New Instagram features sometimes arrive with a lot of overture and pageantry (hello, no likes) and sometimes with absolutely none. That’s why when I noticed a bunch of new features in the app today, I thought I’d mention them. Mainly because a bunch of the new 2020 Instagram features are super. damn. cool. Ok, here we go.
Feature #1 – sort following by date
One of the newest instagram features is the ability to sort who you follow based on date. That is, who you followed way back when, and who you’ve followed recently. (Or first and last). This allows you to make sure you check in regularly with your oldest friends and to interact with new peeps who may not pop up in your feed yet.
Feature #2 – filtering by interaction
As I mentioned above, you can now sort who you follow based on latest or earlier. Well, on top of this nifty new feature, you can also now check out who of your followed peeps you interact with most, and least, and who is most shown in your feed. Cool, huh? Think of it as a funky way to figure out who you’re missing out on and who you’re getting a good daily dose of. This is what it looks like.
Feature #3 – GIF story responses
Quick reactions are great – but there ain’t a whole lot of ’em. And sometimes you need to say something more than just love heart eyes or 100% emoji. Well, the newest update now allows you to respond to your friends stories with a Giphy gif. (Homer Simpson style “Woo hoo!”) To use it, just download the newest update and tap the “Send message” response bar at the bottom, like you normally would for a quick reaction, and you’ll see the gif option in the far right corner.
Feature #4 – DMs have moved
You probably noticed this one because Instagram notified you. Yep, your DMs are no longer in the top right hand corner, they now live along the bottom bar of your feed, one position from the right where your notifications used to be. But wait, where are my likes and comments and other notifications?? Well, that brings me to feature number five.
Feature #5 – likes/comments/mentions and other notifications have moved too
Ok, I know, technically I could have mentioned this in the previous feature, but “four new instagram features” just didn’t quite have the same ring to it. Yep, you’ll now find all your normal like, comment and story mention notifications where your DMs used to be. Not gonna lie, it’s a liiiiiiittle weird to get used to. I kinda feel like likes belong in the main feed and dms belong elsewhere, but I get the sense that this change is part of Instagram’s move towards more “meaningful relationships”.
DMs kinda used to be easy to ignore, especially when you were focused on your feed… but now that they live in the bottom bar, where all the important other stuff is, they’re gonna be front and centre of mind.
A Louis Vuitton Beauty Filter isn’t something that I’d normally blog about. LV beauty filter is gorgeous – don’t get me wrong – it’s as perfect a filter as you can get! It’s just not something I’d normally spend time writing about.
Look, I love having a Louis Vuitton logo on my face as much as the next fashion-obsessed girl… and my feed is proof of that. I was just surprised to get so many requests for the link to this filter. It seems like not many other grammers are willing to share links to the ones that are hard to find.
And maybe that’s why some of the best filters (like LV beauty) can be almost impossible to get your hands on – no one bothers to spend time linking to them or keeping a list of where they are.
Fair warning: this filter does not seem to exist on Instagram anymore. Sendom – the creator – does have it in his IG highlights, but it no longer seems to live on the platform anymore. (Which is probably why so many people are having trouble finding it.)
If you want to use it, you need to go via this link to Sendom’s Instagram highlights, then swipe up to use the Filter in Facebook. Then save/download your video or snap and upload it to Instagram. (I’ve tried multiple times to save the facebook link but I can’t get it to work.)
I know, super complicated, right? Ahhh the things we do for fashion.
If there’s one 90s cartoon that had its #girlpowergoals sorted early, it was Kim Possible. So when I spotted these cargo pants at Target (yes, believe it or not) I knew exactly which tv heroine to channel.
My kicks are from Siren Shoes and are on insanely high rotation right now, because they give me a bit of height and they’re super comfy. Can’t say that about many shoes, can you?
The Fleetwood Mac tee is also from Target and I thrifted the shades from the Red Cross.
Last but not least: that. bumbag. I KNOW. You’ll be seeing a lot more of it and hearing a lot more about it, but for now I’ll let you know that it’s Decjuba and it looks a lot more expensive than it really is. If you are in the market for a bumbag or belt bag, I highly recommend checking them out —especially for black with attitude.
Social media anxiety is a real thing. I even coined a term or two for it back in the early days of Instagram: insta-freeze or status anxiety. Basically, both of these words describe a state where you’ve overthought a post (or just posting in general) to the point where you can’t post it anymore. In my early days on Facebook and Instagram in particular, I used to do this all the time.
For example: I’d have a photograph that I felt really good about, but then I’d actually log into the app and scroll through what everyone else was posting and get more and more down because what I was doing wasn’t as good as what they were doing. It actually got to the point where I stopped logging in for a huge chunk of time because I felt like I wasn’t good enough to even be on instagram. Horrible thing to admit, isn’t it? But that’s what an app that’s driven by highlights does.
Social media anxiety is real
91% of us use social media for work and play. And since its introduction, rates of anxiety and depression have sharply increased. Researcher Dr Richelle Mayshak from Deakin’s School of Psychology believes this is because many people only post the ‘highlights’ of their lives online and keep unflattering or real issues they may be facing to themselves.
Another study found that the increased levels of anxiety and depression seemed to be linked to social comparison. Which basically means, the minute you start comparing yourself to other people, you feel like crap. Which is essentially what happened to me and why I decided to remove myself from social for a time.
How to not feel like crap on social media
Social media anxiety sucks. And look, there are some people who will tell you to just stay away… but I feel like there are better solutions. There is some research says that removing yourself completely from social media works. But that may not be completely feasible if it’s your job, or necessary for social reasons. And based on my experience, removing yourself completely from a lot of these platforms can make you feel just as left out.
Even if you don’t want to deal with the feelings of anxiety, just being around other people who are taking boomerangs or silly photos that they’re sharing, kinda leads to feelings of FOMO. So, while I understand that sometimes this is the only solution, I reckon that developing a few rules of engagement is far more productive.
And Dr Mayshak seems to agree: “it’s important to be aware of your own mental health when using social media, and more generally too.” Awareness seems to be the best first step for mediating feelings of anxiety and depression.
And I think because I’ve been there, in terms of social media anxiety, I’ve become quite good at being aware of what causes that type of anxiety. And the way I do it is pretty simple – I have rules. And I developed them by making a list of those social media habits or tendencies that I know for sure make me feel crappy. I thought it might be useful for others experiencing something similar, so I thought I’d share my list here.
5 rules for staying sane on social media
➤ Stay in your lane: It’s really easy to get caught up in what other people are doing. Try not to worry about that and just do YOUR thing. What other people are doing, which hashtags they’re using and what’s working for them, is good to know, but they’re not you, ok? You do you.
➤ Don’t use social media when you feel crappy: Instagram and Facebook (and even LinkedIn) are highlight reels, we know this, and yet for some reason we get on here when we’re bored or feeling flat. That way lies madness, friends. Stay off the socials if you’re not feeling amazing about your life. It’s just better for you.
➤ no rabbit holes: Big one for me. If I find myself falling into someone else’s feed or profile and thinking how wonderful their life looks and how easy things must be for them. I shut the app. Full stop. Rabbit holes don’t help anyone. If you find yourself staring at someone’s feed for longer than it takes to appreciate what they’re doing or find out the info you needed, tap out.
➤ It’s ok to unfollow and mute: If someone makes you feel anxious or down, whether by having a “too-good-to-be-true-life” or just because all they seem to share is stuff that makes you feel small, it is ok to mute them or unfollow them. That is your prerogative. Great creators and leaders know how to share things from a place of positivity. Even if it’s good news, great leaders know how to share it in a way that inspires the community and lifts others up.
➤ Take a day off: I knew I had to do this when I started mentally planning angles, captioning photos and thinking about which hashtags to target when I really should’ve been enjoying something. Don’t let this social media shit take over your life. It’s not your life, it’s just a reflection of it. Remember that.
Do you have any rules that you live by to protect your mental health?
What do you do when you’ve been blocked from Instagram?
What do you do if you’ve been banned or blocked from Instagram? And what do you do when Instagram is the one that’s blocked you? Sigh. Well, if you’re anything like me, you take pensive looking photos, for one. (See above: example A). You also scream, shout, have multiple temper tantrums, throw things and curl into an anxious little ball before rocking yourself back and forth like a child. (Overshare? Ok! Moving right along.) And if you’re someone who has trouble sitting still, like me… then you also work on “other stuff.” Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, blogging and so on.
But before we talk about what to do when you’ve been banned, let’s start at the beginning, and first talk about how to not get banned. It’s a pretty short story, really.
The best thing to do is not get blocked in the first place. Duh.
And the best way to do that, is to not violate instagram’s terms of service and not act in a way that might lead the app to believe you could be. It’s also important to not act in a way that might appear to be spammy.
What do I mean by that? I mean that Instagram puts a lock, of sorts, on your account if you do certain things too much. Those things include:
* liking too many posts in a row (30 is the limit) * commenting on too many posts in a row (30 is the limit) * commenting the same thing over and over again * following and/or unfollowing too many people in a row (30 is the limit)
So, how do you know if you doing that? Well, instagram hasn’t actually published any limits and opinions vary, but by far the best definition that I’ve read of these limits is as follows:
You can have 60 “meaningful relationships” or interactions on the platform per hour. That includes: liking, commenting and following or unfollowing. And it includes combinations of the above.
So, if you, for example, follow 20 people, unfollow ten, like ten posts and then comment on 20, then that’s your 60 “relationships” done and dusted for the hour.
Instagram may block or shadow ban accounts that use hashtags which have been flagged or reported for inappropriate or misleading content. To see if this is the issue, the best tactic is to remove all your hashtags from old posts. This is a labour intensive process, to be sure, but it’s the only known strategy for removing a shadow ban or block that’s been incurred for use of flagged, inappropriate or reported hashtags.
Instagram will also block accounts that log in from multiple locations. This is considered “spammy” behaviour, so it will incur the app’s wrath.
To avoid getting banned for this reason, don’t give anyone else your Instagram username or password. Apps that allow you to post remotely or schedule posts like Later.com or SkedSocial seem to be on the approved list, but any automated services that promise to build your following are not. Some examples of these include: SocialCruise.ai, InstaZood and Gramto.
What about automation tools?
Automation tools like those mentioned above actually violate Instagram’s terms of service. Why? Because they interact in an unnatural “spammy” way. Any tool that makes a large number of calls to the Instagram API that’s not primarily in response to direct user actions (i.e. unnatural) is likely to be rate-limited or blocked.
As a general rule, logging in from your laptop and your phone, both based in Sydney, Australia doesn’t seem to create an issue, until a third location is added that isn’t in the same city. I incurred this problem when I hired a freelancer from Bangladesh to help build my following by engaging with followers of similar accounts. (This was a terrible idea, by the way. I spent the next few weeks completely unable to post, like or comment. My following did grow, but was it worth it for the followers I lost not being able to post for two weeks? Not really.)
Once my account was tagged for too many logins from different places or too many calls to the Instagram API, I couldn’t even use Later.com (a normally approved tool) to schedule posts.
If you do find yourself seeing the “action blocked” dialogue and you feel that you haven’t been using the app as much as they seem to think you have, it may be time to review who has access to your Instagram. Perhaps your intern has been attempting to build your following in her spare time? Or perhaps you allowed someone else admin privileges and forgot to revoke them? Whatever the case, here is where a simple password change can make a big difference.
Understanding Instagram’s limits and why they exist.
Instagram, itself, has said that it exists to enable “meaningful relationships.” The best way to understand why Instagram does the things it does is to understand one simple fact: Instagram is a user-generated platform. It exists solely for the benefit of its users. That’s right. Although your business advertising expenditure may help to fund it’s existence, and although my creativity and content creation may keep people coming back, it exists for the users. Period.
So, anything that you do as a business or that I do as a creator must be seen through the eyes of how it’s going to impact the user. Instagram will (quite sensibly, really, when you think about it) favour businesses and creators who inform and entertain, who keep people on the platform and who keep them coming back. Anything that you do which may drive people out of the platform (i.e. spammy comments, over-zealous liking, or –– and this is a big one –– using the follow unfollow method) is going to be looked at unfavourably by Instagram.
The follow/unfollow method
In 2020, Instagram is, in particular, cracking down on follow/unfollow and on any automated tools. It’s actually against their code of conduct to use any automated tools for the sole purpose of building your following. The reason for this is, again, because it benefits you and not the users.
They haven’t published any nitty-gritty numbers about follow and unfollow limits, but based on my experience, you should not follow or unfollow any more than 19 accounts per hour. (Based on my experience, the limit at which your account is flagged for review or tagged for a block is 20 per hour, so it’s best to stay under it.)
The best way to understand why Instagram does the things it does is to understand one simple fact: Instagram is a user-generated platform. It exists solely for the benefit of its users.
Ok, so you did the wrong thing and got blocked. Now what?
Whoops. Look, we’ve all been there. You get excited by cool new content and you over-zealously comment on one too many posts in an hour. Or you try a little too hard to build your following and accidentally unfollow too many people in an hour. It happens. Don’t feel bad.
Generally a block will expire in 24-48 hours, assuming you haven’t done the wrong thing for weeks on end. For the most part, Instagram will generally include an expiration date on the “action blocked” dialogue.
Usually, you’ll be blocked from liking, commenting, posting, following and unfollowing all at once. For some reason, they still allow you post and view access to stories.
How to remove an Instagram block
The best things you can do if you find yourself blocked from using Instagram are as follows:
1. Use the “report a problem” button below the block notification to let Instagram know that you’re: a) not a robot b) actually using the application
2. Go to the “something’s not working” section in your settings and do the same. Be specific. Tell them your account is blocked from posting/commenting/liking (or whatever is appropriate) and tell them when the block first appeared.
3. Log out. Go cold turkey and stay. away. from. Instagram. Resist any urge to “check if the block has been removed”. In my experience, any interaction with the app just extends the block. For some reason, even though you can post to stories while blocked from other actions, this also seems to extend the block. Both times that my account has been blocked, the block has been removed after 24 hours of inactivity (including not posting to stories.)
4. Do. Something. Else. Write a poem, share your wisdom in a blog, start a Tumblr, update your LinkedIn profile, schedule a bunch of Facebook posts, or – shock horror – emerge from under your social media blanket and interact with real people for a change. I know, I know… desperate times.
Hope you enjoyed this blog on the ins and outs of Instagram blocks. Have you ever found yourself blocked from the gram? Did you find these tips helpful? Let me know in the comments!
When I first started blogging (like, three or so blogs ago) I described myself as an “appreciator of beautiful things and people.” At the time (2010) it was kind of a hard thing to explain to people… but since then, aesthetica and the appreciation thereof has become a bona fide stand alone industry in its own right. It kind of happened while I wasn’t looking, I guess, and when I started blogging again this year, I came across the hashtag #postitfortheaesthetics and… I was like “OMG cool! These are my people!”
In the past few months, Instagram has reinforced my obsession with all things aesthetic. And the amazing people I’m currently following inspire my vibe and make me appreciate their incredible creative abilities every single day. And I love that it is a thing now!
Side note: I’ve recently started a tumblr, so thought I’d share some of those items over here. If you’re keen to check out some of my more aesthetic focused stuff, please feel free to follow me: https://somestylishchick.tumblr.com/
p.s. two of these photos are mine. Can you pick them? Holler at me in the comments if so! X
Is there anything better than a basic black and white look with a denim jacket? I. think. not. Strangely enough, not a single item I’m wearing is brand new. I put this outfit together about two months into my fashion blogging journey, when I started to panic that I was running out of outfits. Instead of using it as an excuse to buy more stuff, I saw it as a challenge to get creative with the way I put together the things that I already owned. Because if there’s one thing my wardrobe doesn’t need, it’s a load of new clothes. And if there’s one thing the world doesn’t need, it’s more fast fashion being thrown away.
So, I got creative. I started looking at how to create different combinations from things I already owned. And I had fun with it too, I grabbed a glass of chardy, put some music on and spent some quality time with my clothes and the mirror. I normally wear this tee with jeans, and this skirt with a black cami or some other luxe black top, and (if I’m completely honest) I haven’t worn this denim jacket much recently, aside from as a last minute “just in case I’m cold” addition to a Friday night dress.
This little exercise has made me wonder what else I can create, if I just set my mind to it. Which, in my honest opinion, is a good thing. For my wallet, and for the planet.
Side note: a few peeps on Instagram wondered where I shot this. I joked about being in LA (I’m not), because that was definitely the vibe I was going for. In fact, I shot it in Circa Boulevard, Norwest (which is in north western Sydney.) Proof that constant location scouting and an inability to turn off one’s brain sometimes has unexpected side benefits.