9 April 2019

Why I'm Giving Up With Instagram

Instagram; it's the social media platform we all love to hate. 

With its ever-changing algorithms, swipe up features and instant stories it's no wonder that the average millennial spends over 60 minutes scrolling through the app every day. What started out as a place to share an instant snap, hence the name Instagram, has now become a career opportunity with some influencers using it as a main source of income.

I don't know about you, but I find that crazy.

I joined Instagram when it first launched in 2010. I was thirteen at the time and it was one of the first apps I downloaded on my iPod Touch (yep, I was one of the cool kids). I was obsessed with Justin Bieber and used Instagram to keep up to date with what he was doing, I even had an account dedicated to him - the world's biggest fangirl or what!?

Back then Instagram was all about the instant snap and nothing was staged. I'd share photos of my coffee, a selfie of me and my pals in big glasses holding up the peace sign or a snap of Justin Bieber with a caption expressing my love for him (and secretly hoping he'd choose me as his One Less Lonely Girl).

Spoiler: He never did. 

Every photo was of the worst quality, a little bit blurry and accompanied by the Nashville filter with the cute little border around the edge - as shown in my very first Instagram post. There was no pressure back then, every photo was good enough and it was a source of creativity and fun.

So,  why am I giving up with Instagram? 

In 2013, I made a brand new account. I felt like I'd outgrown my original Instagram and wanted to distance myself from my cringe-worthy posts and badly edited photos. I was sixteen at the time and it was then that I started to feel the pressures of Instagram. 

The blogging and YouTube industries were rapidly becoming popular and creators were getting more recognition for their work. Influencers were experimenting with editing techniques, photo quality was improving and consequently, Instagram became the most popular social media platform.

Instagram has consumed my life. 

As a small blogger, I feel a large amount of pressure to follow the latest trends, use a good quality camera, post content every single day and edit my photos to match a certain theme. It's more about statistics than enjoyment and that makes me really sad. If a certain photo doesn't reach a certain engagement, there's a feeling of failure that lingers. Why are we getting so upset over how many likes a photo has? It's madness. 

 I'm too busy watching other people live their lives to live my own. 

But seriously, what does it matter?

Anxiety and other mental health issues in young people are at an all-time high and I think that Instagram is a big contributing factor. 

The truth is, life isn't as perfect as it seems on Instagram. You see a snap of someone's day, literally ten seconds of what could be the worst day of their life, and you think everything is going brilliantly. Let's be honest, we only share the good bits and most of the photos we see haven't been taken on that day anyway.

Instagram is a fantasy land; almost everything is set up,  photoshopped within an inch of its life and therefore creating an inaccurate perception. I don't wake up looking great every morning, frankly, I look like I've been through ten rounds with Anthony Joshua (and that's on a good day).

Maybe it's time we stop sharing photos for the sake of engagement and actually post content that is inspiring, motivating and that we're proud of. We should be removing the pressures that we've unknowingly built up and actually get back to what Instagram was made for; the instant snap into everyday life; the good, the bad and the ugly.

So I'm going to stop

I don't want to deal with the pressures of Instagram anymore. I don't want it to be the first thing I check in the morning. I want to be able to go out with my friends without feeling like I need to document that. I want to stop comparing my life to others. And I know that only I can change that. 

Instagram can be the most toxic place if you allow it to consume you. 

From now on, I'll be posting what I want when I want. I'm done worrying about editing and themes and outfits. I just want to enjoy sharing my photography without trying to work out what day I should schedule the post for so that it matches my non-existent theme. 

If something I see online negatively affects me and I start to send myself in a downward spiral, I'll unfollow or mute. I want to fill my timeline with content that inspires and motivates me. That's what social media should be about. My mood shouldn't change so quickly just from scrolling through a few photos on an app and I'm so glad I'm realising this now. 

I just hope we can all go back to using Instagram for enjoyment and make it a place that's less about judgement and comparison and more about fun and creativity. 

Lots of Love,


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