Happy Tuesday, pals!
Ready for the first TGL of 2018? SURPRISE! IT’S FROM ME.
Happy Tuesday, pals!
Ready for the first TGL of 2018? SURPRISE! IT’S FROM ME.
I know I haven’t given you any letters in a while but it’s the holidays and I don’t need your judgment. Plus this post might be a way cooler gift. I promise.
Happy Friday bebes. We cool? I’m cool. It’s the best day of the week, there’s margaritas and tacos (said like taycos because I like the mid west and I want you to feel that from me) in my immediate future, and it’s a “holiday” at the office so the six of us that showed up today are cruising the day out for what seems like the longest 8 hours you could be in an office for.
Whaaaaaat it’s Monday and I have TGL for you, and it’s the week of my wedding and I’m not panicking you’re panicking and I’m hungry? Sweet. Now that you know all about me, let’s do the damn thing.
Good Morning you beautiful souls. It’s Thursday, and I think I am making this a habit to post TGL on Thursdays. It’s a sheer, coincidence but my consistency is on point.
Happy Thursday you guys. It’s almost the weekend and I don’t know weather to cry or drink about it or both so there’s that. It’s been a hellacious week.
As most of you know by now, since Facebook bought our beloved Instagram, the term “shadow ban” is making its way around, adding mass panic to the already menacing new algorithm and I wanted to talk to you about it because it happened to me first hand. Without realizing it, rumors are spiraling and next thing you know you heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend you were caught up in a real life version of REO Speedwagon’s Take It On. Yikes. I’m here to help.
I’ve had so many questions from people and so many DM’s, and also friends that were and are still affected that I wanted to share with you all my research and help that I was able to find during this time I was shunned by the one platform I didn’t think would disappoint me. (Which is exactly why we all have trust issues, Instagram, you’re being like that one oatmeal raisin in a batch of chocolate chip. Can’t even deal with that type of ill fate right now, we are FRAGILE, ok?!)
So I also want to say before I get started that these opinions (not facts) are solely mine and mine alone on this pressing issue. I can only talk about what happened to me, and the steps I took to fix it. I’ll share some resources I found really helpful at the end of this blog. If you or someone you know is affected by the shadow ban, call 1-888-plz-halp. (No don’t, just kidding that was for shits and gigs and dramatic effects.) This blog is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or sponsored by the shadow ban.
So from what I found, the easiest way to start with this is to just explain in my own terms what the shadow ban meant for me. I’m saying the name because if I don’t, it only increases the fear of the thing itself. Mad respect, Hermione.
What It IS:
Since we’re referencing HP here, for the sake of things, think of the shadow ban like this: The Dementor of Instagram sucking out your soul. It kills your engagement on multiple levels, like hiding your posts on public hashtags that you use to aquire new potential followers, or even sometimes your entire profile. It kills your creativity and drive. Your self confidence. Multiple things. Yes, yes we preach all the time, “My art is for me” and yes ok, I get it- that’s so true. But the unavoidable elephant in the room is that small, big, or no business owner alike, each and every one of us gets a taste of euphoria from a rising follower or like count. Admit it. I just did. If you can’t be discovered through hashtags and searches from sharing your art with the world, which is literally the whole way of discovering a new person on Instagram, and the world can’t find you, then how will they know you exist and are making pretty things in your home state of virgniadaholifornia? And then how will you grow? How will you maintain your confidence level? How will you… even?
Signs, Symptoms, & Severities
WARNING: EACH CASE IS SO DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT. THESE ARE JUST SOME SCENARIOS OF THE SHADOW BAN. It seems some bans last for days or weeks even. Luckily for me, my account was only affected for three days that I am truly aware of. I consider myself very fortunate.
If you have noticed a considerable decline in your likes and follows on a daily basis, then most likely Instagram has decided that your posts are spam. I can’t explain what they consider to be spam or not, since there is no admission of this even being a real term but, you know it’s on the internet so it’s true. End of story. Just trust me on this- if it happens to you, you’ll know immediately.
A hashtag can be banned all together (and they will tell you that much on the hashtag page) or just your posts from it. Solid evidence is to use a hashtag on a post and then have an account that DOES NOT follow you (thus emulating the process of a new follower / discovery) check the hashtag. Use a smaller one with less participation or one you’ve made up yourself to lessen the scroll time for a better chance of your post showing up at the top. If that account can’t see your post, then it’s banned from that hashtag thus lowering your engagement level to your post and indirectly, your account as a whole.
I noticed specifically on Monday of this week that my newest posts were being banned, not necessarily my entire account. My content wasn’t showing up in any of the hashtags I was using. I am a perpetual relevance hashtagger, so I was using my iPad tags on iPad posts, and painting tags on painting posts, etc. I know some people aren’t like that and they will hashtag the color of the paint on the wall in the background of their outdoor nature photo, but guys, hear me out. I was devastated when my target audience (hashtag relevance 101) was not able to find my content. What I did find on spam was that if a seemlessly innocent hashtag has been infiltrated with bot activity (AGAIN, HASHTAG RELEVANCE IS SO IMPORTANT, YALL) then Insta could consider your irrelevant post as spam. Make sense?
Something else that can happen is your account will be completely banned from any and all searches but it is important to remember that each case is different. There is no consistency here. The shadow ban test floating out there has also not been proven accurate so if you are judging your engagement level solely on that then you’re not doing yourself justice. Look with your own eyes. I have only seen a few cases where Instagram has shut down comment ability and/or shutting the account totally down. This is something totally different from when Instagram addressed their security breach in their blog which you can read on your own. I did. Don’t expect the answers you seek.
On the Mend
Some things you can do to help lift this darkness is to lower your participation level in your account for a few days. For me this was easy to do, since I was literally crushed to find out that no one new would be able to see my account. I didn’t feel like painting or creating and I ignored my iPad like it was a bad breakup. I checked some messages here and there in my small circle, mostly, but I responded to zero comments and liked zero pictures because in all reality Instagram does have comment and like limits. I wanted to make sure Insta knew my comment sprees were because I liked everyone for real, not because I was a robot. I don’t know the time frame such as if it’s per day or per hour, but you can read about them in the Terms and Conditions if you are a body that has time for that. (I did on my hiatus.)
I strongly suggest reporting the problem in your settings tab multiple times a day. Instagram’s T&C’s explain how to report a problem. Be specific in your statements, but don’t over analyze. I said ” Hello, my content is not showing up in the public hashtag pages I am using. I posted on an iPhone 7 from the latest version of Instagram. Please help me fix this. Thank you.” All the articles I read said to avoid saying your engagement is low because this is not Instagram’s problem. (Technically.) Yes, you’ll be reporting to the same robots that consider you the robot probably, and while there’s massive irony in that, at least it is documented. I believe this does help. Feel free to use my statement above in your own reports and alter it as you see fit.
Try deleting the app and staying logged out for a few days. As of Monday insta has a new update, so I would install the latest version and log back in. This may allow your account to reset.
I also went through and cleaned up my profile. Instead of deleting the hashtags off of posts, I deleted some posts in their entirety from #FRIDAYLETTERSWITHLO because I mean I was drunk and obnoxious probably and like.. I legit spammed once or fifty times ok? So for good measure (and better aesthetics) I cleaned up my act a little bit. For now, I’ve also decided to end Friday letters. Just for now, calm down. I want to see how this pans out. The next day, I kid you not, my account was functioning normally and I had 15 new lettering account content based followers. (Something I also noticed was that while I was banned I did have a small number of followers still happening, just all random types of people that seemed to have no interest in hand lettering. Just thought that was weird. Bots?)
I stopped posting six times a day. I’m trying now to use my stories more and only do about two or so actual posts. I lowered my hashtags as well on each post and I am now alternating the ones I use daily. My engagement is back to what I know as normal as far as I can see, but I am still taking these precautions since I don’t know if it can happen again.
I have several articles saved and a Google doc from @jesstipletters which she openly invited anyone to message her about to receive. I have it as well if you don’t know her and want to get it from me on her behalf. It’s an excellent read.
Please also visit change.org and search for Adele Giles’ shadow ban petition. You can sign it and add yourself to list of people ready to keep fighting this.
This was my all time fav article to date. Insanely helpful:
If you guys have any questions, please message me. If I can help, you know I will.
I am doubling down today on TGL for a few reasons. Here’s why:
Heyyyyy! So this was supposed to be posted MONDAY but I had some technical difficulties as in, I’m technically difficult and can’t even anything right now because my brain has literally gone missing. Anyone seen it? Continue reading “@lexicon.studios”
Hey buds! It’s been a hot minute, lo siento, amigos. But it’s Giving Letter Thursday. Who’s amped?
Happy Monday Y’all! Who’s ready for more Giving Letters??!! Continue reading “Sam Za Writes”
I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS IN THE AIR TONIGHT PHIL COLLINS BUT LET ME JUST SAY A FEW THINGS AND CLEAR SOME OF THAT SPACE REALLY FAST. Continue reading “#COMMUNITY OVER COMPETITION”
OK HIIII!!!! I HAVE ALOT TO TALK ABOUT!
Discouragement is a real thing. Let me help you overcome it here:
FREE C & D PRACTICE SHEETS ARE HERE, AND WE BE STROKIN’ Continue reading “The Down Strokes”
Hellooooooo Babes. Happy Friday! Who wants to know about almost free photo hacked brightness no matter what kind of lighting you have? Continue reading “Insider Tips for a Brighter Instagram Photo”
I get really passionate about a lot of things. I’m not sure if anyone noticed that yet. I try to be as positive and as real as possible. But sometimes, the real turns into real shit that’s hard to hear. But hear me out, y’all.
Hey all my friends!! I hope everyone had a really nice, really safe, 3rd degree burn-free but lots of libation sipping Fourth of July!! Continue reading “The Giving Letters”
Happy Friday Sugars. We made another week happen, because how much do we rock?
We’re half way there y’all. It’s almost Friday Letters. It’s almost the weekend. Not really, but I’m just over here all pretending and stuff. It actually is almost July in real life, GAHD WHAT?! But with July comes the Bro Challenge, my day of birth celebration, super summer patriotic AF vibes, etc.
Since I only had a teensy bit of work to do this morning and it’s done, for now, I thought about something on the way here since it felt like everyone was driving so slow, or maybe I was just trying to drive too fast, probs. Either way it gave me an idea.
I work about 10 minutes from my house. Kind of. So, after my daily Starbs run, getting through the main gate on the Army post, driving all the way, and I mean ALLLL the way to the back of the island, into the swamp, and on to the air strip (yes, I heart jet noise, aka helicopters flying over my head all day every day) it takes me roughly 25 mins out of 10 to actually get here.
I reflect a lot on that time- it’s really quiet and the drive is pretty and usually I am graced with at least one idiot who may have bought their license at WalMart because if we can be really real, we can’t drive under any circumstances in VA. And we know it.
But today, since everyone was moving abnormally slow, especially the MP who checked my access badge at the gate this morning, I got to thinking.
So I pull up and roll my window down, super sleepy and he, super-slothy, reaches for my ID and so I super-duper slothy reach it towards him to hand it over. He noticed behind my wayfarers that I wasn’t exactly smiling so he says, “Look at this lady, just as pretty, and smiling and she just couldn’t wait to get back here and embrace the Wednesday!”
I laughed. For real laughed not just like a “heh, k bud.” I think him and I just had a moment.
So I get to moving again and for some reason I wasn’t irritated at all that everyone around me was literally in slow motion. (I swear I am going somewhere with this y’all stay with me.) Normally I get agitated. Nothing crazy you know, just the normal scoff here and there, and the slight, whiney, raised-voiced question “whyyyyyyyyyyy-uuhhh?!” when someone serves me any sort of traffic injustice.
But then I just kept thinking how thankful I was that I wasn’t at work yet, because I really hadn’t had that much coffee so far, and surprisingly, for once, I wasn’t pushing the envelope of non-compliant punctuality like I usually do. So I had extra time to think about my blog today. After all of that, I realized I wanted to talk about PACE, since everyone was kinda doing their own pace-ish thing today.
Pace is something most of us don’t care to abide by if we really think about it. Some of us take off running. Others just drive really. Really. REALLY slow to work. But it’s a very important part of our lives on a daily basis. Pace can be stressful. Going too fast, or too slow even can take your mind and twist it around pillars it was never meant to endeavor.
I didn’t realize how important pace was for and to me, until really recently. We see other people doing these really awesome things and we think way too soon “I’m doing that. Head first.” We tend to not consider how hard we just made it for ourselves. At least I did. I saw tons of products and tools and tips and tricks and THINGS I wanted to do so badly so suddenly. So I went out, and I bought so many mediums. Watercolor, Tombows, paint markers, chalk markers, wood, all kinds of paper. Spent tons of money on things I had no idea how to use but at the time, I was hella confident I would succeed immediately and be an instantly gratified pro with no regard for the potential aftermath. I didn’t even consider what I bought, was at the time, way out of my league. I dove in head first. Drove way too fast. Got the speeding ticket of all speeding tickets in the art community- shit it was more like reckless driving. And I live in a commonwealth so they look for the suckers, and trust me. I got got.
I got to a point where I realized and literally asked myself:
“what did I just do?”
I cannot stress to you enough, the importance of taking YOUR time. Without even realizing it, you can overwhelm yourself. If you try to learn too many things at once, your brain will literally not allow you to retain what you’ve just done once you move on to something else too soon. If you get frustrated, seriously, take a break.
My mistakes I made with pace, one of the biggest ones, was not letting myself breathe. I was so ready and so stubborn to learn Tombow, water color, brush lettering, blending. drop shadow, ect that I forgot to focus on the basics. And I suffered really bad. I didn’t realize I was rushing myself.
I thoroughly enjoy sharing my experiences with you. My mistakes, and shortcomings are slowly but surely turning into better things I can say I really love and am totally comfortable with doing, and I would rather tell you about them, and hope that you absorb what I am saying, because these methods are tried and true.
Here’s a few more things I really want to learn:
Maybe next year I’ll look into those things. Now is not the right time for me, and I know that. Right now, I am dedicated to my watercolors, round brushes, and Tombow Fudes because, I mean. Fude soft tips are all the lady boners, so.
I have more mediums than I know what to do with. But I really think if we pick something we like the most (don’t look at me with those eyes, I know it’s hard to choose) and stay laser focused on that, we will really find that everything else we try becomes a little easier. Even if it’s those letter studies I talked about yesterday. Strictly galaxies, or succulents with watercolors. Letter formations. Flourishing. Take each one of these things and DO YOU, FOR YOU, AT YOUR OWN PACE. Take your time. If you set something aside, as long as you remember where you put it, it will be waiting for you when you come back. When you’re ready.
Hang in there. Remember to breathe. Take it easy on yourself. You’re doing just fine. I promise.