My Instagram Days Are Numbered
I haven’t really been doing ok… (I mean who has been the past two years?) Actually… all things considered, based on how horrible 2021 was, I’m doing great. Relatively. But only relatively.
Honestly, I’m surprised I’m not more emotionally paralyzed, too terrified to write anything or post anything on social media. But here I am, getting up every stupid little day, doing my silly little tasks, posting and inevitably pissing people off on instagram, and wondering… is this really it? Am I happy? Is this worth it? Is it actually worth being in the semi-public eye? If I left, what else would I even want to do? Would I be happier or less happy if I stopped sharing my writing and my thoughts with people? I don’t know yet. But clearly, here I still am, still writing.
Very Bad. Very Very Bad.
I reached a point in 2021, where I honestly felt like I couldn’t write about anything I really thought, without being ripped to shreds, or without alienating everyone who had previously liked and supported me, and without, by proxy: torching everything I have been building and working towards for the past ten years with my writing. It didn’t feel safe to share anything that went against the acceptable covid talking points, or the acceptable leftist/liberal narrative.
It’s not that I disagree with everything on the left, I don’t. It’s not that I have swung fully to the other side. But I find it terrifyingly cultish, and extremist, that you must have certain beliefs, and you must post in certain ways and show support for certain things, or else you are bad. And the extremity, and cruelty that it breeds has made me question everything. And I personally think that’s a good thing, but many people see it as… very bad. Very very bad.
There is a script to stick to. If you stick to it, then you are good, and the angel of
death internet-mob-pile-ons will pass over your instagram handle for one more day. Because I had written an anti-diet book, and have socially liberal beliefs, there was an assumption of what I was supposed to think and supposed to feel and supposed to say. You aren’t allowed to critique our current culture. Well, actually, you are allowed, but you have to critique it in a very specific way, but you aren’t allowed to critique the fact that you are only allowed to critique our culture in a very specific way… and if that was how I was going to keep operating, afraid to get in trouble for what I was writing… then I wasn’t a writer, I was a… shill. I was a panderer. I was covering my own ass, and for what? So for a while, I tried to just… take it all in, learn the rules, miserably follow them, and lie on my bed and cry about how stupid it was to try and be a writer if you weren’t allowed to write about what you actually thought.
For a while, it felt dangerous to even just lightly talking about “cancel” culture (I hate using that term, and I’ll explain why eventually), or as some euphemistically call it: “accountability” culture, but what it really is, is: internet mob campaigns. The irony of daring to talk about our culture where people are gone after, slandered, piled on, and disposed of, is that… then you become one of the “bad” people who are gone after, slandered, piled on, and disposed of, just for trying to talk about it and critique it. And that’s what happened once I finally started sharing my thoughts on it in August 2021. More on that story in other posts.
So, there is the very volatile, unforgiving climate of the people on social media, but then, on top of that, there is stupid instagram itself.
Instagram, the app… I mean where to start. Besides the fact that it is essentially a surveillance platform, collecting everyone’s data for God-knows-what sinister shit that we won’t be able to escape in the future, it is also waging war against its own users and creators.
It’s been happening for a while, but instagram only shows your content to… a teeeeny tiny fraction of your followers, hoping that if you use it for business or marketing, which I do, you’ll get annoyed and pay to ‘boost’ your posts. Hilariously, I can’t pay to boost my posts anyway, because I have a curse word in my handle… so the ads always get declined anyway, and they won’t even let me change my handle because I’m “verified” with a blue check mark… I learned all of this a few years ago when I consulted with a marketing expert who wanted me to try instagram ads for a workshop I was running, and that’s how I learned. They won’t approve my ads because of my handle.
The only other option, if you decide not to pay for boosting your posts (or can’t anyway), is to spend a frightening amount of time on instagram, exchanging your time and life force for a boost in the algorithm because your own personal engagement is so frighteningly high that they throw you a little algorithm bone. But just a little one. Essentially, they require that you become an instagram addict, if you can’t afford to outsource your instagram posting to a social media assistant… which I can’t. So, I became an instagram addict. And I still am one. But I’m considering getting clean. Or cutting back.
And now, in the past few months, everyone I have talked to who uses instagram for business says that engagement has plummeted, even more than before. They changed the algorithm again. Now they favor reels? Or they favor shopping posts? Or… they favor people who post the kinds of things they want you to post? I don’t know, but it’s become abysmal, so much so that it truly feels futile posting on there. And it feels like instagram is playing a very risky game… they assume we will not leave, because we need them for marketing. And maybe they’re right. Having an instagram page is … necessary this day and age, for business. I always check a business’s instagram out, and if they don’t have one I think hmmmm how legit can they be?! But how long can they punish their own users and throttle their business reach, before people give up? It actually feels like an abusive relationship. They constantly punish me and demand all my attention, and they know that leaving would be a hit to my marketing too. So I stay.
Then, the day before my birthday, I posted a Q&A box, asking what I should do for my birthday, which also happened to be the 10 year anniversary my own F*ck It Diet. I started sharing all of the ridiculous responses, one being “eat cake. punch someone in the nuts” to which I wrote “interesting!” meaning: “weird suggestion!”
My account was flagged for “inciting violence.” I asked for a review because it seemed like there was no way that wasn’t a bot, and if a person just looked at what I posted, they’d see it was… ridiculous. No violence incited. But no, they “reviewed” it, whatever that means, and told me it was still inciting violence, and that I could lose my account in the future.
Because of this, I couldn’t be searched for a few days, and they removed my ability to use certain features, one being able to tag my book through Harper Collins, and my book was coming out in 3 weeks. And I still cannot tag my books to this day.
Because of the BS of instagram, both the actual app itself, and the people constantly out for blood, I had a big and recent shift in the way I view instagram. I realized: I am not going to be active on instagram for much longer. Either they will make that decision by either throttling my posts so much that it doesn’t make sense to post on there anymore, or they’ll remove my account entirely, or I’ll realize how deeply fucked up of a place instagram has in my life, and I’ll leave on my own. But, it’s clear: my instagram days are numbered. This is a huge shift for me. For the past… I dunno, 3 or 4 years, I’ve been using instagram like it is my business. Growing followers exponentially, getting the blue check mark, marketing my book(s), sharing content, advertising workshops and group programs, and spending lotttts of time on there, writing and sharing things for fun (which I do love!). It felt… important for a while. It felt like it really mattered that I keep it up, keep growing, keep reaching new people and new audiences.
But, as soon as I realized that my time there was numbered, I realized that instagram is just a phase. And immediately, the stakes were lower. If I’m not trying to grow it anymore, or trying to avoid being hated, or trying to figure out how to hack the algorithm, I can just let go. I can just lower those stakes. I can just post, or not, and try a new outlet… like substack.
Plans for Substack
I have fun plans for substack. One thing I love about substack, is that they have taken a stance against censorship. They have been pressured to take down certain creator’s content, for not following the acceptable script, and they refuse to. That’s a platform I can get behind. So, in my next posts, I am going to be telling the long and winding, ridiculous stories of some of the reasons I’ve been “cancelled” (or rather, viciously gone after and slandered, which leaves lots of people still believing the worst in me to this day.) And those posts are going to be behind the subscription paywall, $7 a month. Why? I want the little petty bitches who want to screenshot it and share it around saying how horrible I am to either have to pay $7 first, or not read it at all. Also behind the paywall: I’m also going to be sharing author’s commentary on The F*ck It Diet book, author’s commentary on Tired as F*ck, deleted chapters from Tired as F*ck, and lots of other thoughts and content that I’m not allowed to post on instagram. (I’m going to tell EVERYONE to punch someone in the nuts for their birthday!)
I am also going to be sharing free posts, like this, but I am going to make a lot of my posts paid. Especially the ones that share things I’m not supposed to say.
Ugh, I do love parts of Instagram
Unfortunately for me, instagram is the easiest and quickest outlet. It is SO much easier to go on there and write a quick few story slides saying: instagram is throttling me — this is so stupid —why are they doing this — I probably won’t be on here for long. Compared to writing this whole long, semi-organized article. There is something casual and quick and easy about making an instagram story. And besides the fact that someone may hate it and screenshot it and share it and try to ruin your day or your life, it’s low-stakes in that it’s not meant to be polished, and it will expire in 24 hours. I will miss that… if I leave. I love instagram in many ways. It’s really fun. But maybe that’s also part of the problem… the addiction problem. In fact, I tried to edit this post when I saw a typo from my phone through the app and I can’t. I have to lug out my laptop, and write like an adult. I can’t just shit around all day from my phone, convincing myself I’m “working” while getting into fights with randos who will never buy my book about whether oil is moisturizing to our skin or not.
But hey, I’m not fully ready to leave instagram yet, and even when I finally do, I don’t think I’ll delete my account. I’ll definitely start taking deliberate breaks (I verrrry rarely do). But I’ll keep it. I’ll point people here, or wherever. I’ll use it for marketing, I’m assuming… But I’ll definitely be lowering it’s importance in my life, my mind, and my business. And that will be a good thing. It reminds me of what I did with acting… I put so much time and energy and money and blood and sweat and tears and importance into it, and even though I was so miserable, I wouldn’t let myself stop until a bigger shift in perception happened, and then I realized that I would be so much happier if I just… let it go. (This is a huge part of what Tired as F*ck is about.) Same thing with instagram. It felt so important. I was verified. I was (am) an author. I had to sell books. I had to be liked. I had to be shared. But now I’m like… this is so… miserable and stupid. And it is not real life. And it is not forever. It’s a phase. A weird, weird phase. And my time there is numbered. And though I am still an ig addict, I feel way freer. Because it matters so much less.
Anyway… all of this to say… instagram, while fun and wonderful on some level, is stupid and I hate it. Instagram is my enemy. And they seem to hate my as much as I hate them.
But, uh, I’m still on there. For now.
But I have sooooooo much more to say about all of this. Some should probably be in a book. But a lot will be on here, and not on instagram.
So, if you want the story of how me saying I was turning my account into a fitness account as an April Fools joke, and how that turned into Caroline Dooner being an example of White Violence, subscribe to the paid posts, and I’ll be sharing it in the next week or two. For now I have the The F*ck It Diet Author’s Commentary 1: Audiobook and Author’s Commentary 1: Editor From Hell up as paid posts. It is something I offered to people who had pre-ordered Tired as F*ck, but I’ll also be posting all of that bonus content here behind the paywall, in the next few weeks and months, among other fun things.
(You can also subscribe for the free posts, and you’ll be emailed when I post a new free post like this.)
Oh and follow me on instagram @carolinedooner! Just kidding. Kind of.