The Vibe Is Off: What is going on with Instagram?

Updated: Jun 7, 2021

An image of a Macbook laptop and an iPhone placed next to one another, with a small bouquet of pink sunflowers sitting in-between the two.

Recently we’ve noticed that something has been up with Instagram. Engagement has been low, the platform seems quiet, and people appear to be overall less interested. Honestly, it feels like Instagram is kinda.... dead.

And we know we aren’t the only ones who feel this way. We’ve polled our audience in our Instagram stories, talked to others on different platforms, and we have discussed it between ourselves. And what we found is that we aren’t the only ones who have noticed these changes. Engagement has been down throughout the platform and as we said, people seem less interested + less active.

And to be honest, after pondering over this topic for a while, asking others, and having ongoing conversations between the two of us, it makes perfect sense.

OK so hear us out....

It’s a panini we’re talking about here:

First of all, we've all been living through a global pandemic. And we're tired. There's so much that has happened within the past year, and we've all been confined to our houses. And in some ways, this has been an amazing experience, for instance, many of us have learned a little bit more about ourselves, our friends, family, and society in general. We’ve become adaptable and more open to change (even if it was forced), creativity has sparked, and the small biz/entrepreneur community has been growing.

However, in other ways, this pandemic has had a severe impact on our mental health. A lot of us are struggling, as we should be. Anxiety and suicide levels have increased and so has the sense of feeling lonely.

And due to this, people have turned to social media platforms. But for some reason, it appears to us that Instagram hasn’t been the platform to thrive during this pandemic.

When you think about it, the introduction of Clubhouse could not have come at a more ideal time. Now more than ever do people want to feel connected to others, and Clubhouse allows for just that.

And then there’s TikTok, which is a whole other world. But what started off as a platform that seemed to be known only for “teeny-boppers” doing TikTok dances, has exploded into a platform that provides a sense of community and inclusion for so many people. Creators are currently thriving on this platform and brands and businesses are starting to take notice. And this also makes perfect sense. During this pandemic, as many of us were locked down and in quarantine, we have been forced to turn to our phones and screens for education, information and entertainment.

And now more than ever, people want to consume entertaining forms of content -- that being video content. And this is exactly what TikTok provides.

Mental health matters:

We believe that possibly as a result of this pandemic, people are starting to take care of themselves and put their mental health as a priority on their to-do lists. And although we know that there is not enough awareness of the correlation between mental health and social media, nor is this topic discussed nearly enough; what this does mean is that people are beginning to take their mental health seriously in new ways including, working out at home, meditating, reading, journaling, and limiting their screen time on social media.

It’s starting to feel less genuine:

An image of a screenshot the main feed of @ourmindfulmarketing's profile on Instagram.

Finally, it feels like Instagram is trying so hard to remain relevant that it is becoming almost too inauthentic (as if it weren’t already before).

Instagram truly is an amazing platform that allows for incredible opportunities. Meeting new people, networking, being able to create connections and build relationships with people from all over the world must be one of the coolest things about Instagram, and any social media platform for that matter.

However, what started off as a fun and exciting platform to share photos and snippets of our lives quickly turned into Creators and Influencers trying to “one-up” each other. The platform turned into everyone doing it for the “clout” or as we all know the infamous saying, “do it for the ‘gram.” And we’re not here shaming anyone because of it, I mean hey, we are also guilty of this trend – go check out our personal IG pages and see for yourself.

However, this culture is toxic and honestly, no one is here for it anymore. The new thing is to be authentic and show up as yourself. It’s easy to hide who you really are behind some pretty photo and on the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s difficult to fake being your true self when you show up on camera/video.

Which is why we believe that TikTok is doing so well, and Instagram is somewhat struggling.

As Instagram continues to change and update their platform (or just continue to steal ideas from other platforms in order to keep up – let’s be honest, IG Stories came from SnapChat and Reels came from TikTok), Creators on Instagram are struggling to figure out how to create content to keep their audiences interested and entertained.

For instance, let’s use travel Influencers as our example. For a long time, travel Influencers were able to travel to the most amazing tourist attractions and take beautiful photos in gorgeous attire and then post it to Instagram and get thousands of likes, comments and followers. However, with the introduction of Reels, this simply isn’t going to cut it anymore. People are bored. And a pretty picture on your feed isn’t entertaining to us anymore. People are craving more, and therefore, Creators and Influencers are having to find ways to produce content using mediums that they aren’t familiar with.

This also means that Creators and Influencers are having to show up as themselves, whereas for the longest time they were able to get away with hiding behind a photo and hiding their true personality. But this is no longer the reality. Social media is changing, and video content is the new preferred content. Therefore, Creators and Influencers will continue to have a difficult time retaining their audience’s attention unless they too adapt to the newest trend of creating entertaining video content.

We’re not exactly sure what this all means for the platform, your Instagram strategy, or if we even answered any real question. However, we’re interested in this conversation and wanted to have an open discussion, especially as we continue to move forward and observe how the platform continues to update, change and adapt with trends.

As for us, we’re going to continue to test different things within our own Instagram strategy, we might as well, engagement is down regardless, ha! What we do know is that we will continue to focus on doing things that we genuinely enjoy doing, and not stress ourselves out over a platform that we quite literally have zero control over. Therefore, we will continue to create fun, informative and valuable content while still engaging, networking, and creating connections on the platform.

We are curious though, what are your thoughts on this topic? We want to hear from you! Leave us a comment or send us a DM over on #Instagram and let’s continue this conversation, as we are sincerely interested in your thoughts regarding this topic.

- Hannah & Adriana 🍃


Recent Posts

See All