drink coffee. read books. be happy.

Dear Instagram…

Dear Instagram…

What a journey it has been. I figured we’ve been together long enough to start asking the tough questions. Believe me I have a few. But first let me reflect on our relationship. What began as a simple way to share photos of my life, selfies, my pets, the food I was eating, the things I was doing, morphed into a niche. Not one I carved on my own but one I fell into. Still, it was so simple. Take pictures of books and post them for the world to see. This allowed me to virtually meet other readers I would go on to become friends with, exchange gifts with, talk about books with, and generally look forward to their square pictures of books with maybe a life update or two via the caption.

Somehow as time went on the number of followers became important. Filters, props, witty captions, themes, and the overall aesthetic trumped everything that was once so simple. Don’t get me wrong I have chosen to evolve. Over the years my themes have changed, my filters and editing have changed, but my goal to connect with other readers and make friends has never changed.

You have changed too. You’ve had bug fixes and performance improvements. You’ve offered us the ability to broadcast live videos, share multiple pictures in one post, save posts, edit posts, and so much more. But now that I have reached a mini milestone I have a few questions to ask. Can you help me out?

How can I have 1K+ followers but typically get less than 100 likes per photo? Usually around 50ish?

As you can see from the photo above (which got 191 likes) I usually take my pictures on my phone and they aren’t as crisp as they could be. But I love this photo because is simple. I was sitting in my apartment on my new chaise reading a book. I didn’t stage this photo or grab a bunch of props I just said hey I want to share that I am about to start this book.

This photo on the other hand I purposely staged for Valentine’s Day. I had the chocolates conveniently wrapped in red foil, the red roses and some red books spines. What could be better than that? Apparently the previous photo. Still this photo earned 151 likes.

This photo got 117 likes and I don’t even like it much myself honestly. So why did so many others?

This picture took me 2 seconds to take. The only reason it got so many likes is because I used the hashtag #harrypotter. I thought it was clever. Not necessarily deserving of the 103 likes it received.

Yellow is the perceived color of sunshine. It is associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy. – MARCIA MOSES, Understanding Color

Another purposeful picture using that oh so magical yellow color to pull this picture together. Yellow book spines and some lemon biscotti (which honestly were not that yummy). Still 119 likes – not bad.

At the beginning of April (April 2nd if you must know) I began my newest theme. I think I will stick with it for awhile. It’s a combination of consistent background, 3 similar photos on each row (that magically align on Tuesdays), and the same VSCO filter. After a bit more than one month and reaching 1K I decided what the heck I am cleaning this place out. I deleted all of my old Instagram pictures. As of writing this I only have 38 posts. I wasn’t sad to delete any of the pictures. The only sadness I experienced was seeing the pitiful number of pictures that got over 100 likes (32 photos in the lifetime of my account).

I have read all of the Instagram hack posts, watched all the tips and tricks videos. What’s the real secret to Instagram success? I follow accounts with thousands of followers who get thousands of likes and my photos are just as good as theirs. I use the same hashtags, I post consistently, I interact. So what gives?

We’ve come a long way Instagram but it’s time to take this relationship to the next level. I just need to know how to do that so I am asking for your help.



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