I got back from Italy a few weeks ago – a well needed vacation and the beginning of a new period in my life.
I left a job that I had been at for eight years. I was really feeling confined by it and looking for a more creative direction. I didn’t leave the job for another – I’m still figuring out what I will end up doing. At one point not too long ago I envisioned the InkedAcross project would figure into this new career, but honestly I almost abandoned the whole thing.
The changes to Instagram over the past six months have really disrupted what I’ve been trying to build here. I was starting to really gather momentum, with about 100 new followers every month or so. And then Instagram changed their algorithm and I went for about 2 1/2 months gaining, then losing, then gaining 10 followers. I was stuck at about the same number for months.
I understand that Instagram doesn’t really want anyone profiting from this platform other than Instagram. I’m not trying to sell anything – I’m attempting to build a brand. When that brand is making money, then yes, I will start spending money for advertising.
The change in sorting by Instagram slowed new followers and likes dramatically. Whereas I was approaching a couple hundred likes for the standout tattoos before the change, now I’m lucky to get 50 likes. I understand that since I am not a producer and just repost, there is a fair amount of attrition. If I get followers because they see something new from me they like and then subsequently start following the artists that I’m reposting, there will come a point where I don’t bring anything new to the table. That is the way this works and I keep growing if I gain followers quicker than I lose.
Anyway, for several months I was gaining, sliding, gaining, sliding. When I left for vacation I considered dropping the project, but at the very least decided a vacation from it as well was in order.
When I returned from vacation I still did not jump back into InkedAcross. An interesting thing was happening: the gain, slide, gain still continued. The likes still continued, comments still were made, and artists still sent me images they would like me to post. While I didn’t gain, I didn’t lose either. What’s this mean?
I have no fucking clue.
Actually I do. I know attrition is a fact of life and that will always work against me, but it’s less likely to happen when I’m not posting anything. All of the tags and comments and mentions by others artists and IGers always work in my favor whether I’m active or not.
I know the artists appreciate it when I promote their work. I know tattoo enthusiasts appreciate seeing cool art they otherwise would not see. I think what I’m doing has value and although Instagram did me no favors in their changes, I can still work with it. It will be more difficult but still doable.
I have a bigger vision I’m working towards and while I had hoped to be further along with that plan by now, I can be patient. I’m grateful for the support from everyone and will just keep hammering away at it.