What does Instagram mean to me?


What does Instagram mean to me?

There’s a question I’ve been made to think about recently. Unfortunately like other “influencers” I have finally faced some criticism about my use of Instagram. I knew it was going to happen at some point and after building my page for almost 3 years I felt emotionally prepared for it. What I wasn’t prepared for though was that the criticism came from those who should be some of our biggest supports. Apparently not, and that’s actually so sad. So after being told by people you love that they don’t agree with you blogging, you find time to think about why you blog and why your Instagram page is so important to you. So here goes…

Top 5 reasons why I run our Instagram page:

  1. To make, keep, support and love my insta mum friends.
  2. To support small businesses and shop small.
  3. To share my own personal and honest opinions and experiences as well as read those of other people and broaden my perspective.
  4. To review items and share honest reviews with other mums.
  5. To provide my boys with experiences and things that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to provide for them as a stay at home mum.

First things first: my top reasons above for running my page now are different to the one reason I set the page up in the first place: because of my love for traditional and vintage baby clothes that I couldn’t get on the high street. This is of course still one of my reasons for using Instagram, but as my page has developed (and my stash of traditional baby clothes has grown), my top reasons feel more important now.

So let’s talk about reason 1: friends.

Mum friends are priceless. Nobody gets you or understands you quite like a friend who is experiencing these things with you. Once you become a mum your whole existence revolves around you child(ren) and your life becomes a new challenge you’re not sure how to face: cue Mum friends. They feel you, they know it, they sympathise, they advise, they laugh things off with you, they reassure you, they are your biggest cheerleaders. Because we are one big team on this journey called motherhood and if you want to talk about your baby’s poop – your mum friends are there!

Instagram has connected me with so many wonderful mum friends: many of whom I feel I can talk to about anything and we chat without judgment. How lucky am I to “meet” such great friends that I never would have crossed paths with if it wasn’t for Instagram. We support each other, make each other laugh, rant together, tell each other when we are over reacting, pick each other up, are honest about disagreements and we are always there.

That right there is mainly why I use my Instagram page as I do – to connect with these mums.

Reason 2 is also very important to me: to support small businesses. This became an unintentional habit as I shopped for traditional clothing for Otis as a baby. But that habit soon turned into a passion and now if I need something I always ask myself if I can get it from a small business first before automatically going to a big brand. Because the difference my money makes to the family behind that small business is huge.

The criticism I have faced has mainly been a result of reason 3: to openly blog about my own personal opinions and experiences. However blogging is a great outlet for me and it helps me keep a diary of my children’s development and experiences. As well as that, blogging allows me to connect with like-minded mums; and also some mums with different opinions too that I equally love to read about (see reason 1 above). I think that in a world where social media is important, blogging is a vital part of that media. And when you blog, there’s no point writing anything if you’re not going to be open and honest with your thoughts. You can’t please everyone so what’s the point in trying.

I like to discuss things that are good to share perspectives on. I have chosen never to blog about breastfeeding Vs bottle feeding, baby immunisations or not, baby ear piercing, rear/forward-facing car seats, cry it out parenting etc. I choose my content carefully and none of my posts are created to “mum shame”. We are all one big team, despite our differences (again, see reason 1).

Reasons 4 and 5 pretty much go hand in hand. As our page has grown we have unintentionally fallen into the “influencer” title. Unfortunately it’s a title that has been given negative associations, but actually so much good comes from social media influencing. For a start, advertising and marketing is bloody expensive. We are talking outrageous costs to get products seen on billboards, TV, radio etc. So many brands, big and small, spend their marketing budgets on social media influencing instead because it makes sense from a financial point of view: they get advertising, photos, videos, exposure reviews… often for just the cost price of a product, which is a lot less than the retail price. At the same time mums and families are given products that they may not be able to afford to buy, or even items they wouldn’t have usually tried but then end up loving. As well as this as influencers we get to write real and honest reviews, to advise and give tips to other mums about new products on the market that they may find useful. We don’t review things we are unhappy with. We don’t make up positive reviews for the sake of having something for free, businesses want genuine reviews and feedback of their products. Yes of course it’s nice to get a gift once in a while, but there’s so much more to the whole process.

So that’s pretty much it really – that is why I love running our Instagram page as I do and why I will continue to do so. It’s not there to judge people, to mum shame, to think I’m better than anyone, to show off or to just get freebies…… if you know me, truly know who I am, you will respect why I run our page so proudly and why it’s so important to me and support us with it.

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