The Booksta Mentality: Social Pressure

blue-book-circle“I just do this for fun.”

“I came here to just make friends, the number of likes and followers doesn’t really matter.”

Everyone seems to say these things at one point or another in their bookstagram journey, so,then why are these statements always followed by some negative ones?:

“Why am I not getting as many likes on my pictures as usual?”

“I hate my feed at the moment.”

“I lost X number of followers yesterday.”

“Instagram’s new algorithm really sucks; so many people are missing my pictures.”

Why don’t we just take a step back and be honest here.  Sure, making friends is amazing img_2958and wonderful, but we are all striving for bigger, better accounts….constantly.  It’s the reason we hold ‘shoutout for shoutout’ contests, it’s the reason we agonize over the number of likes we have on our pictures.  Yes, I think being popular is awesome , but maybe what we all really want and need is to be recognized for our creative work.

For those that follow me on Instagram, you know that I decided to take a step back last week and give myself a few days off of social media.  I was starting to feel like posting was a chore, rather than a hobby.  There was always something going on, and I HAD to keep responding to comments and catching up on liking my friends pictures and trying not to miss my post notifications and stressing about completing challenges… do you see where this is going?

I lost track of why I started my bookstagram in the first place: to be creative.  And to talk to people who were as passionate about books as I was.  (There are only so many times a girl can try to explain the plot of Throne of Glass to her boyfriend before she just has to give up.)

Instagram is just a creative outlet, and the bookstagram niche refines and hones that creativity to a particular topic.  Sure, explaining to a stranger that “I take pictures solely of books for my Instagram” sounds batty, but then again, sky diving is pretty insane too.  It was like I forgot that bookstagram is a hobby; I sure as shit am not getting paid for taking pretty pictures and stressing about my feed, SO WHY AM I STRESSING SO MUCH?!

img_5102There is so much pressure to deliver original, A+ content on a regular basis, that the pressure just compounded itself and felt overwhelming.  Where did this standard come from?  Why do I feel the need to post regularly?  For me, regularly posting meant at least once a day, sometimes more, and I felt that when I didn’t stick to that schedule, I was socially punished.  Either I was either losing followers, or, in my extremely skewed mind, I felt that people were just going to forget about me and my bookstagram existence.

But it is not just posting regularly that was stressing me out.  It was my lack of a coherent ‘theme,’ so to speak.  Many people on social media (not just bookstagrammers, mind you) stick to a certain type of picture that either reflects their aesthetic, or just all go well together.  I was posting a picture, checking my overall feed, not looking at the picture individually, and hating it.

The whites were off-color. 

The sun was too bright.

The shadows were too dark. 

It was too nature-y.

my trash needs to stop looking like this

Everything was too too too, and I was really struggling with being happy in my own creative outlet…. that I made for me to be happy.  It is such a weird situation that I put myself in, and it is time to remove myself from.

Okay.  So, we have addressed the problem.  Most of us are aware that the problem exists.  Most of us privately acknowledge the problem, maybe some of us have even admitted to it (i.e. me.)  SO HOW DO WE FIX THE PROBLEM?

Everyone is different.  I am not advertising that I have the know-all, end-all solution for your bookstagram blues.  But, I know how I am going to combat mine.

  1. img_2399I deleted the apps that track who follows me and who unfollows me.  Is it that important to my health?  No.  Honestly, it is a source of frustration and spite.  So: bye, Crowdfire.  Bye, Instatrack.  You are no longer needed by little ol’ deertales.
  2. I am no longer going to be posting every day. Sure, there will be 7 days in a row that I come up with a creative picture, but posting just because I need to get in my challenge pic for the day?  Nope, not happening anymore.
  3. No more rep searches.  At least for a while.  This is self-explanatory I think.  Rejection sucks, no matter who you are.  And I am working on being happy, so I don’t need any of that in my life, no thank you.
  4. No ‘shoutout for shoutouts’.  I am trying not to focus on who follows me and who unfollows me remember?
  5. Off go the post notifications.  Yes, I want to love and support my friends, but getting 40 push notifications throughout the day was driving me to near madness.  I sincerely hope that everyone understands if I don’t like or comment on your picture, it is just because I have yet to see it.

img_5637And, that is it for now.  I think starting small with a few main focuses for the next couple of months will help bring me back to the pureness of bookstagram.  You know, the reading part?  The part where you interact with people you have made friends with?

So, there it is.  I have laid bare my social woes with you, and I hope you still love me.  (Can’t shake all of the pressure to be liked now can I?)  I am super curious to know how you all deal with the bookstagram blues, or if you even have them at all, so let me know in the comments!  Or you could always contact me via Instagram, although don’t expect an immediate response, because you know, those post notifications…..



18 thoughts on “The Booksta Mentality: Social Pressure

  1. Yes! I love this post. I especially resonated with the ‘having to post every day’ bit. What is this irrational thought we all have about people forgetting us (I have the same worry)? Or how we post about taking a hiatus or a break LIKE PEOPLE ACTUALLY CARE. No one is thinking, “hmmm I haven’t seen the bandar blog post a photo in 2 days, I wonder what’s happening.” There are so many social pressures with all of this – blogging, bookstagramming, etc – but I am so glad to hear that you’re taking the steps to rise above them, especially if they’re making you feel crappy! You go girl! And all of your followers who care about you will still be following you no matter what (:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you ali! when i realized the regularly posting thing actually meant ‘post whenever you feel like it’, my life changed. i think its insane that we convince ourselves that people actually unfollow us because we didnt post a picture today. what is wrong with our brains!?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for posting this girl!! YOU are awesome. YOU are amazing. I SIMPLY adore your feed (alas, I’m on a long hiatus for now so I miss your photos) and all of your pictures are so pretty. I mean legit pretty. My theme is a brown/cream/rose/yellow/black /white contrast one(that’s a mouthful I know) lol. And yes. I really love the community for its warmth that just hugs you and makes you feel good! I can’t wait to get back on bookstagram.. but until I have spent some time on school, creative writing, stuff like that, you know. It’s difficult sometimes to juggle things together, so I decided taking a break was essential to bring out positive vibes in my photos and also chew people up! ONCE AGAIN I LOOOOOVE YOUR PHOTOS CUPCAKE!! 🌌😍


    1. awww no thank you!!!! lots of bookstagram hugs to go around today, that certainly combats the blues. i love your theme, and im glad you are taking a hiatus for you. thank you for all the wonderful feedback XOXO!!!


  3. My thoughts exactly! I’ve turned my post notifications off now too. If I can’t find inspiration for pictures then I will miss a day. I had to impose a buying ban on props too- it was getting expensive, 😱 I love this post Syd 🙌🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post. I started my bookstagram because I wanted to be able to talk about books with people. Do I stress about my followers and likes no but that doesn’t mean that I don’t notice when I have gained some or lost some. People all the time talk about following a theme but I personally don’t think you always have to do that. Of course having a theme looks really nice and professional looking but I’m no professional. I am currently not in a situation where I am able to buy all these props or setting up certain places to take pictures so I just make do with what I have. Sometimes I stress over the whole thing but trying to take 1 picture for 30 minutes I usually a just like whatever this will do. I hope the changes you are making work out for you.


    1. hi misty! sorry for the late response, but yes! i think its natural for us to stress to want to deliver something that is quality that we ourselves can be happy with… unfortunately when it gets to the point that your general stress level rises, you know youre doing something wrong. I am so happy to hear that you just do you, thats what i am trying to implement. thank you for commenting and following, it makes my day!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Very well said!! I think this needs to be read by all the bookstagrammers out there because this is exactly how each and everyone of us feel!
    I find getting away from it all really helps. Bookstagram is supposed to be fun and not a liability!


    1. asma, YES! i am so happy to hear that you agree. I think everyone is afraid of admitting their insecurities, and that is probably part of the problem too! we all need to just relax and have fun, there is no need to put pressure on ourselves no matter what the circumstances! unless bookstagram pays your bills. then yes, stress away! 😉


  6. Yes yes yes! All of this! I used to have a baking blog that I started for fun. And then the food blog world exploded and suddenly there was so much pressure to have a “professional” site that was custom designed (which is $$$$), recipes that had WAY too many ingredients simply because it was “original”, an entire kitchen of mismatched dishes to use as props, and if you didn’t have a proposal and a deal for your own cookbook, why bother? So I got out. It wasn’t fun anymore.

    But I still loved the idea of blogging. So I turned to books. And that led me to Bookstagram. Which, I’m noticing more each day, has gone the path of food blogs. It’s all about themes and props and followers. If you’re not a rep or you’re not getting ARCs from publishers on a daily basis, who are you? And I’ll admit, I’ve fallen into the trap. I tried to create a theme. I bought fake flowers. I ran my own monthly challenge from 2 different accounts (personal and work). And it sucked every bit of joy out of it.

    I see so many posting “sorry I’ve been so inactive!” Hate to say it… but I didn’t even notice they were gone. Not that I don’t love their pictures. Not that I don’t like and comment on them regularly. It’s just that I follow 400+ accounts. I can’t keep track of them all. And that has helped me realize that everyone else is in the same boat. If I don’t post every single day, no one notices. Because I’m lost in a sea of others. Which is perfectly fine. That thought has made it easier for me to scale back on the stress of it all. I’ll just take the pretty pictures I want to take, post them when I want, and interact with those who take the time to interact with me. And if I want to post a picture of my cat or a rainbow outside my house every once in a while, then theme be damned.

    Sorry this turned into it’s own blog post…


    1. danae! i love your story, that is so interesting about your food blog, definitely do NOT apologize for the long caption, it was very enjoyable to read. and shows that maybe i should rename this series from “booksta mentality” to simply the social media mentality. there is SO many aspects of social media that make you better or worse than someone else and that is bullshit.

      honestly your point about the “sorry ive been inactive thing” oMG i think that every single time i see someone say that. and the same with when people ask for input on their theme. ITS YOUR THEME. ITS YOUR ACCOUNT. JUST DO YOU.

      ok caps lock off, but thank you so much for commenting this and sharing. I hope you dont let the bookstagram blues get to you like the food blog blues, but if they do, my DMs and emails are always open. XOXO


    1. bailey my friend! thank you so much for the confidence boost! I was just lost in the bookstagram blues, I think i have pulled myself out of my slump so i feel much better. baby steps to success! XOXO

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, thank you for posting this! I joined Bookstagram and created a book blog a little over a year ago and found Insta to be one of my main outlets and creative spots. But slowly it grew into something nagging and negative, the sick feeling that my photos weren’t good enough, why don’t I have more followers, why is it taking me so long to grow, etc. I often tell myself to take a step back, THIS IS FOR FUN , just a creative outlet, who cares how many followers as long as YOU ARE CREATING. So I try to remind myself that every time I feel like venturing into instanegativeness. For the most part I have really enjoyed it but again reading your article really hit all those underlying tones of social media.

    Liked by 1 person

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