It’s been exactly a month since I deactivated my Instagram account.
How do I feel? Do I miss it?
A: Like I escaped a cult.
A: Hell no.
I could make a neat little bullet point list of the reasons I left. Obvious ones, like it was making my mental health worse.
I could focus on ones you notice more as you spend time in certain ‘gram circles (Booksta was my choice of residence). The pressure to buy books as soon as they’re released.
And in any circle: politics, the knowledge you can and will be canceled should you dare go against whatever the current darling is.
It sounds incredibly strange now, standing outside it all. The average person would give you a sideways look and ask, “Who is that?” if you told them the handle of an IG influencer.
I am fine being average.
The first week, I’d pick up my phone before remembering I didn’t have anything to check. I supplemented the time browsing etsy. My brain had grown so accustomed to the mindless scrolling that it wanted something. I let it throw a fit. I let myself be bored.
I was learning to live without the instant dopamine hit.
Gradually, other things filled the time. I started playing a couple of relaxing games I could easily put down when needed. Podcasts and audiobooks were back in the weekly rotation. I began spending less, because there was no sense of FOMO.
I cross-stitched. Enjoyed the weather. Finished some books that were languishing on shelves. Called up friends to catch up. Went out to dinner and a museum and really SAW the surroundings.
The more I make my life something I love, the less appealing I find the plastic veneer of social media platforms.
Breaking free has, aside from meditation and losing weight, been the best, most loving thing I’ve done for myself.
Reading this makes me want to further explore ridding myself of instagram. It is my last remaining “traditional” social media and currently the only source of a social life I have so that does make it hard. But I still remember the sense of freedom I felt when I deleted my Twitter and Facebook accounts in 2016 or so. It felt good and I don’t regret leaving those platforms at all.
I wish someone could come along and put the “social” back in “social media”. I think there is still hope for platforms that actually bring people together and it isn’t just about thumbing through countless stupid videos with stupid songs attached to them. Ha. And it shouldn’t be about content algorithms or suppressing certain voices or even the content of the people we choose to follow.
I miss the traditional Internet forums that served as actual online communities for hobbyists or other like-minded people. Some would argue that Facebook solved this need but they haven’t and I could write a book about why Facebook is terrible for things like that. The TL;DR would be that Facebook (and other social media) is impulsive and fleeting. Period.
Although I miss you daily, nightly, even hourly (!) in my own frequent IG checks, I admire your honesty and strength in being able to put it down.
I know that I’ve ordered entirely too many books, from horror and SF to classics, just because some “deal” appeared in some dealer’s posts. The upside is that I’ve learned more about the history of those genres than a pre-Instagram life of store browsing and bookselling, reading Locus Magazine or old issues of other magazines had been able to complete. As for what use it is to me, in knowing who H. Warner Munn was or what fantasies of the ancient world by Patricia McKillip were best, I don’t know.
If I spent less time checking IG posts, I’d read more books, and even maybe write again. I’m keeping your example in mind, and hope you write in this space as much as you can.
Your own dot com! You’re all set for the day when you have a book or more stories, poems, available.
Until next time, be safe, smiling beauty.
Carter (@darkhorse_37212 )