I deactivated my Instagram account. What now?
If it sounds like a big deal, it’s because it is. For someone passionate about photography, deciding to break with one of the most popular social networks might seem counter-productive.
By not being on Instagram, I miss out on great pictures, knowing what my online friends are up to, and lovely and funny conversations. The harsh reality is that when someone leaves a tool that almost everyone uses, it can be trickier to keep in touch. Sometimes it might even become impossible because the thing you had in common doesn’t connect you anymore.
I’ve been feeling miserable on Instagram for a while. It felt like everything I had to do to stay relevant and get my content in front of people was a job in itself. And not a fulfilling one either.
This happens when people’s attention and time are the product for an app like Instagram. Once the advertisers are happy, everyone’s happy. Except for a lot of people trying to cope with the effects of comparison and feelings of not being enough.
Instagram’s new terms and conditions gave me the push I needed. Nothing is new or surprising there, considering its parent company is Facebook. Yet, they made me question what I want to do with my time and energy.
Rules of engagement
A week in, I feel lighter and unburdened by the thought of what to post next, at what time, and what hashtags to use. The set of ever-changing “rules” to follow to make sure that posts get engagement, are plainly obscure, now that I see them from the outside. A mere pretext to keep people browsing.
Even if this blog never received much traffic from Instagram — except for the article about Ravelry’s redesign — fewer people are going to see this post.
I miss the people and feeling part of something, even if sometimes it was about venting our frustrations with Instagram itself. It shows how the app’s design is successful: it triggers emotions, whether good or bad, and it keeps people there because that’s what creates a community.
Without even wanting it, I started the new year by cleaning up my digital life. I deleted my Facebook, WhatsApp, Pinterest and Goodreads accounts. Finally, I deactivated the Instagram one. Last summer I left Twitter. It’s possible to spend too much time on LinkedIn, but that account stays.
What I could never be able to delete is my Flickr, even when I didn’t use it for long periods. The reasons are both emotional and practical: I have many pictures and memories organised in albums. When I browse them, I can see the progress made in photography and where I was in my life.
While Instagram main interest switched to creators, brands and what they sell, Flickr never changed its focus on photography. I re-started from there, without feeling the urge to post something.
- This is Your Brain on Instagram: Effects of Social Media on the Brain (on Now)
- Instagram is supposed to be friendly. So why is it making people so miserable? (on The Guardian)
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