The Real Reason Why I have Quit Instagram
Hi there! It’s been a while. I’m sorry for the clickbait title, but I just couldn’t resist. This time I won’t be talking about fashion, experiments or gender equality. As you probably already guessed from the title, today’s topic will be the good old social media.
To be honest, there’s no particular reason why I’ve cut my social media an unplugged for half a year. I just felt tired and overwhelmed by everything I would see every day, scrolling all those kilometres with my thumb. It seemed that everybody is having the time of their lives and I’m just sitting here, with my greasy hair, unmatched socks, eating some questionable dish I have made myself from the leftovers. I understand that it might sound super duper dramatic and almost mainstream to talk about how “social media made my life miserable”, but hey, maybe there’s a reason why so many of us talk about the same topic, over and over?
So, continuing my story, it felt like I have lost my track of reality. I didn’t know what was real and what was only on Instagram. These are the questions I would constantly ask myself:
Why time flies so fast when I’m on Instagram, but it literally stops when I have tasks to do?
Am I missing out when I’m in, let’s say, a stunning place, but seeing it through my phone screen, because I feel an urge to share this view/moment with as much people as I can?
The reality this app helped me to create is absolutely amazing, but how it really affects my perception of life?
I love interacting and chatting online, so wouldn’t I lose those connections if I stop using the application?
If I like doing something, like crafting, am I doing it because I’m good at it and I actually enjoy doing that or just because it makes me an interesting, worth following person on Instagram?
And finally, is it okay or not when two people are having some coffee together and suddenly, when they get tired from the conversation, they disconnect from each other and check their social media channels?
Silly when you think about it, as it’s just an app, but not so funny anymore when you realise how important it has become to our daily routine.
And then there come the influencers. Recently this word has lost its mystery and it’s not difficult to understand what this person does anymore. I can ever hear the influencers (or content creators) clapping hands that finally people take it more seriously and it has become a legit job to support yourself.
Don’t get me wrong - I absolutely love this phenomena, mainly because it’s based on human connections and recommendations. I love discovering things, places and getting inspired to do stuff I’ve never thought I would like to do (cooking, for example, hehe). Heck, I have even tried that role myself! But my question is - aren’t we all influencers at some point?
We use social media daily, some more than others, we take time to take 137 pictures to have a possibility to choose the one, which would be perfect for our carefully curated feed, we use hashtags, we tag brands,… We update our Instagram friends with the recent events from our lives and we seek for more people to do that, even if sometimes that means buying likes and followers. Of course, we might not do that professionally, we might not invest as much time as pro influencers do and, for most of time, we are not getting paid for doing that. I said “most of the time”, because these things are changing *wink*.
The line between being an influencer and not being an influencer has become very thin. Have you ever been in a situation, when you are casually scrolling on IG, then you check this girl’s profile and she has a style to die for, more than 15k followers and a feed you would love to live in? She might be a fellow high schooler, a model or a barista that makes your favourite cappuccino on the way to work. But on Instagram she becomes this Prophet who can not only affect your consumption habits (“What a dress! I wonder where she got it from?”) but also can make you question your self worth following your life choices. Isn’t that a little ironic?
Let’s now stop and think a little. At which moment we lose the track of reality, forgetting that this girl is the same human being, with her own issues and victories? When we unconsciously start being jealous of what we see?
I, personally, blame judas common sense. Every time I pick up my phone, he’s like “k byeee” and goes on vacay leaving me alone in my head, without a second opinion to question what I see. Then I forget to do that and start taking everything for granted. A person is travelling? They probably are rich af and I can barely afford rent and food without choosing just one. A person is dressed nicely? They have such an amazing taste in fashion and I’m just here being basic with my jeans. A person uploaded a picture of aesthetically looking Acaï bowl? The nearest I can get to that is a bowl of buckwheat with some butter for god’s sake! And let me tell you, these and similar thoughts are a piece of crap.
We are all able to create the life we want to live in, we just need to spend less time on the phone and more time of actually doing things. Instagram, like any other media, is a great place to escape for sometime when you don’t like the reality you are in, but it’s not healthy to stay there more than you stay in real life. Read a book, book a trip & actually make that Acaï bowl. Make yourself proud and your life Instagram-worth, but not vice-versa.
Social Media detox
The moment I’m writing this, it’s about half a year since I have started my social media detox. I have de-activated my Instagram account and narrowed down Facebook to just messenger. And it was one of the smartest decisions in 2018! This decision guided me to keeping a healthy distance from this perfect alternative reality and all my social media acquaintances, letting me re-evaluate my friendships and connections. It helped me to realise that my life is not an Instagram fantasy - it’s real, with its ups and downs and that I must learn how to cope with both of them. And, of course, it has saved so.much.time. Seeing how many HOURS I would spend on my phone, left me more than shook and I understood how many things are still in the first “I have this great idea & I want to do this” phase. I couldn’t reach the second phase simply because I didn't have time for that as I was being too busy analysing other lives and overthinking mine.
I’m not saying that everyone should follow my path, drop everything and delete their Instagram, Facebook or whatever social media channels they use. But maybe having some time off it wouldn’t hurt? Maybe choosing something else instead of your phone when standing in a queue, taking public transport or lying in bed before sleep, would give some spaces to think about? Maybe we would see something we would miss by focusing on our screen? Or maybe not, that’s just my rhetorical question.
Also, so I wouldn’t seem like a life coach who just had an epiphany and now wants to show the way to the light to everyone - I still spend a decent amount of my free time on the Internet, watching all sorts Youtube videos from “How fast fashion affects our environment” to “10 facts you didn’t know about Britney Spears” (now I’m certain that I know everything). I didn't stop interacting with people either, just now my friends are the ones who receive an obscene amount of memes and cat videos during the day. Nobody’s perfect, alright?
If you have reached this sentence - congratulations. These words are simply a reflection of my life and thoughts I had during the last months. I wasn’t trying to demonise or criticise a certain way of living, it’s simply a form of my self-expression that you have chose to read and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. I still think that Instagram is a fun app and social media is an inseparable part of our lives. If you have any thoughts about this - feel free to reach out to me, I would love to have a discussion.
Some tips if you would like to have a social media detox:
Turn off the notifications.
Delete the app(s) from your phone.
Unfollow unwanted people/ leave uninspiring groups.
Untag the pictures you don’t like.
And lastly - put your phone in a drawer so you wouldn’t see it start doing things.
I guess that’s all for now. See you in a bit, I missed you guys!