As if I needed even more places to talk about books, my most recent venture has been into the Instagram community known as Bookstagram.
At the beginning of 2020, I had a small rant session on Twitter to my one follower who cares (thank you, Maggie), about how I've felt like my social media isn't a place where I can share my passions anymore. Instagram specifically, is a hard place to share stuff on because likes are so much a part of how the platform operates.
I've had my Instagram for eight years. My first post was a picture of my dog at the time, Prince. Like most people who started out back then, I put filters on my photos and I really only posted about my dog. My account was for me and my friends, so it didn't really matter.
As I got older, it started to become more about the likes, but that never really hit me until college. Here, in the US, some of my friends and classmates have such active accounts that a picture of breakfast can easily gather 200+ likes. I stopped posting as much because it felt like a game of comparison. But I also stopped posting as much because I felt like people didn't care about what I had to share unless it was a picture of my face - full of makeup and dressed up.
That's where my Twitter rant comes in. I'd felt for a long time like I wanted to share more of my love of books in my Instagram. It's the platform I use the most in general, and it's a place where I feel like I can engage with people more genuinely. Except when it comes to books.
Despite the numerous book pictures on my account, they've never done as well as pictures of my face. And it was discouraging because I wanted to share about the things I loved, and yet it felt like very few people cared. So 2020 began with me declaring on Instagram that I would be adding more bookish and writing content to my page. I wanted to share more of my passions, and I wanted people to know that.
This came after conversations with different friends, one who had several accounts dedicated to different things and one who converted her personal page into a Bookstagram. They each had great insight that I took to heart as I started posting more on my personal account. The initial reception was great. People were supportive of my pursuit of my passions. But once again, I was finding that unless I was in the picture, fewer of my real life friends were engaging. And then it started to feel like my friends didn't actually care, and the ones who did were few and far between.
Finally, I had to admit to myself that I wasn't happy sharing my bookish and writing content on my personal page anymore. I kept toying with the second account I had made in case I wanted to actually pursue a Bookstagram, and that second account only grew more appealing.
After a late night of thinking it through, I decided it was finally the time to make the split. The next day, I posted my first photo on my Bookstagram account. Not only did I feel excited, I felt like it was the right step to have a space entirely dedicated to sharing my love of reading and my journey of writing. I had a ton of fun creating IG story highlight covers, planning out my posts, and creating a posting schedule for myself. I figured out a theme I liked and wanted to stick with, and I went for it.
It's become clear that this was the right decision to make. It felt good to have a space where I could post daily without feeling like I was annoying people who didn't care. The friends who followed my new account were people who wanted to keep up with my reading and writing. And I've had so much having a feed that's entirely dedicated to other book lovers. It's become easier to find accounts I love and keep up with their content, I've enjoyed interacting with people in the comments, and I've become excited to post about books again.
Sure, it's taking time and work to build an account from the ground up again, but I'm really enjoying the process. The new followers I've gained are people who share my love of books and want to see more of that content. It's been really encouraging and I'm glad I finally took the step to separate my personal account from my Bookstagram.
If you don't already follow me, you can follow:
My personal account ~ @charmainelim
My Bookstagram ~ @char.readsnwrites