What is a 'resentment reel' and what do they say about social media today?

What is a 'resentment reel' and what do they say about social media today?

There's a new form of content making the rounds online, with more and more people expressing disappointment with declining levels of engagement.

Instagram fatigue, or Instastress as it's been dubbed, reflects the modern-day demands of the online world.

What was once considered an outlet for creative expression and catching up with close friends and family, has now evolved into an integral part of our everyday lives – especially when working in certain industries.

It's no longer adequate to simply exist and enjoy life as an artist, a chef, an estate agent, or a personal trainer among more. The unspoken rule for many is that they must have an online following and consistently create content for so-called brand awareness.

Instagram and TikTok creators are now venting their frustrations online in the form of what Taylor Lorenz describes as 'resentment reels', after relentless efforts to try and get their content seen.

One trending audio epitomises this: "I get the camera, I take the photo, I edit the picture and I post it to Instagram – and then I cry because no one sees it."

Another clip shows an influencer setting up a tripod, with the text overlay reading: "Me getting ready to create another reel then gets low views and engagement."


Who can relate? 🥲 #relatable #photography #presets #videographer

Jamie Love, growth marketing, PR guru and CEO of Monumental Marketing describes this type of content as a "true reflection of content fatigue, with platforms demanding more from creators with little to no recognition."

"Creators started by posting an image to a feed, now the expectation is to post five images in a carousel, a Reel with supporting Stories whilst engaging with the community. It's exhausting," Jamie told Indy100.

"Resentment Reels offer an honest insight into what users and creators actually want from their social media platforms, they want to go back to simpler days with clear expectations where they can authentically show off their creativity in a style that is true to them."

In some instances – specifically for those who create content as a part of their corporate day jobs – executives are having stern words about their staff's social media performance with figures constantly fluctuating.

However, it's not entirely the creator's fault.


Most annoying thing ever especially if u love the edit #edit #edits #editing #editingtiktok #allthatworkandwhatdiditgetme #whydididoit #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #tiktok #trend #trending

According to Jamie, "Instagram is confused right now and it comes down to advertising dollars."

During the pre-reels days, Instagram's algorithm meant you'd only see the content from those you followed, "then they monetised discovery so brands could access users as if the user was following them."

"Until Instagram has worked out who they are in the social media space, their algorithm will keep changing and they will keep testing it constantly, meaning content performance will fluctuate," Jamie continues.

While Instagram still has more active users than TikTok, Jamie claims they're at risk of trying to compete with TikTok too much.

In some cases, Instagram has received success from doing so, with Jamie citing Instagram Stories as a prime example which were "born through their attempt to compete with Snapchat."

However, that said, "this continuous departure from the core product that people actually really enjoy confuses users and demoralises them."

"Their biggest opportunity is to reclaim their space and own images," he adds. "It's also worth noting that most people are more likely to take a picture over a video and having a place to celebrate only that is what the social media landscape needs, because who really needs three versions of TikTok?"

Going forward, the key thing for Jamie is for social media users to "not get too caught up thinking about how to please the algorithm."

Instead, he suggests prioritising fellow users and their usual behaviour.

"Instagram has always been about beautiful content, and I'd argue quite editorial," he says. "The rough and raw thing won't be as attractive to Instagram users as they, even though the platform has evolved, will still be looking to engage with aspirational, visually creative and stimulating content.

"The key is really about staying true to the users, their behaviour and expectations of content on the platform."

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