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New Instagram after the ban

Last week, we were both shocked and angry that our Instagram account, @ligaya_garden had been banned! Were now @ligayagarden

We’d worked very hard over the last couple of months to get that account looking pretty spiffy. We’d even paid for a couple of promotions to try and get our stuff further out into the world.

Instagram don’t tell you why they ban you. They just say that you were in breach of a community guideline. That can be anything from mentioning that a herb is useful as a remedy or something even more petty like using the same hash tag too many times. Marlon also told me that there is a thing called a ‘shadow ban’ which is where you use a hash tag that has been banned. There is no readily available list of these. The whole decision making process is run by AI and bots.

There is a recourse but process is unreliable, convoluted and when we tried it, we got stuck in a loop. We filled in the form, uploaded proof of connection to the banned account. Then when we tried to submit the form, we were told to log into Instagram to confirm our identity. However we could not log in to Instagram because we were banned. That lost the form and we needed to start again. Rinse and repeat.

After a couple of days ad passed with no word back (that would have been automated as there is no help department for such things) I decided to start another account.

I’m taking far more time with photos that I post on IG, especially choosing filters so that the whole profile has a ‘look’ about it. No more random half assed pics of junk contraptions or blurry chicken pics.

@ligayagarden is our new account. Restarting has had its advantages.

I’ve also been spending timelearning about Instagram Stories, IGTV and Reels. We purchased a couple of apps that help me to produce better looking stories and openings and credits for the videos, getting the whole shebang looking like it was planned instead of my usual randomness.

One other thing occurred at the same time. Our Premium account became due and we just couldn’t pay it. The whole covid-19 thing has had us losing workshops and teaching events and we’re flat strapped broke.

We needed to find another theme that was free and we did, this one that you’re reading from. It has the advantage of being faster to load, simpler in appearance and more suited to mobile devices. I suppose that’s the silver lining.

We do need the Premium account back though, the free account only has 3 Gb of storage space and we had 6 Gb stored (Prenuim has 13 Gb to use) so we’re currently locked out of uploading new pics. Luckily, the 3 Gb that were over isn’t deleted and I can access it to use on new posts and delete old pics, tweak captions and alt text and the like. It’s making me go back and purge dodgy photos from our early efforts and I’ve learned how to store videos off site and access them in posts.

Another good thing has been that I’ve discovered linktr.ee. This online service let’s you use a single link in your Instagram bio to access a linktr.ee page where you can have unlimited other links. We’ve set up a page linktr.ee/ligayagarden to collate a few things and make it easier for followers, viewers and subscribers to find different aspects of our online efforts.

Our whole media look and feel has had a kick in the pants because of this ban. Things look more coherent and designed which, in fact they are!

The whole learning curve has been steep and exhausting and continues to be so but things are getting easier and the whole disaster will pay off.

I don’t think that silver linings exist in the wild, you have to make your own and tailor them to your nerds. That’s exactly what we’ve done and I think the results will be spectacular!

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