Why I Quit The Insta-Rage
I used to be someone who very proudly would trumpet the fact that I am, “always online”. From Instagram trends to following memes, to catching up with the news, and following a plethora of bloggers and celebs, I was the first to share updated news to all my friends and family.
On average, I used to spend around 20 minutes per session on Instagram. And that’s if I’m not planning to post because while it takes just 2 seconds to hit the post button, the sheer amount of time it would take me to choose a picture which would garner the most ❤’s and/ or comments and to edit it with just the right filter would sometimes take anywhere close to half a day (if not more).
My sessions on Instagram were (unintentionally) extremely planned out. It began early in the AM, I would open my eyes, stretch around in my bed, check if my husband was awake or not, kiss him good morning if he was and if he wasn’t, then I’d reach over to my phone, tell myself that I am not checking the app first thing in the morning and then go ahead and do just that.
Session 2 would follow, sometimes this would happen while I’m eating breakfast, if I’m cooking, then it would be pushed to a very important post breakfast time- yes, you know what I’m talking about, let’s call it, The Poop & Scroll session. Following this, as my workday would begin, I would sneak in time, either during a lengthy meeting or in between to-do lists to check what my friends, my favorite Kardashian (won’t tell who) and others were up to.
After this, I would spend a few sessions either at the gym or when I’m down for a walk. Or sometimes even while I’m catching up with a friend over the phone. Then, of course, there’s the ‘just-got-to-bed-session’.
There’s never a wrong time to scroll, right?
Wrong. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It’s been over a month, maybe more or less, since I’ve quit Instagram, among other apps that push you with constant buzzing and an overload of information. My day has never felt calmer. I am now directly in charge of all the content that I write, share, and most importantly, consume for that matter.
News reaches me when I’m ready to spend the dedicated 15 minutes of my day towards it. I read the headlines, skim through articles that are of interest to me, and go straight to the source of it all. There are several publications that I trust to give me verified information and I stick to those as opposed to countless threads and posts and comments and slideshow posts and so on, that focus on getting immediate reactions as opposed to calculated thought.
Friends share their photos with me, the ones who have realized that I am not on Instagram anymore. They send me pictures of their cooking, time spends with family, decorated corners of their homes and so on; the main difference here, is that I am not tapping away on 1-second stories mindlessly, they are thoughtful about the content that they send me, as I am when I receive and view it. We talk about the photos that we share, whether it’s a throwback or a ‘look what I’m reading now’ picture.
We actually talk and don’t just press ❤
I do miss the memes, but I have some lovely friends who take screenshots and send them to me anyway.
Instagram was one of my favorite platforms. Ask anyone, maybe Pinterest would be a super close second, but Instagram, that was my favorite place to me. A community where you can instantly communicate art, beauty, share lovely images of the world around us. But how quickly did this medium change and instead of filling us with wanderlust and appreciation, it began filling us with envy and anger? It happened very fast, and it happened overnight. We never even realized it.
Instagram, the very platform that was designed to communicate and share beauty and art, has become a space of negativity, hatred, intolerance, and more. The new trend now is #InstaRage.
Don’t get me wrong, Instagram did catch and share a lot of meaningful moments. It’s proven to be a window into my friends’ lives these past few years. I’ve seen triumphs, love, lots of delicious food, failures, heartbreaks, and more, all through the little square box on my phone screen. No doubt, Instagram is more than a photo-sharing app, it’s more than a social network too. It’s a media platform that gives us everything from family pictures, updates from friends, their dogs, their babies, their food, all the way to events from across the globe.
Unfortunately, I am no longer able to see the social internet, in all its form, as a force for net good in the world.
I used to consume so much content, that I had this constant feeling of sleepwalking through my life. There were times when at work, or at dinner, my colleague or husband would have to tell me something 3–4 times before I actually paid attention and pried my eyes (unwillingly) away from my phone screen.
So what next, you ask- why this rant, Richa?
Here’s why. I’m asking you to stop consuming. I’m urging you to think about a social media detox, one day, one week, one month and before you know it, you’ve pulled yourself out of the social sandpit. I’m not asking you to stay away from the news or other content, I’m asking you to choose what you decide to view, watch, and read. Don’t let #’s or paid posts steal your attention — life is better than that, TRUST ME.
Stop finding comfort and logic in LIKES. Build meaningful connections with friends and family members, share stories and memories over the phone. Allow yourself to follow your passions and hobbies instead of that 1 scrolling session.
My 20 minutes of the post-Lunch Instagram session has now been turned into blogging. I had read somewhere, to publish a book one day, you need to start by writing 20 sentences today. I’ve started this. You have a dream too, and I’m sure that the steps to achieving this will show itself if only you took a second to look away from your constant scrolling.
There are pros and cons to a lot of things in life, and I am sure there will be for staying away from social media. However, the one pro that, for me personally, that will allow me to continue on this path, is the fact that I have found mental peace. I am not as reactive as I used to be. I let the news and other content be just a fraction of my day. I read more. I’ve started writing again. I am connecting with my family. I have stopped mindless online shopping. I have found beauty in the sunset and not in a selfie.
To give you just one last example, instead of my 20-minute scrolling session, I just wrote a blog :)