram has gone bonkers I think .. I’ve seen posts from people with less that 5,000 followers that have over 100,000 likes!! I kid you not! so what’s with that? I have no answer. But what I do think is that we need to keep creating .. whether its a photo or a blog post. xo

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Barb. I’m still not interested in maintaining my website. Lol! One of these days perhaps.
    Always love your photos and you already know I love your backgrounds.

    1. Hi Bonnie .. thank you for stopping by and for your support (always!) You are so incredibly talented I think your art must give you such satisfaction. And your large family is around you and those “little hands” .. well, what more could you want xo

  3. I feel this so much! I often feel frozen with Instagram and the pressure to post associated with it, so I just stop sharing. But as you know I feel very different about sharing on my website…it’s the challenge and the creative outlet it provides for me that I love. I’m so happy to see you finding that once again on your website…you have so many beautiful images and words to share, and this is a perfect place to do that! xo

    1. Hi Jo! thank you for stopping by (it makes me happy 🙂 and yes, we’ve shared our thoughts on insta .. good and bad. I really do feel energized by working on my site .. it literally gets me out of bed in the morning! and thank you for your kind words on my photography xo

  4. Oh Barb. Your post is always so insightful. Your pictures beautiful 🥰 I only recently started back up on IG, using it as a means for storage and keeping record of what I have created LOL. Exactly to your point, do it for me. Thank you for such honest writing and clarifying thoughts.

    1. Hi Ginny, thank you for stopping by and commenting (it means a lot) and for your kind words. I think IG is still a great place to touch base with people, share our work, and keep a record – you can’t beat it for ease of posting. I just kinda got discouraged with the changes but if that has turned my attention to my site and inspired me .. that’s a good thing xo

  5. Barb I can totally relate to everything you’ve shared. The prioritizing of video by IG now has really caused me to question my presence there. And I really loathe the idea of having to do something I don’t enjoy at all just to stay relevant. It just feels icky and is not how I operate in any other aspect of my life. Maybe it’s time to give a little more love to my blog. ❤️

    1. oh wow Kelly .. yes to all you said .. I loathe the idea of jumping through hoops for Instagram anymore .. icky is the word!! I’ll be sure to visit your blog as often as possible. Thank your stopping by and taking the time to comment xo

  6. Barb,
    Thank you for continuing to share your journey with us. I know creating and sharing helps me continue to share and create. Your new website is beautiful and you know how much I love your backgrounds. Thank you again, Ann xxx

  7. So true, Barb. It was upsetting when Instagram started prioritizing video (why do they want to be TikTok?!!), and my likes dropped, though they’d been declining for awhile. I don’t post as often and am currently involved in other projects that don’t involve the camera. I still enjoy looking at IG for inspiration and to connect with my friends and interests (various topics), but I really don’t like the way it tries to manipulate me! I’ve always loved your work, so please keep sharing.

    1. Hi Carolyn, yes, I’m having a hard time with reels etc. and not sure I’ll ever make them (actually I am kinda sure I never will 😉 but being able to show up on my site and blog has been such a game-changer for me as I can be as creative and open as I want to be. Maybe not many people will see me here, but it’s definitely a very satisfying creative outlet! thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment, I truly appreciate it.

  8. Hi Barb, this resonates with me so much. I have so much to thank Instagram for and whilst I still love creating with flowers and capturing it all on camera, my love of Instagram has definitely wained. I don’t have the time (don’t want to make the time) or inclination to create video content. I just don’t want to be on my phone all the time to keep the algorithm happy either. Thank you for sharing this post and your website looks beautiful. xo

    1. Hi Janne, I so appreciate you stopping by and commenting. It’s nice to know I’m not alone here. I adore your photography and look forward to your posts (as do many others!). I just can’t get into videos and reels either .. although I do enjoy the Stories feature, possibly because I can choose to watch (or not).

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