It's plain to see I would much rather be drawing than photographing and publishing them. On that subject, there has been quite a commotion in the artists' quarter of Instagram recently ...
While expressing much gratitude for what Instagram was able to offer her - for free - Congdon states that '... my work was the definition of "Instagram friendly" but now [Instagram] has become ... 'increasingly focused on video content, on reels, and on satisfying an audience who is addicted to full screen, immersive, mobile video entertainment.'
I haven't been on Instagram nearly as long or posted nearly as much as Lisa Congdon, but even I see the changes. A few years ago it began in my newsfeed. I follow people I genuinely feel connected to, and until the change I knew what time of day to expect to see their posts and was excited to see my newsfeed brimming with interest. Then Instagram (or Facebook which took over the platform) removed the chronology. Subsequent algorithms have become increasingly exclusive to the point where I only see adverts and possibly, if I'm lucky, a post from the last person whose posts I have Liked but I don't see anyone I follow any more.
*Lisa states: 'I get fewer views and comments than ever, less engagement & fewer and fewer new followers.' I'm not of the same magnitude as her, but I have seen the same effect on my own account.
Last Christmas I made some animations as greetings for my friends on Instagram. I do enjoy making short animations but it's time-consuming and laborious and I feel focusing on my work is a better use of my time. I did, however, get more engagement with them at a time when engagement had been low, even during Folktale Week which usually spins around like a big colourful carousel. Some time ago it was suggested to me that people would find videos of the progress of my drawings really interesting. I'm sorry, I really can't do that. I don't have the patience, equipment or technology for one thing, I'm not interested in such an interruption of my work-flow, and I don't feel comfortable with it.
Here's what Lisa has to say on the subject:
'But here's the thing: I have no interest in making reels and pointing to words typed on a screen, in learning animation solely for the purpose of creating movement in my art so that I will get more views. I have no interest in being an entertainer.'
I didn't see a single comment on the post which was not in total agtreement. Some lamented the addition of videos, having loved Instagram for its static, square images - exactly what I was drawn to years before I had the opportunity to join the platform - and suggest moving to Tiktok if you want videos. I whole-heartedly agree. The deluge of short, noisy videos and animated memes on Instagram only serves to encourage the flit-about, short attention-span audience. I always found my little corner of Instagram a quietly cultured place but it's slowly being invaded by unwanted, unasked for, tat.
Lisa goes on to state:
'I'm not here to post content that feels inauthentic just because it garners more views. I am 53 years old and by now I know what lights me up.'
Well said. In the comments section many express a wish that everybody would come back to blogging. Well, this is my blog and nobody reads it but that doesn't bother me. I keep my images flat and static by choice. I curate my own websites, this one and Binky McKee, and have complete control. I'm not at the mercy of some dodgy algorithm here. I will stay on Instagram, I can't bear Facebook or Twitter, and IG is still my platform of choice. I think I have a much-neglected Flickr, perhaps I'll start using that more in future.
*Lisa's post went viral, and she ended up gaining 4,000 new followers - brilliant!