Don’t read the comments

Well not yet anyway.

I consume a lot of YouTube and social media content, most of which comes with comments. Something I’ve learnt is that reading the comments before watching the content can totally skew your view.

You might not even realise that your opinion is not your own but simply a mix of the other peoples opinions you’ve just read.

I think it’s important to be able to watch something or look at something and form an opinion about it without knowing what other people think first.

7 types of people to unfollow on Instagram

I regularly update who I follow on Instagram. I do this because I understand that even if it is only in a small way, who I follow impacts me. Social media can have you invested in the lives of strangers, influence you to waste money on things you don’t really want and serve as an unhelpful comparison to judge your life against.

Here are some ideas for who you might want to unfollow on Instagram:

People you don’t know

Following people you’ve never met can lead to learning or even friendship. However it can also result in you being over invested in total strangers. You wonder if something is wrong when they don’t post for a day and keep up with their life with great eagerness but perhaps that time could be better spent doing something else.

People you don’t personally interact with

If you don’t watch their stories and you don’t like or comment on their posts then maybe you don’t need to be following them?

People that constantly want to sell you something

I recently unfollowed a bunch of fashion/lifestyle content creators. I enjoy their content but everyday I was being recommended this amazing product that was equally as good as the one they recommend the day before. And I understand that it’s part of how they make a living, I just realised it wasn’t something I wanted to see so often.

People whose content you don’t find interesting

Sometimes I come across an account that I like the images of and decide to follow. But a few months later if I’m not interested in the content or interacting with it then there’s no keep following the person.

People who make you feel bad

This may be people with more money than you, people that constantly post upsetting content or who post things you can’t afford to buy and places you can’t afford to go. They might not necessarily make you feel bad but if the people you follow don’t make you feel good, then what’s the point? Obviously there is a case for learning to not be impacted by things but the chances are whatever is on social media isn’t important enough to be the thing that teaches you that lesson.

People whose lives you’re not interested in keeping up with

Maybe there is a person you went to school with but haven’t spoken to in 5-10 years. You probably don’t interact with what they post and you have no intentions of rekindling any sort of relationship with them. Keeping up with their life is totally unnecessary because you don’t actually care.

People you don’t agree with

As much as it is good to take in views or opinions that differ from your own, you don’t need to do that on Instagram or social media in general, especially when it’s coming from strangers. You can have conversations in person, watch shows, listen to podcasts or read articles to hear other peoples views.

None of it matters as much you think it does

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are all so heavily integrated into our daily lives that to be without them (even just for a few hours) is difficult.

Suddenly, you’re having to figure out what to do with your time instead of spending it scrolling.

Conversations that have been going for days or even weeks have now come to a standstill but you still have so much to say.

And now, you have no idea what the the people you are connected to online are doing, eating or wearing.

Somehow all of this stuff seems important yet at the same time, when those 3 apps went down on Monday 4th October 2021 you also realised that none of matters as much as you often think it does.

3 small ways to change the way you use social media

Social media plays a significant role in many peoples lives. However, when used in certain ways it can come with negative implications such as wasting time, unnecessary feelings of jealousy and distracting you from what you really care about.

Here are 3 small ways to avoid or at least reduce those negative implications whilst still using social media:

Set a timer for how much you can use it
It could be 1 hour a day or it could be 15 minutes. If your aim is to regain more time try and figure out how much time you spend on the app before it begins to take you away from things you’d be better off doing.

Regularly update who you follow
Every few months I update who I’m following and unfollow the accounts I’m no longer interested in seeing. It could be a content creator who shares amazing photos but is always trying to sell me something, someone I went to school with 10+ years ago who I haven’t spoken to since and rarely interact with or someone I came across a few months ago whose images don’t interest me as much as I thought they would.

Use your phone to post and your desktop to browse and interact
I’ve found that I spend much less time browsing on Instagram and twitter when I’m on my laptop compared to my phone. And so if you’re able to, try just using your phone for posting and do everything else from the big screen.

The content and the audience

I recently read an article about how much various influencers get paid. The majority of the people were twenty something but the numbers of followers ranged from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand.

What I’ve found to be interesting is that when paying an influencer to create content you’re paying for 2 things: the content and the audience.

In my opinion, even if you don’t have a high following the money you get paid to create content should make sense. If you’re spending hours to come up with a concept, style the shoot, take the photos and edit them, what you earn should sufficiently compensate that plus more for your audience.

And with that in mind it makes it a little bit easier to figure out how much you should ask for and what to say no to.

Other peoples numbers

Instagram now allows you to turn off the numbers (likes and views) on other people’s posts. I didn’t think much of it until I turned the likes back on.

I found that with the numbers off, I was solely focused on the content. However, with the numbers on, they were the first thing I looked at.

It’s interesting to see how many likes and views the videos and photos get. But, I think it’s easy to get distracted by other peoples numbers instead of just enjoying the content.

What do Instagram and mobile phones have in common?

They both began with having a single use but overtime have become multi-functional.

Those of us with smart phones may find that we no longer have use for: mp3/4 players, cameras, torches, home telephones, address books, calendars, calling cards for overseas calls, photo albums or even a laptop.

Instagram has done the same but instead with other platforms. It hasn’t made them obsolete but it has given them a rival and in some cases has become more dominant.

Instagram offers an alternative to:
Snapchat with insta-stories
YouTube with IGTV
Affiliate links on blog posts with the swipe up feature.
Blog posts with guides (but even just a feed carousel and a long caption is pretty similar to a blog post)
TikTok with Reels

Instagram is no longer just a photo sharing app in the same way that mobile phones are no longer just for making calls.

Why Instagram guides didn’t stick?

Around six months ago I wrote a post called ‘Could Instagram guides replace blogging?‘. It’s become one of my most popular posts.

At the time I expected guides would become a more popular feature. But looking through some of the accounts I follow, people either made 1 when the feature was introduced or didn’t make any at all.

I think the reason for this is that guides doesn’t actually add much that isn’t already there.

Despite a guide sharing similarities with blog posts, I think that perhaps it was too much like a blog for those that prefer putting out images and videos and not enough like a blog for those that still participate in the more traditional style of blogging.

It’s also worth noting that Instagram has already played it’s contribution in the decline of blogs.

I think guides is an example of a feature that just didn’t take off as much as the others did.

And I don’t think it’s a bad thing, it’s just the way it goes sometimes.

The pros and cons of an Instagram portfolio

Some thoughts I had whilst thinking about where to share my photos in the future.

I’m not a photographer but over the past couple of years my interest in prop styling/ product photography has grown and I really enjoy taking photos. I’ve thought about creating a portfolio website to share my work but then I found myself wondering if it was even necessary. The intention would be to also share on Instagram however, I started to think that perhaps just having Instagram would be enough.

Pros

Used by over 1 billion

Your work has the potential to reach so many people because Instagram is such a popular app. On the other hand your website may be much harder to find.

Create a community of fellow creatives

You’re likely to find through the use of hashtags a community of fellow creatives. Not just people that take photos but people in your city, peopke you can learn from, people you can teach and people you can grow with.

Directly interact with your audience

The people viewing, liking and commenting on your work may just be random people that think your photos are interesting. However, they could also be potential clients. But you also have the chance to interact with your audience and take them on a journey with you.

Cons

Image quality

Sometimes the images you post to your Instagram feed are of a reduced quality when compared to if they were uploaded to a site

Limited flexibility on how you can present

Compared to a website Instagram offers little flexibility. There are some things you can do to present images differently such as placing them on a white square that you post to your feed. But overall everything on Instagram is fairly uniform.

Getting distracted

Instagram comes with many distractions. As much as it allows you to interact with fellow creatives and an audience who may become potential clients, you can also end up wasting a lot of time. From getting distracted by the number of likes and followers to replying to comments and spending hours scrolling. In contrast when updating an online portfolio you won’t have notifications and messages to distract you.


I also think having a website can make a person appear more trustworthy, legitimate and professional. Anyone can have an Instagram account but taking the time to create a website isn’t something everyone would do. As someone who enjoys having their own personal space to share work online, the idea of only having an Instagram portfolio isn’t particularly appealing.

I think a website is the perfect base or foundation for your work, to share a bit about yourself, provide contact info and also what work people can pay you for. On the flipside Instagram is great for a more causal approach such as chatting with followers, sharing behind the scenes and answering questions.

The future of Clubhouse

I thought it would be fun to think about what Clubhouse will look like in the future. These are simply ideas rather than what I think should or shouldn’t happen. This post has been in the drafts for a few months and so some of these ideas may have already been implemented or been announced as future updates.

Paying the host

Paying to enter a room in the same way that we pay to enter clubs or events is something I consider likely to happen. It could be paying a set amount but it could also be more of a tipping feature where the room is free but tha audience are able to tip if they’ve enjoyed the room.

It would be interesting to see who uses the feature. I definitely think celebrities and influencers would be critisiced for using it because it could be seen as taking advantage particulary if they don’t have much to offer in terms of the quality of what is being spoken about. If clubhouse took a fee per payment, it could become a way for the app to generate money.

A payment feature was announced in April 2021 and creators will get 100% of the earnings.

Room membership

Similarly to the above, I think clubhouse could introduce some sort of membership for a room. This could involve a payment of X amount per month for X months. This could be used for online communities where the person leading gives monthly talks or holds weekly group discussions. It could be used by groups already existing outside of the app as an alternative to Zoom or Teams.

Recording rooms

I think there’s a possibility of being able to to record the audio within the app but I think that this would take away from the appeal and exclusivity. If you can just listen to it later then why would you bother to show up live? I can see there being issues with this such as less people showing up live or people taking the recording and posting it on YouTube.

Some other ideas for this feature would be restrictions on how long you can record the conversation and people having to pay to access the audio. This could be a one off payment per file or implemented into the premium version of the app that requires a monthly payment.

More visuals

Another idea is to add more visual aspects to the app. This could be by having more pictures or allowing for video content. However, I think there is a risk that this would weaken the USP of the app because audio only was innovative and we already have Instagram for visual content.

Direct Messaging

Similar to what is already available on Instagram, Twitter and most other social media. Implementing a direct messaging feature is great way to increase the use of an app, if users use it to communicate with people they follow. Due to the type of app that clubhouse is I think the majority of people use it to listen to people that they don’t personally know so a messaging feature may be of little value. In contrast, for social media such as Twitter or Instagram where people can have private accounts and only follow family and friends direct messaging is considered useful.

Increase accessibility

Lastly allowing more people to use the app. One of the main ways is extending the app to android users which finally happened a few days ago. Another way is to no longer have the app be invite only. I think this was useful when the app was being portrayed as exclusive but if the creators want to grow the app, the invite only aspect doesn’t really help with that. Although I think there are likely to be other reasons to keep that aspect such as collecting the data of how the users are connected

On a different note but still on the topic of accessibility, another feature could be to have audio captions to make it usable for those with hearing impairments. However, I think this could come with some issues if people speak over each other or if people don’t speak clearly the captions may be highly inaccurate which would reduce the experience. On the flipside, Clubhouse app could be considered as accessible to those with visual impairments as they don’t miss out on any imagery like they would on a YouTube video, IGTV or Instagram live.