Lately the numbers on my Instagram reels have just tanked. And if I can be honest, it doesn’t feel great.
I assume there is some algorithm shenanigans going on. Which is fine, it’s their platform — that’s how they make their money. I’m more interested in unpacking how all of this feels as an online creator and a human being.
In the old days (e.g. before 2010), I would post blogs, videos, and photo galleries to my own websites knowing that they had an audience of maybe a dozen people, at best. And I was happy with that.
Every once in awhile I would post a “hit” and it would get taken up by one of the major online news sites or blog aggregators. And for a day or so I would feel like a special flower, awash in user comments and re-shares of my stuff. And then I would happily go back to obscurity.
But now that I’m mostly posting on Instagram and Facebook, and thus my “reach” is tied to their algorithms and the whims of the audiences on those platforms.
To be completely transparent, I’ve enjoyed the attention. It can feel so great to post a silly video of yourself working on a skate move in the park and then see hundreds or thousands of strangers view, like and comment on it. The first time a prominent skate influencer commented on one of my videos I floated on air all day.
Which is how they get you.
Social media today is designed to make you feel like you always need MORE. More likes, more views, more followers, more “engagement.” But that’s a Sisyphean quest that can never be fulfilled.
Today I’m working on being content just being authentically me and sharing my own journey with anyone who cares. Quakers talk about “letting your light shine.” Because there is that of God in every person. Social media is just one more avenue for sharing your divine light with the world.
Instead of feeling anxious that not “enough” people see my content, I’m grateful for anyone who finds some value in what I’m putting out there. If it makes someone smile, or gives a moment of comfort, or triggers a new train of thought, or opens someone up to a personal insight, then that is AMAZING. Mission accomplished.
So my message to you today is this: you are an influencer. You influence everyone around you. With a kind word, a compliment, a gracious act, a piece art that you share, actively listening, elevating a voice that needs to be heard. All of that influences the people around you.
Let your light shine.