What I Learned From a Year on Instagram

Creating filtered photos was a fun hobby… for a while…

An Austin mural

Here are ten things I learned from a year on Instagram.

Instagram is far more tolerable than Facebook with less whining and more art.

Isn’t that what draws people in? We’re curious to swipe through other people’s lenses and vicariously travel and sip cozy coffees with them without getting too involved. We also love creating and sharing art that highlights the fullness of life. However, Instagram is a social network, and…

Most of your friends use it.

Despite Instagram being mostly focused on aesthetics, people still use the app to socialize and share their life stories and struggles.

Instagram is very addicting!

Trending images and videos on the search screen suck you into a dopamine-tapping black hole, similar to Imgur, YouTube, or Pinterest. The algorithms don’t stop showing you things you might like!

Everyone used the ♡ heart differently.

Some used the heart like a check to mark every photo they saw; some used the heart to express fondness, appreciation, or sympathy; and still others used hearts to get attention and increase their follower count.

Monochrome photography received the most ♡ ♡ hearts.

Big Bend National Park
People loved my black and white photography the most.

The more people you follow, the less content you see.

The home feed didn’t show me every post in chronological order. As I followed more prominent profiles, the algorithm would cull out a lot of content that it calculated to be less worthy of my attention.

There are a lot of support groups and social activist pages.

I was amazed to find so many pages focused on healthy relationships, domestic abuse, consent culture, rape survivors, depression, anxiety, suicide, veganism, police brutality, nonviolence, and on and on. Help was a hashtag away!

Free the nipple!

Female nipples were (and still are?) controversial on Instagram and censorship was extremely subjective. Women breastfeeding babies and pregnant mothers posing nude were usually allowed, but topless, non-pregnant women, however, no matter how tasteful, were flagged and removed unless the nipples were blurred out.

A breast without a nipple looks as alien as a stomach without a bellybutton.

Photographer @eyesofjune

Photographer @eyesofjune

Live by the meme, die by the meme.

Hashtags are how you get discovered, but memes (viral text images) spread ideas and raise awareness. It’s the controversy, prejudices, and highly-charged emotions surrounding memes that make them so popular. Creating memes might bring you up in the Instagram world, but with popularity comes trolls that will try to bring you down. Which brings me to the last lesson…

Instagram is very accessible.

The platform is so widely used that, in order to combat abuse, Instagram has integrated a switch that allows users to disable commenting. Also, unless you’re an early adopter or are well-known outside Instagram, you’re going to find that it takes a lot of work to get noticed. The results may not be worth the amount of time invested, so if you’re looking for a niche audience to build your influence, look elsewhere, as Instagram is saturated!

Tiny mushrooms

It was a good run, and I liked using Instagram as a creative tool. 🙂

Check out more of my Instagram photography in another blog post here.


Wolfie lives moment to moment seeking to make life more wonderful for all. She is passionate about people, animals, nature, and health, and she helps others express their creativity and live in harmony.

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  1. Pingback: Photography, Video Clips, and Art on Instagram | Wolf.Engineer

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