You Don’t Need Two Instagram Accounts

Image of a child in a yellow dress against a colourful background. She is wearing a big red hat and looking away from the camera so the viewer can't see her face.

I don’t think you need two Instagram accounts, two Facebook accounts (personal or professional!) or two blogs, or especially more than two blogs. Which feels a little bit hypocritical for me to write because here I am writing it on…my other blog. But case in point, this here is my secondary blog, the one I use to augment my business and support its website, as opposed to my primary blog, which I’ve been investing my heart and soul in for years. What I would really love is to have this blog be a filtered version of my main blog, in which all content relating to blogs and blogging appears—but I don’t know how to make that work between two different websites, and also it helps my website search rankings if there is original content here that is not posted elsewhere. And so here we are.

But I still don’t have two different Instagram accounts, and here’s why (and all of these are lessons I’ve learned from blogging, as I use Instagram as a microblog after all):

  • I have already built up a modest following on Instagram. Starting again from scratch would be hard.
  • It would be especially hard because I think the people who follow me on Instagram are there for the human content anyway. It would take a special kind of person to go for the offer, “Hey! It’s me, but less of my face and I’m just trying to sell you stuff.”
  • Maintaining two Instagram accounts (or two blogs…) is a lot of work. In fact, maintaining one Instagram account and doing a good job of it is a lot of work. And none of this is work that pays well, if at all, so I want to keep the labour as minimal as possible
  • You’re right, I could just duplicate my content to two different accounts, personal and professional, but that would be really boring for anyone who bothered to follow me in both places
  • Compartmentalization is hard on the soul, my friends. Online advice is often trying to fit us awkwardly into compartments where we don’t quite fit, and I say bully to that. Be your marvellous multitudinous self….
  • Because it’s interesting! I am totally up for your professional self, and the good things you have to offer the world as an artist/therapist/guitar picker in Nashville, but I get to know that professional self even better if I’m also privy to photos of your lunch, your cat, and your sunsets. Showing up as yourself is an act of generosity, and I appreciate that, and I am more inclined to be generous myself and support the business of somebody who does so.
  • Being your whole self also makes you stand out in your professional field—you’re one of many poets, perhaps, but you’re the only one with a really fat cat called Snowflake who likes to sit on your head while you’re writing. Or maybe you’re obsessed with gluten-free baking, or 1970s cult films, or you collect shoes made out of vegan leather. Online spaces are hybrid spaces, technologically speaking, and there is no reason why the content shouldn’t be too.
  • There are parts of our lives where it’s important to draw a line between the professional and personal—I definitely like to put my laptop away at the end of the day. I take holidays from the online world throughout the year. All this is very good for my well-being, but I don’t think insisting on such a line for my online identity would be as much. It’s easier (and more sustainable) to just be a human person everywhere I go.
  • This also helps me show up with integrity, when my private self is public facing, and think more deeply about the choices I make, the life that I am living. It helps too when my online connections become real-life connections and people realize that they really do know me from knowing the person I am on the internet
  • And yes, there is a price to be paid in being real. There are definitely advantages to having a polished brand and perhaps I would be much more successful if I’d shown up that way…but I don’t actually believe this. I would have been bad at being a polished brand (and looked just like all the people I was trying to emulate, but a poor copy) but I am really, really good at being me, and I get to do it without even trying, which is so much more sustainable and interesting than the alternative.

Now, I am don’t claim to be a social media expert. Perhaps you might be advised to take anything with a grain of salt when it’s coming from that woman who posts on Instagram nine times a day, but I also post a lot because I really like it, and for me that’s the biggest indication that I’m doing something right.