Attention spans and Instagram: does anyone even read blogs anymore?


With Instagram making a name as the go-to platform for fashion inspiration, the latest latte trend, your next holiday destination and everything in between; where does longer form content fit in with today’s digital users?


Once again, I’m weighing in on the app we love to hate – Instagram. But this time, I’m not here bemoaning the algorithm or the endless pursuit of perfection that Instagram inspires.

This time, I want to talk less about the app, and more about its users. Because at the end of the day, Instagram may have made life living hell for influencers, yet we’re all still on it.

We’re still trying to grow that follower number.

Still standing on chairs to achieve the perfect flatlay.

Still choosing tables in restaurants based on the best lighting.

Still desperately devouring strategies that promise to ‘beat the algorithm’.

Still frequenting #aesthetic haunts for their Instagram-ability (see also: Elan café).

Why?

Because Instagram’s a bloody popular app. Everyone’s uses it.

Attention spans & Instagram: does anyone even read blogs anymore?

Facebook lost it’s ‘cool’ factor years ago. Everyone hates the Snapchat update, and thanks to Rihanna it’s doesn’t look set to recover anytime soon. Twitter’s cool, but its users are pretty ‘niche’; favoured by fandoms, fellow bloggers and the super famous.

But that girl who sits across from you at work? She’s on Instagram.

That boy at the bus stop? Scrolling through the ‘gram.

The barista who made your coffee this morning? Checks Instagram on their breaks.

As a user, Instagram is fun and incredibly addictive. It’s visual, fast-paced, and crucially; doesn’t require the same commitment that a blog post commands.

You don’t have type out a comment telling that girl you like their bag, you just double-tap a heart their way. And when you do, you can be emailed a link to buy the bag yourself.

There’s no clunky ‘scrolling-through-a-blog-post’ malarky. As Hannah Gale so expertly put it: “Instead of reading 500 words and looking at 17 images of one outfit, I want to look at one image of said outfit, then skim read the 50-word caption and then tap to see where everything is from.” (I’d thoroughly recommend reading her full post on the subject here).

So what does this mean for us bloggers?

“As a user, Instagram is fun and incredibly addictive. It’s visual, fast-paced, and crucially; doesn’t require the same commitment that a blog post commands.”

THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION: WHY READ A BLOG WHEN YOU CAN ABSENT-MINDEDLY SCROLL THROUGH INSTAGRAM?

I’ll never forget one girl at university who was complimenting the outfits I posted on my Instagram. ‘You know, if you click the link in my profile it takes you to my blog and you can read even more about my clothes!” I’d breathlessly responded with all the enthusiasm of an influencer influencing you to try that teeth whitening product using their 20% discount code.

It was then that I realised how ridiculous I sounded. Why would anyone be that invested that they’d click some link on a tiny phone screen, when they could just double-tap a picture of me wearing a nice outfit and move on?

As a blogger, its a painful reality to swallow. Blogging is my happy place; a hobby, learning curve and creative space all in one. I’m a devotee of the process, fiercely proud of my blog, in an endless pursuit to craft my next post better than the last.

So to see an Instagram photo get heaps of engagement, only for its blog post counterpart to gain a handful of hits and zero comments can be disheartening.

But I’ve come to realise this isn’t necessarily a reflection of my content; more a natural evolution of the way my audience choose to consume and interact with digital media.

I’m not saying the blog is dead. I’m just saying the way we consume content has changed, and as bloggers (if we can even still be called that!) it’s up to us to stay ahead of the curve and meet our audience’s changing habits.

With the rise of Instagram, where do you see the future of blogging?

Sinéad xo

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