I am leaving you and I am sorry. I truly am. The whole aspect of Instagram was so exciting for me. The opportunity to catch up with friends and have tons of mindless content that I can just consume for hours on end. The perfect solution for the holidays. Initially, it was awesome. The reels were mind numbing and the posts were quite entertaining and everything was fine until this point. Then the cracks began to appear in paradise. These cracks, I ignored at first, but soon they were so unbearable that I decided to throw Instagram out of the window and on this website, I wanted to talk about these cracks and what made them so unbearable to me that I decided to quit! Cold Turkey.
Disclaimer: These are all my personal opinions and I only ask you to not criticize and just respect my opinion.
Yes! To talk about the cracks, let’s start with the most mild one of it, the posts. It is public knowledge that as the amount of users on a platform increases, the content and the general refinement of the content available, slowly degrades and this is completely personal but I like my feed to be the same. But instead, I got bombarded with the latest cringe pouring out of the Instagram algorithm that mind you is not without it’s own problems. I am not sure how to put this but, the posts I was seeing were very provocative and were not helping with a few personal goals I was setting. I am not blaming Instagram here and I own the problems of coding a good algorithm first hand and I also know the reason I was seeing a lot of suggestive and provocative content on Instagram. It is because this type of content sells. There is a reason why the social media management teams love these type of posts. It brings a whole new set of viewers to your content. It is not the type of people you would want to interact with.
I know that I have no right to name any content cringe or not but I have to admit, most of the content I was seeing could be classified into three board categories:
- Informative/ Entertaining
- Cringe Now let’s talk about this.
I know this problem exists on every social media platform and I don’t blame Instagram for this. But a good social media platform is not just the platform itself. It is also the people who use the social media platform and the overall way of the internet now a days didn’t help Instagram’s case. I refuse to use the word but I hope you are able to make out what I am talking about when I talk about provocative content. The bikinis, the shoots, the body expectations were too much. This content was instead sending me on a dangerous path of the adult side of the internet and this was something I was not very keen once I realized the down sides. Instagram was driving me to the body shop and we know that daddy was doing something unholy in the body shop.
The next type of content is something that I respect. This is the informative and entertaining side of Instagram and I love it! This is what I wish my feed was and I still regret not being able to view this feed. I learnt about a ton of cool websites and software, had a lot of fun reading new fan theories and basically had a blast. But I found that very frequently, this beautiful side of Instagram was being overshadowed. This is a pity and it still pains me to let this go.
Cringe. You know what it is. You have seen it at some point if you are online. Be it someone dressing up weirdly or doing something wildly inappropriate for a prank. I was fed up with this.
You can deny this as much as you like. But social media at it’s core is distracting and is not meant for people who want to focus on their day. I actually enjoyed this part of Instagram for quite sometime and was very complacent on the way it effected my life. I remember my sleep being disturbed because I was watching reels all through the night. Many a night being disappointed because of Instagram. Determined to get to the root of my mobile addiction, I installed a open source app called Activity Watch on my mobile phone and used it normally or one week and I was shocked or not so shocked by the results. I used Instagram for nearly 18 hours out of the 22 hours I had used my phone that week. That is 81.8% of the total time I used my phone! So I could reduce my screen time by 18 hours by simply deleting Instagram. An App that was already causing me a lot of unhappiness.
I found that without Instagram, I was more productive coding and I was more interested in reading books and reading article which before I could not have the attention span to grasp.
Okay, before I go on. I warn you that I might sound like a 50 year old man talking about how it was in their times, but I am a teenager. I grew up with the internet and it was always an integral part of my life. So please keep that in mind before you start criticizing me over the points I make here. At this point, it must be stated that I had tried to delete Instagram multiple times and this was not successful. It was almost like I was going through a withdrawal. The first day I uninstalled Instagram, I used my phone for 30 minutes. Yes! That’s a 1000% improvement! Instagram was literally the reason for my mobile addiction, for my laziness.
After uninstalling Instagram, I started to call my friends more, started going out more, started to basically live a more social and a more clean life. I started to achieve my personal goal to quit adult content. I was on a streak! This is unheard of when I was using Instagram.
I was also sleeping early and well every since uninstalling Instagram. Yes I was still up late using my phone, but I felt in control. I was otherwise almost desperate searching Instagram for the right content for me.
So my overall lifestyle improved. Now, this only happened to me and this is my personal experience. I am not projecting it onto you. I am only sharing my experience.
Instagram algorithm is the devil reincarnate and I am sorry for being so harsh. But that is the truth. Instagram was so much better before the algorithm; just a simple photo sharing apps, which projects like pixelfed still aim to be. The Instagram Algorithm ruined paradise. It was the devil! Do you know about the fact that now the Instagram algorithm now promotes reels more than posts. Have you ever thought to wonder the amount of power you are handing over to a corporation by showing you the ads and posts they want? This might seen small but it is huge. Just look at the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the NSA leaks. It shows you the power of your data and how easily the human mind is influenced.
But, if we put all of the obviously privacy risks aside, let’s talk about the insidious nature of algorithms. Social Media Algorithms are not meant for the well being and the advancement of humanity. They are for harvesting as much data as possible and to make massive profits for the company that maintains them. This means that they don’t really care if riots break out due to them or if they are showing a viewer sometime inappropriate. All they care about are clicks, impressions and ads. Now ads are quite useless if they are not targeted properly. Ever since ads were a thing, they were always targeted. Remember door to door salesman knocking on the doors of house wives and in the afternoon. to target a more impressionable audience. Yes. Imagine a modern form of this.
One more complain I have with the Instagram algorithm is the default feed I get. At a certain point, I was scared to delete my account because I would lose my carefully crafted feed. I also had to be very careful while browsing Instagram because the moment I click on something I was not interested in, it kept popping up on my feed forever! This is a very stressful situation and it is something that I do not appreciate
Now I have to admit. Internet in general is quite toxic. But Instagram made me depressed. All the flaunting and pish posh lifestyle and achievements I saw there were very toxic. I also started setting an unfair standard for women after seeing the beautiful models of Instagram which on their own, had problems. Now I do not blame the models. I blame myself. But it should not be ignored that Instagram played a huge role in the toxic culture. I don’t want to talk too much about this since it would give out too much information, but just know that it was bad.
So Where Next?
Okay! So I quit Instagram. Then what do I do in my free time? I am still on my phone for quite sometime. Mostly just reading news or watching YouTube videos. I sometimes also browser Twitter but that is also quite less. I now also spend some time on Discord talking to new people and helping out the rich programmer community on Discord. For talking with my friends, I actually opted for signal. I actually found that being on different social media platforms for limited amounts of time is actually quite good and this is what I intend to do for the foreseeable future. Uninstalling Instagram has been a difficult journey and it is going to be difficult. But I believe that it will be worth it!
Do I want you to quit Instagram after this article? No! I just want you to be a little conscious and also try to live a day without Instagram. If you can do it fine. If not, I think it is time to take control of your social media before it takes control of you. So with that said.