About a month ago, around April 15th, Zach and I both deleted Instagram. It was the last remaining social media app on our phones and in our lives. It felt about the same as when I deleted Facebook three or four years ago. I thought I would miss it so much. I thought I would miss out, but really, I haven’t.
Hear me out. Instagram isn’t bad, I don’t hate it, I’m not saying you should delete it, or to keep it. I realize these days lots of people have moved on to Snapchat or Periscope after Instagram’s algorithm change. Maybe you’re still loving Facebook and Twitter. But it was time for us to go cold turkey on all of it. For me, it had become a habit (or worse, an addiction?) that interrupted my life, and I really needed to break the habit. A year or so ago, checking Instagram was literally part of my job, and I think it lost some of the fun. Especially since I’ve been breastfeeding and required to sit still for 20 minutes several times a day, I found myself mindlessly scrolling.
What really sealed the deal for me and made it easy to delete the app: I never clicked out of Instagram and felt like “Yes! That made me feel so encouraged and lighter.” Instead, I felt drained after scrolling through my feed. Like I had not only wasted my time, but also I might feel jealous… or down on myself… or striving to figure out what I could post about myself… or overthink a caption. It was drumming up a lot of ugly stuff.
It’s been freeing to let go of social media altogether. The internet has gotten much quieter, which is SO good for me. Now I can be super selective about the voices I let in my head. I have been reading more books, the lovely kind you hold in your hand with the scratchy sound of pages turning. Conversations don’t start with, “I saw on Instagram that you…” anymore. It’s easier to avoid checking my phone for a couple hours. No more complicated commenting system chock full of social hierarchies to navigate and dissect. No more followers or likes. I’m loving this small change. Less is more.
p.s. If you haven’t listened to the beginning of This American Life’s episode Status Update, I highly recommend it. It’s documenting the complex way teenagers interpret Instagram, but I felt there were so similarities as a 30 year old woman. Raise your hand if you’ve ever deleted a photo or edited a caption because it didn’t get enough “likes” within the first minute… (guilty.)