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I deactivated my Instagram account. What now?

Last weekend, I deactivated my Instagram account

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.

In a way, it is. 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.

Attention, please

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.

What now?

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 it focus on photography.

I re-started from there, without feeling the urge to post something.

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Cover photo credits: Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

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4 replies on “I deactivated my Instagram account. What now?”

Silvia I can understand your reasons for leaving entirely, I too question social media’s role in my life and endeavour to be extremely conscious of the way that I use it. I’m trying to make clear decisions about how I will use it going forwards, but do reassure myself that there are other ways of keeping in touch with one another! x

Hi Vanessa, it’s nice to see you here! Whatever you decide, I can assure you that there definitively are ways of keeping in touch, it’s just a matter of finding the right ones. I believe with social media we got used to keep in touch using tools that seem irreplaceable, but there are alternatives. x

It must be so freeing to leave social media. It now forms the basis of my job, and I enjoy many aspects of it, but there are question marks too. I’m looking forward to finding out how your response to that world changes over time x

Who knows what will be: big tech might need to adapt to stricter rules, and social networks might change as a consequence. So far, though, I’m not missing any of them.

Such was the prominence of social media in my life, that I feel so much lighter now. I also stopped checking the news multiple times a day, and I completely avoid live news feeds. The background noise is gone. It is freeing indeed x

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