Why Are Fewer People Posting on Instagram?

When it comes to social media, there’s a shift happening that has left platforms like Instagram at a crossroads Users are now retreating from the public spotlight and increasingly seeking solace in private spaces and smaller, tightly-knit communities.
It marks a significant transformation in the way people engage online, prioritizing personal connections over the pursuit of a broad audience.

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Illustration: L. T.

In today’s ever-evolving digital landscape, the days of incessant social media posting seem to be fading into the past. A notable article from Business Insider titled “Social Media is Dead: Group Chats and Messaging Apps Killed It” sheds light on the changing user habits and the transformation of social media platforms. 

Make Instagram Instagram Again 

Namely, Tati Bruening, a 22-year-old content creator and photographer, expressed her frustration with the current state of social media platforms like Instagram. She believes that the relentless pursuit of perfectly curated content has overshadowed the platform’s original purpose. 

To combat this shift, she initiated the “Make Instagram Instagram Again” campaign in 2022, advocating for a return to a more authentic and unfiltered experience. 

The campaign, supported by thousands of users, including celebrities like Kylie Jenner, prompted Instagram to reevaluate its aggressive push for algorithmically recommended content over a chronological feed. 

At the heart of Bruening’s discontent lies a significant transformation of Instagram. It has shifted from a platform for everyday people to share unfiltered moments to a carefully curated space where even seemingly authentic content is meticulously planned. 

This shift in user behavior has led many to opt for private posting and closed groups, utilizing features like Close Friends and group chats. These private spaces offer users a more relaxed environment, free from the pressure of adhering to unspoken social standards. 

How has Instagram changed over time?   

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, acknowledges this shift and recognizes that users are increasingly turning to direct messages, closed communities, and group chats. 

Posting content regularly on public feeds is now primarily the domain of content creators and influencers, while non-creators prefer sharing glimpses of their lives behind private accounts. 

The article highlights that as people have grown weary of constant sharing, social media platforms have transformed into entertainment hubs where users predominantly consume content rather than create it. 

This shift has implications not only for average users but also for influencers, marketers, and even social media executives who agree that the era of social media as we once knew it is fading. 

Instagram, in particular, exemplifies the changing nature of social media. It began as a place for users to connect with friends and family, but over time, it evolved into a platform characterized by curated content. Users started to grapple with questions about captions, emojis, and the ideal level of mystique in their posts, making the posting process overwhelming. 

Furthermore, Instagram introduced various features such as video, livestreaming, and shopping, further blurring its original purpose. Everyday users continued to post, but the content became increasingly professionalized, attracting bloggers, influencers, and fashion experts who turned Instagram into a career platform. 

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This shift has led to a decline in the frequency of posting, as users feel that their lives may not measure up to the aesthetic standards set by influencers and content creators.

Now, Instagram primarily serves as an aspirational entertainment app, offering users a window into the best moments of someone’s life, carefully selected from a pool of nearly identical images. 

Which apps have replaced Instagram in 2023?   

While users post less frequently on Instagram, new apps have emerged in an attempt to recapture the essence of social media’s early days. Apps like BeReal, Dispo, Poparazzi, and Locket have all attempted to rekindle the magic of social media but have not achieved widespread success. Even Lemon8, a photo-sharing platform from ByteDance, failed to gain traction. 

Instagram’s latest venture, Threads, aimed to fill the void left by Twitter’s volatility. However, Threads’ daily active user count has declined significantly since its launch, suggesting that it may not offer a groundbreaking solution to users’ evolving preferences. 

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Source: Data Reportal

In an era where users are weary of constant exposure and crave tighter connections and communities, smaller, niche communities are flourishing. 

Discord, for instance, has grown to nearly 170 million monthly average users, providing a more direct and private space for interaction. Other apps like Geneva have also emerged, offering opportunities to connect with people locally or who share similar interests. 

The shift towards these closed communities represents a counter-movement towards more intimate and specific interactions. 

Ultimately, the era of oversharing on social media has given way to a more selective and private form of online interaction. While this shift may lead to a healthier digital experience, it also risks further dividing people into like-minded echo chambers. 

Instagram, once a symbol of social media’s ideal form, now embodies the shift towards curated content and aspirational entertainment. As users seek refuge in closed communities and niche networks, the future of social media remains uncertain, but it is clear that the era of Instagram’s dominance is waning, giving rise to a more authentic and selective form of online sharing. 

A journalist by day and a podcaster by night. She's not writing to impress but to be understood.