What success means to me
Is it possible that perhaps as a community we've lost our way a little? Algorithm tips, reminding people to turn on post notifications and guides to getting a bigger following all sounds like a rat race to me. It's time for a different perspective.
In fear of this post becoming too preachy, I'm going to try and keep this short and succinct. There’s a moment when things fall into place and everything you used to worry and obsess over, fades. Throughout this freelance/blogging/social media career path that many others and myself have created way for ourselves, a looming expectation online can weigh us down.
Each photo comes with the pressure of the number of likes and engagement it receives. Each video, its views. Each blog post, its hits. Internally, and quite naturally so, I’ve hung my success meter on high numbers equals good and low numbers equals bad. But in this mindset, success is something you cannot entirely take hold of and change. At times we are not to blame if something doesn’t perform as well as usual. So many factors can play a part in this ever-changing space where we feel inferior to Instagram’s algorithm.
I see people chase one number to the next, only to then aim for another as soon as they reach their big target. I’m not saying that there’s no value in the size of your audience, but to go from number to number you’ll never be satisfied in where you are right now. It’s important to be happy with what you have and focus on the now.
More recently my attitudes on what I do and how I do it have changed. All of the above has become irrelevant to me when thinking of success. Success for me isn’t a numbers game no more, it’s a creative one.
My values have changed and now I see success as creative development and pushing my abilities as a photographer and writer. This year I’m playing around with new things and I feel like I’ve regained the reins. It has reinvigorated my enjoyment for not only Instagram, but more importantly, my blog.
I am able to directly change how I create and explore different ways of sharing content that puts the control back into my hands and away from numbers that mean nothing. Honestly, there is no reason to get hooked up on numbers. If you take an incredible photo or share something you’re proud of, that’s success. The reason you share it is because you see something in the piece that you’ve created to deem it worthy of sharing. Don’t let a platform and an algorithm change that. A photo or video might not 'perform' as well because it’s something the algorithm doesn’t recognise and therefore doesn’t receive the reach it deserves, but don’t let that discredit you.
We don’t take photos with a number in the back of our heads, we take them because we enjoy them and that should always be the why. If you try to satisfy an algorithm you may find that sometimes your own levels of fulfilment wain.
This freedom has become so refreshing. I’ve begun to broaden what I watch, listen and read in the hope it triggers something I wouldn’t have tried before because it doesn’t perform well. I could go on, but simply put, life is more rewarding and enjoyable when you create for yourself.jbicon