I LOVE Instagram. There, I said it. I used to - *cough* still do *cough* - spend hours a day scrolling my feed. Not simultaneously, but added up. Obviously. But I was that person with over a thousand Instagram posts (not particularly good posts), and I followed countless "influencers". I genuinely loved scrolling.
Until one day I didn't. I wasn't looking at anything people were posting. I wasn't reading witty captions. I was just mindlessly scrolling. When I was bored, I'd refresh and scroll. I'd be watching a movie and also watching someone's Insta stories. Or worse, I'd post my own story about "watching" that movie. I started thinking of my life in terms of how it would look on social media (for me social media being solely Instagram since I have no Facebook, and had no Twitter at the time). I was one of those girls moving plates around and taking pictures of my coffee and scone. Except, unlike many of those Instagram models, I was actually eating the scone. Which would later manifest itself in body shaming as I looked on through pictures of thigh-gapped cool girls. Suddenly, Instagram wasn't inspiring or cool anymore. It was boring.
Beautiful latte, stylish book/notebook.
Does this scream "I'm interesting"?
So I did what any self-respecting millennial did: I went on an Instagram cleanse. One month - the whole of April - without it. I deleted the app from my phone, and I never announced my temporary departure; I knew no one would care. At first, as it happens to any addict, I felt the withdrawal. Where were my pictures going to go? How was I going to know what new cool things were happening in NYC - a city I love but don't actually inhabit, therefore irrelevant to me - to cool girls with Realisation Par dresses and wicker baskets. I felt so disconnected from "the world". Worse of all, I didn't know what to do when I was bored. Or how would I look important or busy while eating alone at a cafe?
What I eventually realized that because of Instagram, and my addiction to it, I'd become so accustomed to escaping my present moment. Without it, I was forced to acknowledge the world around me. And I was also forced to figure out other ways to pass the time. Here's a couple things I did when I did the "cleanse":
- Made beaded bracelets
- Played with architecture blocks
- I people watched at restaurants or cafes
- I read books
- I cooked
I didn't watch TV because I also took that away for the month of April.
I'm back to scrolling. I'm writing this because I feel the same way I did just before I started this cleanse. Everything has started to look and feel the same on Instagram. That environment didn't change while I was away. My perception of it did. I keep the app because - as many Facebook users argue - I use it to chat with friends from other cities and share memes. But it begs the question of whether I should keep the app at all. In a world where brands and friends communicate with each other via social media, how can we feel connected without being "connected"?