My Social Media Journey (and why I’m tired of it) | #Blogtober22 – Day 16

One’s introduction to social media is so exciting, isn’t it? Oh, we can connect to friends on social media! Oh, I’m going to meet so many new people on there! Oh, my favorite artists are only one click away and I can interact with them! Oh, I’m going to become a phenomenon overnight because I’m going share and share and share and talk and talk and talk! And only one of these isn’t true. Because despite all the positives that social media extends to us, it can also be a draining experience. The constant need to put oneself out there and keep on top of the trend and stay updated takes something out of us.

A lot has already been said about social media, its pluses, and its minuses. So instead of piling on top of the content that’s already there, I’ll just talk to you about my own experiences.

I was in college when I joined Facebook almost 15 years ago because everyone around me was getting an account there. Peer pressure, you could call it. And what did I do on Facebook? Share nonsense pictures and tag my friends in them like they did with me. Share statuses that were supposed to be ‘deep’ and ‘intellectual’, but in hindsight are just plain bleargh. If we couldn’t reach each other by phone, we even tagged each other on Facebook because we were sure to check our notifications there. It was a whole thing, really.

And then in 2009, I joined Twitter with no idea about what the app was really about. I tried to keep up with understanding it, but I couldn’t. So, I stashed it away for a long time before I realized I had an account and came back. I still don’t understand it, honestly, but eh. It’s a weirdly chaotic place that sometimes makes sense. That sometimes is perhaps 2-3% of the time, but okay.

Then came Instagram. I created my personal Instagram account around this time in 2014 with a picture of cold coffee. Fitting, I think. And since, I’ve shared pictures randomly of moments that I wanted to share. Some were just for the heck of it, in the moment. But others, I wanted to share with the whole world. Trips, life events, little moments with loved ones – all of these are on that profile. I’ve even started posting there again, I don’t know why the renewed interest. It just happens, I guess, when one day you want to do something and start doing, you just do.

A few years later, in 2017 or so, I found BookTube and Bookstagram. I got addicted to watching book videos and scrolling through book pictures. So, in November of 2017, I started a Bookstagram account. I shared a few pictures that I’m glad I don’t remember much of. But I gradually began to click better pictures and the account gradually began to grow as well. Not much, but I was happy enough with the little steps and with whatever I was doing on social media. This was the time when the algorithms were simpler and growing one’s account was an easier thing. Not like the mess it is today.

In February 2018, after a couple of weeks of consideration, I decided to start my BookTube channel. It took me quite a while to get a hang of it, to be relatively natural in front of the camera, and to understand that consistency is the key. When I started the channel, I’d do videos whenever I felt like it. Maybe that was a better time for my peace of mind, honestly. Still, I’m glad I continued to make videos, however bad the consistency was. If I hadn’t started, I wouldn’t have gotten to the place I am today, would I?

That July of 2018, I deleted my old Instagram account and created a new one: melodramaticbookworm. The reason was that question and poll stickers were being rolled out and mine hadn’t got the update yet. And I’m glad I shifted, honestly, because it was like a fresh start for me. Now, I saw the previous account as something I practiced in before I skipped to the good part. Literally, because I used the good pictures in the new account and began to grow. There were book reviews and recommendations, picture challenges, book stacks, shoutouts for shoutouts, giveaways, and a lot more that helped me with this. Thanks to this new step, I’m now currently at 3.7k followers, a number I never thought I’d reach.

But that’s the thing about Instagram. Their algorithm uses machine learning, if I’m not mistaken, to determine what someone would like to see. So, if you like something by mistake even once, then it’s going to show you 10,000 things like them and other sponsored posts. The posts from people you follow are going to be all messed up in order, although there is now an option to look at your feed chronologically. Still, Instagram doesn’t show your account if you’ve been inactive or if you don’t engage. Which makes sense, to a certain extent. But the end of all sense appears when I do post consistently – 3 times a week, for example – and I lose followers like I lose my mind. This is why I’m at 3.7k followers. There was a time not long ago when I had 3.8k followers. The numbers have dropped, and how!

BookTube, on the other hand, is a whole other ball game. I’ve been on BookTube for 4.5 years and I have about 4.7k subscribers – a number I never thought I’d reach. Yet, it’s a shame that the YouTube algorithm too works in mysterious ways, not allowing one to figure it out enough to be found by people looking for content. Don’t get me wrong, I love making videos. But the whole process is so tiring that it takes the life out of me. And when all this effort results in 10 cents in ads from YouTube when they make literally millions, it makes me wonder why I’m even doing it. Yes, I love making videos, but if I’m putting so much effort into providing free content, then YouTube should respect its creators a little, in my opinion, and give it a little more than what it’s giving right now.

The tiring process forced me to take multiple breaks over the past few years. The first was in 2020, just when the pandemic had started. I took a break of 3 months before returning to BookTube. I remember how refreshed I was, how full of ideas I was. And I’m glad to have taken that break and returned with full force because that was the year I hit 2000 subscribers. One of my videos blew up immediately and I got monetized. That was a milestone. A few other videos that I did during that time have done well, too, thankfully.

The second break was in mid-2021. I was doing a whole lot of content for BookTube, be it reading vlogs or fresh recommendations or exclusive videos for channel members – all of it with full motivation and determination. But if you’re going at full speed for months together, you’re bound to get derailed at some point. So, I took a break and came back feeling better. But the problem was, during this time, the YouTube algorithm had undergone some changes, I think. And things just plateaued the remaining of that year.

The third break started in late January this year and I feel like it really hasn’t ended because my consistency is gone. The urge to do this and that and everything is gone. But I’ve been making videos and because I’ve been inconsistent, I haven’t gotten the same ‘success’ (if you could call it that) with my videos of late. My watch hours have fallen below 4,000 hours, too, which means that I’m *this* close to getting demonetized, if I don’t get it back up, that is. Yet, I’m now at a point where my priorities have changed and I’m no longer worried. I’m a little sad, yes, that I got demonetized and that so much effort has result in this. But going forward, I’ll probably make videos just because and only if I want to.

This is a point I’ve gotten to because of social media and its pressure. Keeping up with everyday trends, staying up to date with everything while keeping up with everyday life, clicking pictures, editing them, writing captions, and using appropriate hashtags for Instagram, thinking of a topic, scripting it, filming it, editing it, creating a thumbnail, and using the right keywords for YouTube – it’s one hell of a list for one person to be doing everything. And it’s only natural that it has drained me out, tired me to no end.

BookTube, Bookstagram, and Book Twitter have become places that I want to stay away from. But there are reasons why I can’t. One, because of the people I’ve met on these apps – I love them to no end. Two, because I love books, no matter what. I’m no longer forcing myself to read a particular number of books of whatever and I’m taking it easy, but I still do love them. It’s a bit of an adventure going on social media and finding a book I might love and then trying to find it for myself. That hasn’t changed, really.

But I’ve changed. And though I might once have ploughed on at full steam even when I was down and out, that’s no longer me. Now that I have more health issues than I can count, topmost being rheumatoid arthritis, I’ll take my rest, thank you very much.

What are your thoughts about social media? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

I’ll see you in tomorrow’s Blogtober post.

Until next time, keep reading, take time out for yourself, and add melodrama to your life! ❤

5 thoughts on “My Social Media Journey (and why I’m tired of it) | #Blogtober22 – Day 16

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