When Instagram first came out, I was all over that. Hashtagging tf out of my pictures, following all my faves, just constantly using the app. And then one day out of the blue – I got over it. I deleted my Instagram a couple years ago and have never looked back since. The only reason why I’m bringing it up now the amusement it brings me when I get mixed reactions from people who look at me strangely when I tell them “Sorry, I can’t follow you because I actually don’t have an IG.”
Keeping in touch, or keeping tabs?
I have Facebook and Snapchat. I think that’s more than enough. Facebook is for keeping in touch with old friends or relatives and the occasional stalking – oops, I mean, checking out your new crush. Snapchat is a bit more personal. However, Snapchat is getting overrun by ridiculous ads and tabloid stories. Honestly, I think social media can be very toxic in general, especially for teenagers. I’ve also personally witnessed breakups that stem from social media, Instagram specifically. Ah yes, only in the 21st century will couples fight about an IG post or like. When our parents were fighting about real problems, we were fighting about who liked who’s picture.
The Age of Algorithms
I had an Instagram when I was around 19-21 years old. Like most people, I got sucked into the superficial world of perfect angles and beauty shots. My decision all boiled down to a quiet afternoon with one of my college buddies at our favorite bakery shop. I remember I had purchased some macaroons and my first thought wasn’t to indulge in the sweet deliciousness of my $5.75 salted caramel, it was to take a snap and post it on Instagram. I paused, and looked up to my friend, only to find her taking a selfie with her chai latte. I don’t know. It just got old after awhile, and I decided no. This is not who I want to be. I wanted to enjoy the moments. I don’t want to think about sharing my next moment. I just wanted to savor them as they come. And they’re all just simple moments and pleasures in life when you really think about it. Like getting your nails done. Seeing a cute puppy on the street. Blooming flowers from my mother’s garden.
I also got tired of going through multiple selfies to pick the “right” one, only to spend more time nitpicking my imperfections and smoothing them out with a filter. Or when your friend doesn’t like the way they look in a group picture when in reality they look just fine. I don’t want to count likes. I don’t want to compare myself to photoshopped bodies and digitally retouched faces. So I deleted it because it all felt so fake. I felt like I no longer have anything to prove anymore, you know? How people did like backs and comments just to do it, not because they really care about you and what you’re up to. As an empath, I realize it was getting too much for me personally. We all have insecurities, and sometimes social media just feeds into it even more. My favorite is the couples or people who have a flawless feed, but that’s all they have. Behind the scenes, you don’t know what’s going on with their life. If you had such a happy and perfect life you wouldn’t feel the need to constantly boast it online. It’s mind blowing, all the crazy amazing nights I’ve ever had in my life, I have no photos or recollection of. It goes to show when you’re truly happy or having fun, you don’t feel the need to “post” something. You just live and enjoy it.
The Business of Buying Followers
Public figures kill me. I’m not talking about real Instagram models or rich trust fund babies who travel the world or fashion bloggers. I’m talking about the 17-year-old who just spent her allowance and bought all her followers and likes to be verified as a “public figure”. How do you have over 10k followers and only 500 likes? Somewhere the calculation is off. How sad is it that young boys and girls feel the need to buy robot followers? How shallow is it that these companies are profiting off our insecurities?
And that’s pretty much the story. I don’t miss it all. Except for when I’m out and someone says “Did you see her latest Instagram post? What’s that all about?” Then I feel out of the loop, but it’s also nice knowing you’re not a part of that world anymore.