Has Instagram replaced blogging? Are they the same thing?
As I grow, I open my mind to learning new things and having old notions challenged. I had always thought that Instagram and blogs were two separate things. This was a black & white matter in my mind with clear distinctions and differences between the 2 concepts. In fact, I never really thought about it because well, it was plain to me. A few weeks back I posted a question on my Instagram asking for South African bloggers and their websites. I was surprised to receive the answer, “Instagram is my blog” or “My blog is my Instagram photos.” Which got me thinking and led me to ask my Instagram family:
Do you consider Instagram as a blog?
The opinions were conflicted and varied with some people falling in one well defined camp or the other, while others sat on the fence and offered new categories of blogging. This post is a round up of all those findings and opinions. Let’s start by defining these terms:
What is a blog?
Derived from the word ‘weblog’ meaning ‘logging the web’, the term was coined in 1997. According to Harvard University, ‘A weblog is a hierarchy of text, images, media objects and data, arranged chronologically, that can be viewed in an HTML browser.’ Nowadays, a blog generally refers to a website not owned by a business or company.
What is a blogger?
A person who owns and/or contributes to a website of their creation. They can write posts on a variety of topics (food, fashion, travel, health), share photos or create whatever content they desire on the website they control.
What is an instagrammer?
An instagrammer is someone who uses Instagram. Most people who have and use the app can be called instgrammers whether they have 4 or 40,000 followers but the term is more commonly used by people who have large followings.
So far we can see that being a blogger requires a website controlled by a person. A blogger can be an instagrammer (if they use Instagram) but an instgrammer isn’t a blogger (unless they have a website). It seems simple enough right? So why are we confused?
Perhaps its because of this term ‘influencers” which has become really popular in the last 2 years. An influencer is a person who can impact on the behaviour and attitudes of other people. Both bloggers and instagrammers can be influencers as long as they have an audience who feels motivated by them. An influencer can also be a celebrity or politician.
So if you feel that you have a lot of influence on Instagram then you can call yourself an influencer.
Why are you calling yourself a blogger if you don’t have a website?
But what about micro blogging?
Wait what? Yes I’d never heard of this term before this discussion wither. Microblogging is a combination of blogging and instant messaging that allows users to create short messages to be posted and shared with an audience online. Twitter and Instagram can be considered micro blogging platforms. A blog and a microblog have a big immediate difference and that is the number of characters allowed to communicate. A blog is not meant to keep the user and their audience updated about the day to day activities of the user and vice versa while micro-blogging sites aim to do exactly that.
What’s clear is still that a micro-blogger still doesn’t have a website. And without the presence of a blog- even though you may be ‘micro-blogging’- you’re still an instagrammer or an influencer. Let break it down even further:
Why are bloggers annoyed that you’re calling yourself a blogger?
There is a huge difference in the time required to use Instagram and run a blog. Snapping photos, editing them, writing captions and posting on Instagram does not take hours.
Whereas, for one blog post you’ll need to create a topic, organize your thoughts, write the article (around 500-1000 words), add photos or gifs, adjust the layout, preview it a million times and then publish your post. Moreover, you’ll also need to constantly improve your website layout and functionality which is also time consuming.
As someone who has both a blog and Instagram account I can tell you that Instagram is nowhere near as time consuming as a blog.
Its time for people to face a hard truth- its very easy to cheat your way to popularity on Instagram. And most of the influencers that have gotten popular have played these games to increase their numbers. From selling accounts to joining pods to buying followers to using bots, there are various ways to get popular quickly on Instagram. Its becoming more and more common.
People with brains they use are also starting to notice that Instagram influencers aren’t authentic or genuine. Many just accept paid gigs just to increase their revenue even though they don’t actually use or like the products they are endorsing. They reach out to hotels, companies and brands to get free things in order to promote a lifestyle that screams, “My life is better than yours.” And when you’re sucked in, you start paying money for their eBooks, seminars and retreats to teach you how to emulate their phony lifestyles.
With blogs on the other hand, there is no way to cheat the system that is Google- in fact it works on a pretty simple system. Google’s goal is to answer people’s questions. Not to make money. This means that if your article has good quality, it is written in depth and it has keywords, chances are you’ll get Google traffic. If people like your post, they will also share it and the bulk of your traffic will come from referrals though social media and search engines. If your blog is filled with sponsored posts or reviews with thousands of words about a product you don’t like, people will lose interest and your blog popularity will decrease. There’s no way to buy blog followers to increase your popularity so if a blog has many subscribers, its because of organic growth.
Required Technological expertise
Instagram is pretty easy to use. It’s a simple user-friendly interface which is probably why its so popular.
Building a blog requires more patience, skill and some know-how. Without technical knowledge, you can still build a blog but the website won’t look or function exactly the way you want. It takes a while to master a blogging platform and even longer if you are self hosting your website.
Instagram isn’t in the same league.
To be blunt- You own your blog and you don’t own Instagram, so if Instagram becomes obsolete, which doesn’t look likely in the foreseeable future (but it will eventually, of course) then your blog will always be around.
Don’t get me wrong. I see the merits in both Instagram and blogging. I just don’t consider them to be the same thing for the 4 reasons outlined above. Each one appeals to a different audience and serves a different purpose. Truthfully,
- You don’t need a blog to have Instagram
- You can tell a story on Instagram and on your blog
- People can get to know you through both Instagram and your blog
- You can build a brand and identity through Instagram & a blog
- You don’t need a website to sell things and can make a business through just Instagram.
While Instagram is changing the story-telling game and allowing new ways of creating content, blogs are unlikely to go anywhere in the foreseeable future. However, there’s a lot of room for growth and innovation in the ways which bloggers’ content is found, delivered, and accessed.
What do you think- are instagramming and blogging similar or the same? Let me know in the comments below!