My Instagram account was deleted a short time ago. ago. That's right. The account I've spent two years working on, trying night and day to build up a following so I could send out my pro-aging message to a wide audience, was gone in a flash. I opened a link sent to me from a fake account posing as someone I knew, and that was all they needed. They got in, wreaked havoc, then deleted my account and held it for ransom.
This left me feeling a lot of emotions I wasn't used to feeling. I felt deflated. Violated. Defeated. Like I just rolled down a hill I had spent years climbing. Instagram is a fun platform for some people, but for a pro-aging fitness enthusiast and lifestyle influencer like me and so many others , it's a way to potentially make a living and send a message, in my case that people in midlife and beyond should not be pigeonholed into dressing, acting, and exercising a certain way.
My 2022 did not get off to a good start, to put it mildly.
Then a funny thing happened. As I slowly started to pick up the pieces, I found that this unfortunate occurrence opened up some interesting possibilities for me. It made me realize things. It added clarity to some potential decisions I was struggling with. It gave me a new perspective and allowed for growth.
Could it be that my Instagram being compromised and deleted was a blessing in disguise? Was the universe sending me a message? (I can admit that at times I need to be hit over the head to change my behaviors).
Finding the Positives
Having my Instagram deleted had some unexpected positive effects. Sometimes in life, it's hard to discern who your real friends and supporters are. People can sing your praise all day long, but talk is cheap, as they say. This seemingly bad event put me in a unique position, however; it gave me the opportunity to discover who truly cared about me.
Dozens of "HELP GAIL" posts were created by friends and the brands I represent once word got out that my account had been hacked. All the magazines I have worked with showed their support as well. These magazines have large reaches and subscribers. They called on their followers to help me as a valued contributor to their publications.
None of these people or companies needed to help me. They did anyway, though, showing that people can be truly selfless when they believe in you and your message.
My following is still nowhere near what it was before this happened (although growing at a rapid pace). But it's stronger. My engagement is even higher than it was before. The ones who stayed with me and tried to help me out have formed a foundation that I'm confident will allow me to build an even bigger following than I had before. My support system has never been stronger, and for that I am infinitely grateful.
No Failures, Only Opportunities
I've talked a lot about overcoming obstacles in the past. Like everyone else, I have had my share of challenges and hurdles to get past. Real life challenges, i.e. divorce, losing my parents, growing out of long-standing friendships and physical challenges (that shoulder).
My Instagram being hacked and deleted was my first test in the social media space, other than launching it, and I couldn't have overcome it without all of you guys. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank each and every one of my followers for sticking with me and doing what you can to pick me up off the mat after I got that “TKO”.
No matter what happens, you can count on me to continue pushing for fair representation in the fashion, lifestyle, and fitness spaces and to deliver our pro-aging message. Doesn't matter if I have 100 followers or 100,000. My mission remains the same. I'm thankful this event gave me the opportunity to truly connect with my core group of followers and partnered companies.
Let's do something special together in 2022.