Clickbait-y sounding title aside, I wanted to write this post with a certain immediacy.
But before I pour my heart out, I first want to start with my customary greeting- “A big hello to all those reading this post, and I hope you have had a great week so far!” 🙂
Now that that’s out of the way, I can explain how this post came about and what my experience has been with this experiment. Yes, this is exactly what it was- an experiment on self-discovery. And here’s what your average Jane has to say.
WHY I QUIT INSTAGRAM FOR A WEEK
Instagram is an amazing platform filled with visually aesthetic feeds, painfully curated to a point where I felt a need to follow suit. I’m referring to only myself here, because not everyone would feel the same way as I do.
What once started as a way to chronicle our day-to-day lives, like visual ‘dear diary’ moments, has morphed into something else today. The evolution of Instagram has been monumental for bloggers and businesses especially, who have found their ideal medium to show up and grow their audience.
But with this sudden emphasis on growing the audience, comes a need to regularly check the engagement of the audience. How many followers we have is tantamount to the popularity of our content. Or so is how I thought and still think.
Suddenly, I felt the need to scale up my meager follower count and obsess over how to grow the numbers. I would spend hours on end on Instagram, scrolling and liking. I would observe how other bloggers were very focused on Instagram engagement and managed to grow their follower count through a very meticulously maintained feed. I noticed the collaborations they made with brands, and the beautifully shot professional photos.
I didn’t care about any of those things, till recently after said decision to do something to be noticed too. I equated a higher Instagram follower count with being a successful blogger. And in pursuit of that, let’s see what followed.
A list of things I forced myself to do:
- I tried to create a color theme for my Instagram feed, and went through the same tiring curation process a million other Instagrammers do.
- I was retaking photos over and over, editing them, thinking several times about which photo to post and which would hurt my feed.
- I started to do my research on hashtags that helped get me noticed and the pages to tag. Once I posted a photo, I would anticipate a certain number of likes. Of course, I was ‘doing it for the gram’, so wasn’t that justified?
But in the end, I wounded my self-esteem quite deeply. I wasn’t getting many likes, and people who followed me would unfollow me within hours for reasons unknown to me. I was deeply frustrated, and felt like a loser. I had never, till today, let social media take control over me.
Instagram broke me, and I wanted to heal my self-confidence. And that’s why I did what I did- I quit Instagram for a week, as an experiment.
A WEEK WITHOUT INSTAGRAM IS LIKE…
A breath of cold, fresh air that fills your lungs when you step outside your home. I uninstalled Instagram on Friday night (Jan 26) and wanted to see if I could hold on to my resolve.
If I were to go into every small detail of how that week flew past me, this post might turn into a novella. But those seven days of not being active on Instagram changed my mindset and attitude for the positive.
My life felt like it flowed slowly and smoothly, and I had no place to be.
Things I did instead of being on Instagram:
- I read a lot more content online, on websites I love like ‘into the gloss’ and ‘man repeller’.
- I enjoyed watching films and YouTube videos, got a few ideas for DIY crafts and cleaned my home throughout.
- I spent good, quality time with a friend of mine and made a decor piece together for my home. I even doodled on a mug!
- I was more focused on my job search, and less so on endlessly scrolling and planning my Instagram feed.
I was weaving quiet memories, and pushing out all that mental noise I suffered through with continuous Instagram usage.
I did film a YouTube video, but haven’t finished the editing and neither did I write any blog content. I took a satisfying one week break from Instagram and from my craft, like a mental vacation.
THE END RESULTS OF AN INSTAGRAM NO-SHOW
I felt so light without Instagram, and without my negative habit of comparing myself to other successful bloggers. Monika from ‘Palate for Style‘, is an amazing blogger and human being, who had told me a while back that success doesn’t have to fit the conventional mold. She was right, because I actually came to realize it over this one week break. I was defining my success by my Instagram engagement, but I forgot to enjoy it along the way. And that’s not who I am.
When we have powerful views about not defining our health by our weight in numbers, why aren’t we doing the same for Instagram?
My bird’s eye view of linking Instagram to my successfulness in life has changed quite drastically. I have decided to take a seat back, and scale back the hours I spend on Instagram. I am not, and have never been a person who produces content for monetary gains solely or for growing followers. I am used to posting only to share images that document cherished memories, and content that I worked hard for on my blog and YouTube.
I am bringing that feeling back again, of actually enjoying Instagram without feeling anxiety struck by the sponsored posts everywhere.
I logged into my Instagram yesterday night after a week, and felt overwhelmed. I wanted to go back to my cocoon, in getting off of Instagram altogether. But I do want to use the platform to share my content with the few kind souls who genuinely do connect with me. I am getting back to Instagram, but many previous attached strings have been detached.
I am unreeling this mentality that I have to follow every XYZ person to keep them engaged and following me. I am undoing how my self-confidence is dependent on my Instagram profile. I am not defined by my Instagram likes and follower count.
My real life is outside of Instagram, and that’s where you’ll find me.