Why I Left Instagram

A huge thank you to Francesca and Alisa for sending me this post after I managed to corrupt my entire database and the backup didn’t have my latest one saved!

I’m feeling so disillusioned with Instagram and social media in general at the moment. I’ve had an Instagram account since 2014, but I have never really used it a huge amount. I closed it off today for the following reasons:

1. Instagram is now owned by Facebook

Posts don’t appear in chronological order any longer. Facebook uses their “magical algorithm” to sort pictures in order of what you (supposedly) find important/interesting. This is probably the same algorithm they use on Facebook that meant I missed two pregnancy announcements and a mum I know going into hospital for breast surgery. Yeah, nice one, thanks Facebook! I have no control over whether they even show pictures to me from the friends I follow. This seems crazy to me.

2. Instagram is the worst place for comparison

If there is something that you like to do, there is someone out there doing it much better than you on Instagram. Whether it’s drawing, photography or fitness, instagram has hundreds of people creating stunning photos in your subject area that will make you feel like what you are doing is not worth it because it cannot compare. I don’t think this is healthy for creativity. Following experts can definitely be inspirational and motivating, but on instagram there are so many people to follow that it can begin to feel like there’s no point in even starting. Sometimes you need to just create, rather than consume. Sometimes you need to find your place in the world before you start checking out what everyone else is doing.

3. And again, there’s always comparison

Facebook is also guilty of this (and Facebook is something I plan to extricate myself from), but it can be quite demoralising when you’re having a shitty day and all you see from your friends are amazing holiday pictures, wonderful family meet-ups, and perfect family walks. Inevitably you are seeing other people’s highlight reel and comparing that to your ordinary day at home/work. Not fun. I love to see what my friends are up to, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it can seem that everyone is out doing something exciting apart from me, and as a mum of three I have enough guilt in my life without piling more on because I didn’t get my kids out in the rain or do an afternoon of inventive and original art and crafts.

4. You can’t keep Instagram and Facebook separate

This ties in with number one, but it is now impossible to have an Instagram account without all your facebook friends knowing about it. Maybe you want to document your weight loss journey and connect with like-minded people. Maybe you are gay and want to connect with others who haven’t come out yet. Well forget about using Instagram to build a separate virtual support network because Facebook sends everyone you know a notification that you are on Instagram as your-username. Even if you do not link to Facebook, it still knows. The apps seem to share data on your phone, so just having both installed gives you away. It’s creepy, but if you google it you will find the desperate measures people have gone to to have a secret account, to the point of having a separate phone and sim so they are not connected. Instagram and Facebook may as well be the same platform if they are going to operate this way.

5. It wastes time

Recently I have found myself indulging in social media far more often than I should be. I find that I just keep scrolling and scrolling and I’m not even really sure why I’m doing it. How much time, I wonder, does it really consume in our day and in our heads? What else could we be doing with that time and that mental capacity? Paying more attention to our kids, reading a book, or maybe even writing a book!

6. I quite like photography

I have a wonderful camera and I love to take photos. With Instagram it’s easy to snap a photo with an old iPhone, crop it, apply some filters and come up with something lovely. That’s great! But for me, I’d rather be taking photos and learning more about how to make images look pretty with my camera. I think using Instagram to make nice photos is all well and good, but it makes me lazy, when I could be developing my creativity in other ways.

7. Sponsored posts

So. Many. Adverts.

Annoying!

8. Am I providing anything of value?

This is probably my biggest reason at the moment. When I think about why I post pictures to Instagram, what is the answer? By adding my pictures to Instagram am I providing anything of any value to anyone else? My relatives don’t use it, so they can’t keep up with pictures of the kids. And as time goes on I’ve been more concerned about the fact that my children are growing up in a generation where everyone’s lives have been shared online since birth. Do I want that for my kids? But if I don’t post family pictures, why am I posting? To let people know what I’m doing? To showcase my skills? It isn’t really either of these. I suppose if I’m truly honest with myself it’s because I feel I need to join in the noise of sharing things. I’m doing it because everyone else is. That’s not what I want to be doing anything for.

I said goodbye to my Instagram accounts today, permanently deleted them, and deleted the app off my phone. I also deleted snapchat. It’s one less distraction in a life full of distractions that I am working to minimise, and it feels good to have made the decision to stay away. I feel lighter for it, even though there are some people I only keep up with through Instagram. Spreading my attention around so many different platforms doesn’t help me stay focused on my goals.

I want my focus to be mainly on blogging here, as a way of sharing. It’s always been my favourite way to share online and through blogging I have met some wonderful people. I find it more personal, more genuine, and my blog is totally under my control and doesn’t use some crazy algorithm to only show you the most “relevant” posts. I’ve blogged on and off for years, and I think I’d rather do this than use any other platform, so this is where you’ll find me 🙂

7 thoughts on “Why I Left Instagram

  1. Yes!!!! I did some work a couple years ago with something called the Abundant Mama Project. I already knew I didn’t like how social media made me feel (well electronics, really), but through that work, I identified the things I need in my life to feel happy and fulfilled. Unless I was using social media to achieve one of those needs (connections with other people for example), it leaves me feeling empty and restless. So now I still use Facebook, but I try to be more mindful of how I use it. I post pics of my kids or my personal activities, and then I log on just to talk to friends and family on those particular posts. I feel a little selfish because I don’t spend much time scrolling through my news feed to see what other people post. But part of the problem is that people post so much junk! Memes, super biased “news articles,” inflammatory posts about this or that… Not many opportunities to make connections with other people with that kind of content. I still have to be careful though. It’s so easy to fall into that trap of just scrolling scrolling scrolling. It’s like the things I see don’t satisfy my needs, so I just keep searching and searching, and before I know it, I’ve blown an entire hour scrolling. So I had to take Facebook off my phone and change my password to something random that I couldn’t commit to memory. Now if I want to log on, I have to use my laptop, and I have to find the little slip of paper that has my password written on it. That makes me pause and think about whether I really should be looking at Facebook or whether I should be using my time more wisely with a project or even just being present with my kids. I find I’m much more frazzled as a parent when I’m distracted with social media or when I’m upset about a message someone sent me. Sometimes Irave Facebook logged in, and then I catch myself going back to it again and again and getting stressed. When will I learn?! Technology addiction is real. Anyway, I think you’re really on to something with just using your blog as your outlet and your means of social connection. Congrats on closing your Instagram account!

    • Ah thanks 🙂 And what you said: “I find I’m much more frazzled as a parent when I’m distracted with social media or when I’m upset about a message someone sent me.” Exactly the same here! It just takes up mental space and means I’m not as engaged with what the kids are doing. And like you, I want social media to be all about connecting, which was the original point of it all, but that seems to have gotten lost as the years have gone by and it’s turned into yet another avenue for profit-making. I’m glad to have closed it off 🙂

  2. The only reason I finally made an Instagram account was to connect with a few bloggers that don’t have Facebook. I didn’t realize they were both owned by the same people. I do notice though that the same people that post a million pictures on Facebook every day, poat those same million pics to Instagram. It’s become annoying to me to scroll past the same crap on both. I don’t even post there often… I mostly use it to communicate with MPB lol!

    • I think streamlining connections like that is really helpful if you can stick to it. I have tried and failed, so it just had to go!

  3. Yes I was thinking today that if I took social media off my
    Phone I bet I’d blog a tonne more. Otherwise I’m just settling in for some Netflix and a scroll in the evening. I had noticed that stupid order of posts change they did. Love it for when I get to catch something I missed but don’t love it for when I’m just seeing old content for no good reason. #justcallmeimpossibletoplease 😂😂

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