December 2023 / Mainly Marta :: A Motherhood + Lifestyle Blog



What started as a digital diary to document a newfound journey as a stay at home mom / wife has quickly evolved into my own little corner on the internet where I share all that life brings my way -- the good, the bad, and everything in between. Thanks for stopping by; I hope you stay awhile!


social media gurus + the ever changing algorithm

office lunch by roger wilkerson


we're starting to approach the end of the year, so I thought I'd end the year with a blogger hotline post that addresses Instagram, the ever changing algorithm and the concept of audiences. I'm inspired by something that happened this morning when I commented on a social media manager's thread. Some of the things I am about to say, I said on threads too, but I can elaborate and not be subjected to a word count via my little corner of the web.

here's what happened

a self professed social media guru wrote a thread about the algorithm how it pertains to the audience.
then, people (myself included) responded with differing opinions and started sharing experiences.
the guru deleted the thread and made new one -- claiming people were being negative in previous thread,  “eDuCaTeS” them on why they're wrong and ends thread with "hope this helps."
an open letter to the social media guru,
please stop acting like you've got it all figured out. your passive aggressive helpfulness isn't coming off like you're wanting it to. people are catching on that you don't have the answers and that you're monopolizing on the frustration of masses. if people didn't have these sentiments toward instagram, you wouldn't have an audience.

here's the deal --
if you can’t let people talk about their own experiences and strategies in the comments of your content whether it be under a thread, reel, or post, then I’d say you’re actually not trying to help people grow. 
it's not being negative to be frustrated with the current state of instagram, especially when it used to be a place you enjoyed. it's the reality of the people who want their content to reach the right people. instagram started out as a photo sharing app and a lot of people miss that. 

stop trying to shame people for feeling this way and then proceed to blame them for not doing enough. it's disgusting. a person's audience accumulates because they supposedly like the content that is already being produced. 
it's instagram algorithm's job to push out my content to like minded people while I simultaneously go out and find people to connect with. that's how it supposed to work. in an ideal world, the people I find, engage back and we mutually hit the follow button and a connection is made. the problem is, the algorithm doesn't do that anymore and engagement is hard to come by leaving a lot of people with questions, frustrations, and negative feelings toward the app + algorithm. 
people are tired of being a slave to the algorithm when the algorithm is constantly shifting the goal post.

my two cents on the current state of the instagram world

before I start, I just want to say that I've been on Instagram since 2010 when it first launched in October of that year. I used it to share random snippets of my life, and then I started using it as a blogging platform alongside this one in 2016. It became a source of passive income source for 6 years and I've seen + talked to a lot of creators in that time frame. the things I'm about to say reflect my personal experience on the app and what I've seen / heard throughout the years. I never claimed, or claimed to be an expert, just a long time user.

instagram is really hit or miss these days

when instagram first started, people grew because everyone had a fair chance and you could post what you loved, then the people who loved those same things could easily find you through hashtags and mutuals. I grew my blogging space during that time and it was so fun!

today, you can produce really amazing content and still be buried by the algorithm. not only that, but it’s gone from being a community based platform to content based platform.
the truth is that some people don’t have the energy to produce content all the time and experience creator burn out at much faster rates than before. not to mention that nothing is really “original” and issues arise when people start passing ideas or content off as their own when they were inspired by a smaller creator.
another to thing to note is that for people who have been on the app for years like myself, a lot of our followers have left + been inactive for years which in turn skews the engagement rate that the algorithm supposedly reads. 
to add, if people aren't sharing your content, then you're gonna be at a stalemate, which essentially means that you need to work fast and hard to push out content that is gonna catch the attention of someone bigger than you. 

Old Instagram vs. The New Instagram

Last summer, I was doing all the things over on my blogging page -- posting daily, active on stories, sharing, saving, engaging and I was noticing that my photos weren't reaching very many people. I ran ads, I posted reels, made guides, and still, it wasn't getting better. 

but, you wanna know what I was getting? messages from people that I connected with previously in my inbox saying, "hey.. I had to search you up because I never see your stuff anymore."
Why is that? I didn't change, in fact, I was doing more than ever and still running into the same issues. feeling defeated, I said okay and decided that I wanted to make a new page and start from scratch to gauge out all the inactive people. so last summer, I did just that.

here's what I've found

it’s a lot harder to grow because not only is the “audience” always changing, but you have push out content all the time to even stay afloat. in a year and a half, I’ve accumulated around 700 followers. When I first started, I started out swinging by doing everything they were suggesting, but I wasn't getting the numbers the gurus were promising, so I stopped. 
Now, I do the opposite of what they suggest. I don’t post consistently. I post more photos than reels. I seldomly get on stories. I like to support other creators and share the stuff I really like + love on stories. I engage with accounts I love and seek out people who are genuine. I unfollow those who aren't and I'm happier.
i’ve come to the place where I run my instagram account and it doesn't run me.  the numbers, the stats, the pressure of being on top has been tossed to the side. gone are the days when i look at my reach and panic. those numbers are just that -- numbers. they mean nothing on the grand scale of things, friends.
it's a great place to be because the truth is this — content is king these days and people trying to sell you something else are being dishonest. the stinger is that when gurus tell you to go engage and build your audience, a lot of time it is not reciprocated because it’s become about numbers instead of people. you can support someone for months and they’ll never follow back. you can reach out several times and then they’ll label you as spammy. there is just so much that goes into it. 
I've experimented with this too -- if I follow someone from my account that has 50k, they’ll usually follow back, but if I follow someone from my smaller account, they don’t follow me back. It's also been documented that a lot of people bought followers to fluff their appearance, they participate in engagement groups to saturate their comment section and so may other dishonest things. people like to create echo chambers of yes men and then prop it up as look at me and how successful I am. 
very rarely do people give out information for free -- you have to give them something in return. subscribe to my emails, sign up for my courses and subscribe for exclusive content. I'm not saying those things are inherently bad, but a lot of times, you sign up, and the information you get is information you can get for free. again, that's not always the case, but a lot of times, you'll find that it is.

trust me when I say so many of the people pretending to be positive on instagram and giving you all this inspirational content, in their private DMs groups, are grumbling about these things too. find your audience, girls girl, and community over competition have become catch phrases that don't mean much anymore. I've seen it first hand.
in short,
it’s literally a guessing game at this point. your best bet is trying to go viral — which is where all the trends come in. I for one refuse to prance around and record myself to become viral. I'm a boring lady with grannie hobbies and that's just not me, so why would I keep up with trends who don't reflect who I am? it's dishonest and not genuine, something that people are craving more and more each day.
bottom line-- I’m convinced that anyone who builds their platform on trying to help others grow is just monopolizing on the fact that people are finding it hard to grow. no one is telling you why it’s hard. they pin it on you’re lazy + not doing enough just to give you these simple solutions + quick fixes that don’t actually work. it's not true, and it's not fair to those of us who have been on the app since the beginning. 

when you tell us to play by the algorithm's rules and read the audience, you're invalidating people's time and experience. you're claiming to be an expert by regurgitating the same thing time and time again.

if we’re honest, once facebook took over instagram, that’s when it truly started to be a numbers game. before then, influencers and bloggers were making a ton of money via affiliate links and sharing pretty pictures. life was simple back then. sharing was fun.

Facebook saw the machine instagram was and wanted to profit from it too. they bought it out and all of a sudden, these new features rolled out. they consistently try to compete with other apps. first it was stories, to be like snapchat, then reels to be like tik tok, what's next? before reels, Instagram wanted you (and still does) to pay to be seen by running ads because going viral is hard and that's the one thing people don’t want to talk about. 

all that to say, 

if you're a business, I understand that you're trying to reach potential customers and you really want to grow. this post isn't meant to discourage you, but rather make you feel seen and heard if you're feeling frustrated. keep doing and creating what you love and the right people will find you.
the best way to grow is to slowly branch out to other platforms and build a cohesive brand. followers come and go, but a lot of time, if I like you on one platform, I'll check out your other pages too.
friendly reminder that slow growth is still growing and considered progress. :)
so, the next time someone tells you to do more, remember me, and this post  -- because you can be doing all the right things, and still feeling like you're coming up short. alright friends, that's all I got for you today. see you next year! 

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My Christmas Playlist

hello hello. welcome to day 23 of blogmas, can't believe we have just one more post to go! today, I'm sharing my Christmas playlist. I add to it every year, but as of right now, there are 4 hours and 25 minutes of retro, vintage, and modern Christmas classics that I love!

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18 Things To Do This Month In The Treasure Valley

HELLO! HAPPY DECEMBER PEOPLE :) we made it and the christmas countdown is officially on!

I thought I'd take this blogmas post to talk about our plans for the month. We're in a new city this holiday season and we're having the holidays without any close family this Christmas, so I'm trying to over compensate that sadness with doing all the local things! Here is a small list of things I'd like to do and see this month. 


the to do list :

1. Walk Through 45-Miles Of Holiday Lights At Scentsy Commons

2. Go to the Vintage Holiday Market

5. Go Sledding at Camel Back Park

6. Drive Through Christmas In Color

7. Take a Sleigh Ride in the Sun Valley

8. Watch a Journey To Bethlehem in Theaters 

9. Talk A Horse Drawn Carriage Ride

10. Walk Though The Christmas Light Maze

11. See Christmas Lights at Winter Wonderland 

12. Visit the Idaho Botanical Garden

13. See Christmas Trees @ Capital Building, The Grove + The Village

14. Go Snow Shoeing at Bogus Basin

15. Grinchmas Market

16. Down Home Country Christmas in Kuna 

17. Meet Real Reindeer

18. Visit Winter Wonder Village

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