Home Is This Blog (Since 2013)

The in-laws needed a short break. We reserved hotel rooms, packed the car, and jumped on a ferry yesterday from Dover and sailed over here to France. We are here until tonight.

[Wissant, near Calais. Photo by me, October 25, 2019.]

Yesterday, I posted a photo to my Instagram of the beach nearby:

I had never used Instagram until back in 2016, when I started that account to supplement my blog here. I approached Insta with no illusions: I knew I was not a “19 year old woman”; I am a male writer. But I thought it could be used as outreach to those who had never heard of me or my blog here – and particularly to women, who are the bulk of my readers.

Initially it did prove useful, but that has long leveled off. Why? I have by now for some time seen on that platform what many of you have, and seen it also written about in various places. It was only a matter of time before Facebook-owned Instagram went the same route as Facebook. I’m no expert, but Natalia (Renegade7x) who knows lots more, explains it here: Why you have fewer and fewer Instagram interactions particularly from those who don’t already follow you.

The bottom line is Instagram does not want us using the platform to “promote” ourselves for free, but wants us to spend advertising real money with them to “ad-promote” ourselves. It seems basically that simple. The era of when a #hashtag or “viral” post could attract you lots of new followers is coming to an end. (There have also been reports that Instagram may do away with “likes” entirely.)

It seems every other Instagram post I’m seeing now is “ad-promoted” by someone I don’t know, but is “ad-promoted” to me based on posts I’ve liked and who I already follow. You have probably seen the same: the notorious “algorithm.” Example: recently I followed a young British singer (she had not “ad-promoted” herself; I found her by #hashtag), and I am now being inundated with “ad-promoted” posts by other similar singers.

Facebook has millions of “dead” accounts. (I barely use it personally any longer.) Instagram seems determined to go the same brutal “monetarize” route that makes millions of ordinary FREE users mostly “invisible.” As a result millions – especially young people – will jump ship and it will slowly become a “ghost town” as those millions seek out other apps.

In the end, I’ll always have my good old blog here. Here is the only place on the net I spend money. I pay WordPress, as you may have noticed, to have an “ad free” site because you my readers (or potential ones) are here for me, and I won’t have other ads – some of which are, frankly, not, uh, classy like my books 🙂 … but are just awful cheapo junk.

Bon weekend! 🙂