Updated: Jul 24, 2018
Round 3 of I Can't Social. Am I beating a dead horse here? In my continual journey to curate my life to its most meaningful state, there is an irony that I would contemplate discontinuing use of the world's most curated social media platform. But let's face it, Instagram is the most harmful social media app in terms of mental health. It creates a reality that is simply not realistic and not attainable by most standards. Instagram has led me to pursue a wealth of objects, goals and purchases in just a few short years that I would have otherwise never known about. Just to name a few: microbladed eyebrows, botox, lip filler, a host of skincare and cosmetics products that have easily cost me into the thousands (not to even mention the cost of the items I listed before skincare and makeup), clothing, jewelry, shoes, home decor... the list is exhaustive and I couldn't possibly provide a comprehensive analysis here... but you get the point. Like... what did people even spend their money on before Instagram? I feel like at one point I had the same love/hate relationship with glossy fashion and womens' magazines that made me believe I needed things. I eventually severed ties with these items just as I am contemplating severing ties with IG.
In true #TheJourneyofLess fashion (why am I even using a hashtag when I am literally writing about deleting IG... you see how ingrained it is in us??) I have put together lists of pros/cons for why I should keep or delete IG. Let's examine:
Reasons to delete IG:
It makes me want to buy things I don't need.
It makes me envious of people I don't know.
It skews my perception of what "normal" looks like with extreme curation.
It makes me feel like I'm "behind" in life.
It tempts me to look up people from my past (who are in my past for a reason).
It prompts me to fantasize about (insert obsession (i.e. body image, nutrition, home furnishings)) which are either unattainable for me genetically or unrealistic for my lifestyle.
It distracts me from the here and now.
It causes me to question my spouse's (harmless) absent-minded browsing ("Excuse me buy why did you click 'like' on that girl in the thong bikini?")
It incites anger (at times).
It costs me my time (one of my most valuable and finite resources).
It provides a platform for my friends to share opinions and photos that have nothing to do with me (and which I have no business seeing or forming an opinion about). (In other words, it opens our relationship to a judgement that should not exist for the context and nature of our relationship).
It tracks my browsing habits and sells them.
It tracks my location.
It tracks my interaction with content through both active and passive measures.
It stifles productivity.
It keeps me awake at night with it's alluring magnifying glass tab where I discover (and go down rabbit holes) hundreds things I never knew I always needed.
It brings out the internet trolls.
It shows humanity's darkest sides.
It brings about a desire to curate and share parts of my life which are private for the soul purpose of receiving accolades (likes) and feedback (comments) where none is necessary or often appropriate.
There are a myriad of activities which provide personal growth and fulfillment that "I don't have time to do" yet I find myself scrolling Instagram for 15 minutes at 1-2 hour intervals most days.
In the words of Derek Sivers, if it's not a HELL YES, it should be a "NO." And IG is definitely not a HELL YES for me. The fact that I'm even contemplating its presence in my life should maker it a hard "NO."
Reasons to keep IG:
It allows me to share my blog posts.
It allows me to keep up with strangers whose content I find fascinating.
It introduces products and content to me that I might want to purchase or utilize.
It can be an educational source for health and wellness resources.
It keeps me company when I am bored.
Wow. Is there really much to consider here?
But OMG how will I share my blog posts without IG? Answering this question requires me to answer a more fundamental question: Why do I blog?
Am I blogging to receive feedback and accolades? If so, how is this different from sharing a curated version of my life via IG (or any social media platform?)
Or am I blogging because it brings me joy and a feeling of accomplishment? Do I write because it fulfills me or because it fulfills a need to be heard? If it's a need to be heard... who am I even writing to and are they even listening?
I'm about to be a mother (complete with postpartum body and loose skin and all the glorious TMI-things that motherhood provides in addition to a baby...) and I DO NOT NEED the pressure of "bouncing back" that Instagram so infamously provides. For my mental health, my sanity, and so my priorities remain aligned with what I should be focused on after giving birth (the new human), it would seem as though Instagram would be quite detrimental to my overall well-being.
I feel like I may have answered my own dilemma here. What are your thoughts? Have you ever weighed the pros and cons of maintaining a social media presence?
More importantly, what is the opportunity cost of maintaining this presence?
Be well, friends! I'll talk to you soon!