why I quit instagram
Updated: Aug 7, 2019
Ever since the 7th grade, Instagram has been a large part of my life as a way to express myself. I had a rocky relationship with the app for as long as I could remember. It was anxiety-inducing. I felt like I was wasting my time when I saw 3.5 hours spent aimlessly scrolling daily. I could have spent that time reading books or learning how to shoot film photography instead of stalking my ex-boyfriend. In December of 2018, I finally decided to disconnect and deactivate my account for good.
You know it was terrible when I was deleting the app off my phone every day only to re-download it again later to see if I missed out on any messages or posts. I had a great fear of missing out, and I think that was a huge reason why I couldn't just get rid of it. I feared missing out on events or on things my friends were doing or opportunities or new friends. This fear controlled me, and I know that Instagram takes this into account when redesigning and updating their app. They WANT you to be addicted. That is how they make money and just knowing that fact made me so angry at myself that they roped me into their ploy.
I made lots of excuses as to why I couldn't delete Instagram. "I don't want to miss out on events happening in my friends' lives." That is what phone calls, text messages, and coffee dates are for. "Instagram is a great way to showcase my photography." Not necessarily because Instagram is constricting, and there are better platforms for that purpose ( VSCO was my savior even before I quit Instagram ). "Instagram is full of creative content and is an amazing source of inspiration." The best source of inspiration is when you stop trying to be someone else, stop worrying about what people are saying about, stop looking at your phone and start looking within yourself for that inspiration. Start living your life without a phone in your face all the time.
I should mention that Instagram was my only form of social media at this time. I had already stopped using Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat years ago. Reasons being that they just made me incredibly unhappy. However, Instagram was complicated because I thought that it was making me content. The idea of being socially desired was satisfying until I realized that it fueled my anxiety. Completely disconnecting and deactivating became my only option if I wanted to be genuinely content.
It has been seven months since I deactivated my account and I have had much more time to read more books ( check out my 2019 Reading Challenge List ), spend more time with people who are important to me, and truly get to know myself and what goes on in my mind without the social pressure. I do sometimes try to justify making a new account now that I have had this cleanse, but I remember how awful it made me feel when I had it that it just isn't worth it. I am content living for myself. I don't need to document and broadcast my life. I refuse to live in the Matrix.