Admit it: you once had a blog, and you tended to it like a young garden. So excited you were then that you’d share links to new posts on social media, and wait for the first batch of comments to appear. With the engagement and the small, stable army of readers, you felt as though you had made it. You now owned a blog, and it didn’t matter if it came to you free on WordPress or Blogger.
Since we are admitting things, I owned a blog as well, a platform for me to strengthen my writing muscle on weird, dark fiction. Three months in and I lost interest – I began to prioritise other things over the blog and I left it to die. Congratulations, if you are still managing a blog, an internet-based facility that gained popularity during the ascendancy of Linda Ikeji Blog in the mid-aughts.
The Nigerian blogosphere, as we knew it then, reflected the tastes and interests of their creators. From food and fashion to tech and religion, the blog space was the premier, digitised journal for the internet-savvy. Until social media became devastatingly popular and perilously addictive. Put more accurately: we are living in the Instagram apocalypse, a post-digital world where our daily thoughts and missives posted on Facebook and Twitter are subsumed by Instagram.
Many blogs have become defunct, bending to this new totalitarian state. Instagram has proved to be a surefire way to reach millions of people, if you have the right content. And this takeover is an unexpected but welcome update on the blogging system, where users can readily share news and gossip in pop culture or whatever. It’s also ridiculous how one can achieve meteoric blogging fame through the Instagram apparatus. Case in point: ex-artiste Tunde Ednut, who has “Don’t call me a blogger” on his Instagram profile with more than half a million followers.
From all indications, Ednut’s Insta-blogging career has given the former artiste another go at public fame, and also revenue. But omnibuses like Instablog have completely upended how we consume news and content. When I said we are living in the Instagram apocalypse, I was largely referring to Instablog. The news and media company has an impressive followership count of 1.5million, and these are the kind of numbers that draws advertisers.
The engagement on Instablog is frothy and maddening, averaging 1000 comments per day and depending on the buzzy, juicy nature of posts. Even foremost blogger Linda Ikeji has shoehorned her blog into the Instagram format, hyper-aware of the reinvented usage of the app and how it can further amplify her platform.
News-sharing sites like Pulse and Bella Naija have long since modified content for Instagram, grounding entries in a style and tone akin to blogging. On balance, and if this is any comfort, the ability to use Instagram as a photo-sharing app is within our power, selfies and all.