“I’m getting bored of Instagram,” the confession slipped out of my mouth a couple of days ago before I could stop it. A slip of the tongue maybe, or perhaps a sign of something else. You see, I’ve started reading articles where people suggest what you post. I’ve started to read articles where people say things like ‘oh, you shouldn’t do that back pose thing in your photos‘, read articles where they suggest you do ‘this’ instead, make your caption that. Not only are these incredibly tiring to scroll through, but they’re kind of not helpful (sorry!). So dear content creators, please stop telling other creators what to post!
The majority of bloggers and photographers I know create really awesome content and are generally pretty cool people. And look, I kind of get it. You’re fed up of seeing ‘x’, ‘y’ or ‘z’ on your feed. You’d rather see ‘a’, ‘b’ or ‘c’ because you think it would be more interesting that way. But why did you start admiring that person’s work? Was it to agree with their every picture? Or was it because you found an interesting, beautiful, entertaining or even thought-provoking quality to their work?
So anyway, I was going to post a photo the other day and then I paused. “Wait. This one doesn’t fit in with the advice I’ve read,” I thought to myself. “I mean, it’s not Paris (which is pretty much 80% of my content), plus it’s not edited in a similar fashion to my other photos“. And then I had this WTF is wrong with me, facepalm moment.
1) It’s only Instagram and I should totally be studying right now (lol). And though I do use the platform to get traffic, and sponsorship etc. there are a lot more important things happening in the world right now. And yeah, it’s only Instagram! 2) Why was I listening to what other people thinking I should post? It’s my feed and I want to post stuff I think is actually interesting, not some cookie cut image that a million others have posted (although there’s nothing wrong with this either!). But yeah, then I posted the photo and that was that!
You are your own unique brand! Be you.
I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again. You are your own unique brand and as a creator, that’s what makes you special. It also means that you shouldn’t feel like you have to pigeonhole yourself into a niche just because you’ve read you should. (Although if a ‘niche’ works for you, then this is obviously fine too). When you create content, you’re not solving a simple maths equation, or reciting a Latin grammar table. When you create content, you’re making stuff that’s unique and only you and your experiences can come up with that kind of stuff.
Now, I know that there will be people out there who say “But when you post ‘niche’ content (stuff that’s always similar to each other), it’s the quickest way to grow your brand”. However, if I’m honest, I’m not sure that’s even true! Look at your favourite writers, bloggers, music producers, and photographers. Are they always producing the same content? Because I’m pretty sure that they’re probably always showcasing new stuff and changing things up a bit. Like, life would be kind of boring if we always did (and all produced) the same thing. No?
Stop Comparing yourself to others.
Theodore Roosevelt once said: ‘Comparison is the thief of joy‘ and he wasn’t at all wrong was he? In today’s age, with a constant stream of make-up filtered selfies and picture perfect locations (not to mention how it always appears to be sunny in social media pictures?), it’s hard to forget that social media is simply a highlights reel. A neverending stream of our the best moments of our lives. We rarely mention when a family tragedy happens, when we didn’t get that job we wanted, or simply when we’re having a bad day.
For too long, I’ve neglected to acknowledge that I’m part of the problem. Me, you and everyone else. All of us. For the most part, we’re constantly pushing out content, neglecting to tend to our own emotions and slowly becoming immune to the reality of social media being fake. So stop comparing yourself to others and work on your own goals and content. Stop comparing yourself to the girl who wrote an article telling you to stop ‘doing the back pose’ or ‘wearing too much makeup in your photos’. Go with what feels right for you and produce content you’re proud of because you made it.
Again, sorry to bang on about it, but be you! Besides, the world doesn’t need another ‘x’. In today’s world, we could always do with another fresh, forward thinking perspective.
Can we just be supportive of one another?
You’re meeting two friends. To one “Oh, you’re posting ‘cliché’ (I hate that word) photos!” To the other “Oh, you’re posting such unique photos!” “I love both styles” would be the appropriate response in this situation.
Like, can we please just be supportive of one another? We’re in this community together and it’s already tough enough to get people to take us seriously as ‘content creators’ without us all bashing one another! Constructive criticism is one thing, but simply telling someone to do something because you’re not personally a fan is not very helpful.
So for the love of all that is good (aka, travel) please stop telling other creators what to post!
-and listening to what others say…
Instead, I encourage you to pursue your passion. Whether it’s the 1st time you’ve picked up a camera or the 5 millionth then take the photos you’d like to see, not a snapshot because someone has suggested you do. Or, even worse, not take a photo because someone has told you ‘it won’t get you enough likes or whatever’.
It’s up to us to carry on producing ‘stuff’ that inspires us regardless of what other people say. So go on, start publishing stuff you think is pretty, interesting, unique, inspiring, thought-provoking. Or, you know, because you feel like it. Do it today. I dare you.