This blog has never really had a solid goal or direction. I’ve owned this domain for over 14 years its just been my spot in space. In the last 3 years I have been interacting heavily on INSTAGRAM (IG). @BETHKAYA
IG gave me an incredible tool to communicate with. It became something I loved. I made buckets of new friends, connected with clients all over the world and explored beautiful photography techniques that would help my art become a viable business and voice of my own. This felt like the renaissance. I was getting a lot of traffic from every share. Every share amounted to sales, and brands were connecting with me to collaborate. It totally had it’s underbelly. Copy Catters and other various bits of undesirable natural social hiccups but I have sang the platforms praises, till now.
In the last 9 months or so, I noticed something alarming. I am organically sitting with 20 thousand + blessed subscribers. However, I am only engaging with less then 1% of them. When my following was at less than 10K I was garnering about 300 engagements per photo, this has been steadily and cyclically slashed. Now at 20 k I am engaging around 100. Also , I LOVED giving shout outs. I love tagging my friends and other makers in photos. Now when I do so, my photos are blocked and sometimes just removed. What happened?
I stare at my shop analytics and see the writing on the wall. The traffic to etsy is not coming from etsy (Thanks Etsy?) its coming from Instagram and a shred from google alla this site. Sales are remarkably down. They are still trickling from previous clients. I am sure grateful for these relationships I took time to foster. New clients? Very slim. This is panic mode as a business owner. I can’t stand quiet about it either.
I thought about class action lawsuits on the grounds of interfering with my ability to conduct business. I have over 100 friends who are feeling the algorithmic throttle from Instagram too. Did they have a task force come and hunt us down and sell us to the spam people who email me 3 X a week asking if I need more likes on my photos? Probably. Did haters mark my posts as spam or report me? A fraction, Probably. Did facebook decide that in order for me to reach my audience I need to boost through their marketing console on my facebook business page? Totally! Ultimately I can’t help but think there is a liability waiver for all of these thoughts built into their terms and conditions. I mean – who really knows what we sign away every time we agree to another app? Right? I can assume I have no leg to stand on. I can assume that once again the small business red tape grows wider then we were led to believe because social media “lessened that”.
So here I am, cut off from you. I’m not gonna lie – it hurts in more ways I can begin to describe. I watched a video of (KATWISE) another indie roots artist, who’s work I know from the music scene. In her video she was crying because of the very thing I am typing about. Being cut off from you, who we love, who supports our art, keeps food on the table and the lights on in our homes. For some artists, its not just a hobby – we price on formulas for fair market so we can compete in a healthy thriving arena. We sell wholesale, things we’ve made our selves. We are around the world with our businesses. We are up at all hours, fighting with the post office or packing things with absolute labors of love. Somehow that community gets that we to need lift each other up. We get each other and want to see others fullfill their passions and make a living at it if possible.
I know by now IG has seen the dozens of petitions, the #keepitchronological campaigns and more. I know Instagram robots have seen the 20+ letters I’ve written begging for throttle to my waiting audience to be lifted.
What else can I do?
I was just a kid with a dream once too. A 16 year old on her own set out for NYC to be a working artist some day. I worked for the machine and clawed through design school at night. Instagram gave me a present, a way to express, UNDILUTED and in the most authentic way possible. People took to that, organically – and you took those people.
I know, I know, it’s just a platform. Wake up and live real life right? I know. All the haters, hate on me for being a cry baby. I will take that too. It’s just a space in time – things change, roll with the punches, sink or swim right?
I’m not going down either – I will keep sharing even if it’s to limited eyes. Those eyes matter!
This is about the art and what message is left behind when all it becomes is cosmic debris. The content I make comes from something that has nothing to do with this, and I admit I got too wrapped up in it’s power. This is a great equalizer. I won’t compare myself to those who haven’t been targeted by these shifts or who have garnered insane audiences doing things that well, have different merits then I would invest in. “Followers” are not the things to be preoccupied with. Relationships are. You can pan for gold in a gold field and still just find one little golden piece, but gold is gold.
Anyway, I just had to get that it out. This was an uppercut to my ability to do a lot of things growth wise that I had projected this year but I am just taking a detour and more real world roads this time. Thankfully, people still exist. That’s the medicine. Don’t put all your business eggs in one basket, and businesses found ways to survive when the climate changed.
Strikes and Gutters-
*Edited to ad a side rant about Etsy, what is going on with etsy?
Apart from not getting any traffic or sales from their strip mall, they are using bots to deactivate listings based on algorithms too. 3 times in the last week my listings have been deactivated for no reason in my eyes. I spoke intensively with the “integrity” team as well. In order to garner traffic from etsy, you have to promote your own listings on top of the listing fee AND the check out commission? Where does it end? Stop nickle and diming! Stop bullying the little guy, who has done nothing but bring YOU traffic and revenue. Sheesh!