Posting your poetry on Instagram or any other social media platform has advantages and disadvantages. There are several ways for the platform to work to your benefit, yet depending on your intentions and goals as a poet, publishing on Instagram can backfire if not used appropriately. 

You consider putting your poetry on Instagram as a means of self-expression and self-publishing to help your individual growth as a poet and inspire others. If your goal is to make money, gain followers, or otherwise receive a reward, using the platform may disappoint you.

Publishing poetry on Instagram isn’t for everyone. And if you’re not yet familiar with the platform, you may discover it’s not suitable for your style of poetry. Keep reading as we consider the pros and cons of putting your poetry on Instagram so you can decide what you should do.  

Deciding If Instapoetry Is Right for You

Instagram poetry is a modern phenomenon resulting from the rise of social media. Coined as “Instapoetry,” the movement has proven popular with users of the #community platform while creating discord between poets and critics. 

The style is known for using short stanzas and sentences, as authors are limited to what will fit in a single-image post. Lines are usually straightforward, quick, and to the point; highly emotional and confessional; not buried in layers of stilted metaphor or long-winded language. 

However, readers say they enjoy Instapoetry for how it makes them feel, not the style, per se. Content is generally accessible to everyone, and posting on social media only emphasizes that. 

In fact, Instapoetry is quickly becoming the most accessible type of poetry. Much of this is due to how instantly relatable it is to any reader, and the resulting movement speaks volumes about its popularity. 

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Unexpected of Instapoetry

A few years ago, once Instapoetry had taken root, YouTube documentarian, Ariel Bisset, interviewed numerous publishers, academics, and prosperous Instapoets. 

She came to conclusions that most writers would agree with, the two most relevant being:

  • Poets use Instagram for self-publishing, not for clout.
  • Instapoetry is a non-literary, commercial form of poetry.

And what’s wrong with that? The literary and commercial dichotomy only means that poetry is becoming more inclusive. You can check out the full documentary, #poetry, on YouTube:

Also, in the documentary, Katherine Ormerod, author of Why Social Media Is Ruining Your Life, talks about how certain technology and social media companies have admitted to using the population as guinea pigs to test how their services affect a person’s mind and general perspective of the world. 

After a couple of solid decades of such experimentation, these companies now have the data they were after. Unfortunately, for the public, the results are troubling. 

For instance, the Royal Society for Public Health determined that Instagram and Snapchat were the most detrimental to the health and well-being of 14 – 25-year-olds, citing issues of:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Self-identity

Indeed, these statistics don’t necessarily bode well for authors hoping to impact society positively. However, many are finding that Instapoetry is an unexpected boost in mental health for several readers.

So what does this mean for you? 

It’s important to genuinely ask yourself how it makes you feel when someone likes or responds to your Instagram poems. Are you excited to have potentially inspired someone or even helped them through a difficult time? Or do you prefer the dopamine hit received when someone validates you and your work? 

You must answer these questions honestly if you hope to have any chance of avoiding the detrimental effects of social media or contributing to the overarching problem.  

Advantages of Putting Your Poetry on Instagram

So if you put your poetry on Instagram, what can you expect to happen? What types of advantages will you find? In truth? Quite a few:

  • Make unique audience connections. A unique aspect of publishing on social media is the real-time response you can receive from those who read your poems. It’s an exceptional experience to genuinely touch the hearts and minds of your audience and have them reach out and express their gratitude to you for writing it. 
  • Network with other poets. Instagram is a great place to network and connect with other poets where you can share ideas or even help promote one another and reach more readers. 
  • Gain followers/readers. While it’s not always sensible as a primary goal, gaining followers on Instagram is still a practical achievement in terms of establishing an audience. Notably, the platform is excellent for finding and bringing new readers to your larger body of publications elsewhere.
  • Potentially become financially successful. It’s possible to turn a profit by publishing on Instagram if you’re genuinely committed to this style and audience. If you’re considering this avenue, check out our post, How To Make Money as a Poet on Instagram, for tips.
  • Inspire others. Deep down, inspiring others is the true objective of many writers. And whether or not this is your primary goal, it’s always a good feeling knowing you’re making a positive difference in the world.  
  • Stay motivated to write. As the adage goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Even if you’re not looking to make money or reach an audience, posting poetry on Instagram is an easy way to ensure you write daily and keep motivated to practice your craft consistently.  
  • Perhaps become famous. Don’t hold your breath or anything, but this is always a real possibility. Anytime you publish anything, anywhere, you have the chance to reach more people. Should more people enjoy your poetry, find value in your art, and tell others about you, the more likely you are to become a big-time author. 

Disadvantages of Putting Your Poetry on Instagram

While other disadvantages may come from putting your poetry on Instagram, here are the few topmost concerns noted by fellow poets and other creative writers:

  • You risk others stealing your work.
  • Publishers may not want to buy poems if they are previously posted on social media.
  • You must deal with trolls and other negative feedback from those who don’t like your poetry.
  • Conforming to Instapoetry could hinder your creativity.

Final Thoughts

Instagram and other social media platforms are changing our perception of poetry and what has come before. Markedly, it’s an evolving movement in which the trend can change for better or worse depending on how society utilizes it. 

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide whether putting your poetry on Instagram is the right move for you. 

Categories: Poetry

Oliver Adams

Letter Review was founded by Oliver Adams, who is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing, casual academic, and guest lecturer at the University of New South Wales. Oliver Adams has had short stories published in leading literary journals such as Overland, Southerly, Seizure, and TEXT. He has had novels long listed for major awards such as the KYDUMA, has received government funding to produce plays from Create NSW and screenplays from Screen NSW, and has performed / produced professional work at major theatrical venues such as the Sydney Opera House.