I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but last week, I deleted my Instagram account! (I still need to edit my social media button to the right – haven’t had a chance to yet!)I did it for a few different reasons, and, having been a week without it, I thought it might be a good idea to write about the whole experience and why I decided to delete my account.
Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE Instagram. As a communications professional, I love all things social media, and Instagram is no exception. Instagram is pretty, it’s fun, it can be wildly inspirational and it’s a great way to keep up with people you admire. I loved being able to follow my friends’ daily lives, as well as talented writers, photographers, actors, politicians, artists, etc. Just by scrolling down, I’m able to see amazing recipes I want to try, creative outfits I admire, beautiful travel destinations, and much more.
On the other hand, Instagram is a breeding ground for envy, vanity, self-promotion, and deception. As you can see from the photos I’ve pulled from various accounts I used to follow, it’s easy to create the idea of the ‘perfect’ life via Instagram. Instagram is overrun with lavish meals at expensive restaurants, emaciated girls with long, tanned limbs, flawless selfies, picture-perfect children, drop-dead gorgeous locations, designer clothes, and more.
I love taking pictures and documenting my life (hence, this little blog), but Instagram has taken this phenomenon to an entirely new level. It sometimes feels like if an event or experience hasn’t been documented on Instagram, it may as well not have happened! There are even Instagram ‘celebrities’, models who have hundreds of thousands of followers, with photo-after-perfect-filtered-photo of themselves making up their accounts. Is that normal? And, regardless of normal, is it healthy?
After some serious reflecting, I’ve realized that Instagram was not for me. At least, not right now. I know that social media envy is a real thing, but I didn’t realize how strongly it was affecting me until Conrad mentioned that he hated Instagram because it always put me in a bad mood. At first, I was incredulous – that couldn’t possibly be true, could it? But the more I paid attention, the more I realized he had a point. While there are some amazing Instagram accounts that do continue to inspire and amaze me (I love, love, LOVE the body-positive movement, for example), I know that it’s too easy for me to get sucked into an account that will leave me feeling bad about myself, despite knowing full well how FAKE Instagram is. It’s easy to lay out a bunch of beautifully decorated donuts on a marble counter-top while wearing crazy-expensive Cartier bracelets (because, why WOULDN’T you do that???). What you don’t see is that same person throwing them into the trash immediately after. It’s easy to get a good selfie when you’ve taken 888 different photos before getting the perfect one. Instagram is all filters! Filters for your photos, filters for your life.
Since quitting IG, I’ve also realized how addicted I was to the application. I used to look at it first thing in the morning, and last thing before bed. For something that makes me feel so crappy, that is not a recipe for a good day! I miss taking pictures to post, but when I stop and think about WHY I want to take a photo to post to Instagram, all of a sudden I no longer want to post the photo. I know I’m probably mostly doing it to fit some sort of social media ‘quota’, to get a certain amount of likes, or to portray a certain ideal. And that is ridiculous! That’s not to say that everyone using IG does this, but it was becoming very true for me.
I hope that one day I can go back to Instagram and not feel like sh*t after scrolling through my feed.