Being Intentional on Instagram

I’ve written a blog post in the past about controlling my social media usage after identifying how addicted I was getting to them. Since that blog post, I’ve put in controls to make sure that I get better at my social media consumption. I want to think that over time I’ve gotten a lot better at controlling my desire to be scrolling mindlessly on a feed 24/7.

As I alluded to on my year review post, I wanted 2021 to be my year of seriously taking my time with things and enjoying the journey. But just like every year, social media in January is filled with the “you gotta hustle this year to succeed” and “here are 10000 goals I will fulfill this year” Don’t get me wrong, it’s not necessarily terrible.

To some, including myself at one point, it was incredibly motivational and what I needed to go beyond limits. I always felt like I was rushing to reach my goals out there, stressing out if I hadn’t got a fully well-thought-out plan before January 1st. Writing it out now, it was just so silly. Seeing these sorts of posts flood my feed wasn’t what I needed, mostly since I was naturally influenced by what I see. I mean, all of us are, and that’s the truth.

Illustration of too much social media
Image from Pixabay

Thoughts of “should I be aiming for the same thing?” Or “maybe I’m not ambitious enough as all the people on my timeline…Ridiculous, I know. Now I see this sort of pattern a lot on every social media platform, but for me, Instagram is the absolute worse for this.

My focus on Instagram

Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube… I get “bored” of these social media platforms quickly and don’t tend to scroll endlessly. Instagram, on the other hand, I could go on for hours.

Along with wanting to get away from the hustle content I saw more of on IG AND trying to reduce my mindless scrolling on the most addictive platform for me, I deleted the app from my phone.

Phew. A huge step, eh?

Instagram app on iPhone
Image from Pixabay

I’ve never really done it before because I always feel the “itch” and aggressive amounts of FOMO with the THOUGHT of deleting the app from my phone. Again, yes, it’s true, and I know that I’m not the only one.

It’s embarrassing how addicted I am to Instagram and how typing made me feel silly, but I hope it demonstrates how much of a huge step it was for me.

Shortly after deleting it, I felt the itch to watch my Close Friends’ stories and began to miss that social interaction I had with a lot of folks I don’t speak to day-to-day (especially important now in our third UK lockdown.) One thing I loved about Instagram was 100% this community aspect!

I shared my thoughts on this on Twitter which I always find has valuable information shared by high-value folks that I follow or follow me on the platform.

Alexandre recommended that I try out Threads. Threads is an app that is also created by Instagram, which focuses more on Close Friends, Stories from people that you follow and completely removes the endless feed and account stalking that we’ve all done. 😂

It reminds me of my old Snapchat days, where I enjoyed sharing bits of my life to my closest friends. I quickly found it the best way to continue sharing on my Stories, keep connected with my closest friends, and be selective on whose stories I want to watch (which tends to be Close Friends’ only these days!)

Like those Snapchat days, I tend to forget to check on it until lunchtime or sometimes even after work. For once in a long time, I felt in full control of my Instagram usage and brought back a social media platform’s real value.

What happened when I removed Instagram?

I don’t even miss the feed-focused platform as much as I thought I would! There have been times where I have wanted to share a post on my Instagram which you can’t do on the Threads app. What I’ve done instead is kept the Instagram app hidden in a folder on my iPad. Whenever I wanted to post something, I would share the photos from my iPhone (Airdrop is magical, I’m still shocked how awesome it is to this date) and post it via the Instagram app on my iPad.

The Instagram app is not optimized for iPad usage, so it gets fucking annoying creating a post with a meaningful caption. So I tend to write the post beforehand on my notes app and copy and paste it there. 😂 It feels like a lot more effort, but that is what it should be. Posting on Instagram should be intentional. It should be on your terms instead of influenced by other people you’ve seen share photos on your feed. It shouldn’t be reactive.

A few weeks have passed since I have done this now and as a (former) IG-addict, I am super proud of myself for giving my head the space it has needed for so long. I feel less reactive, calmer and not stuck on that comparing/FOMO train that is so easy to fall into more so on Instagram than anywhere else.

I don’t know if I’ll do this forever, but I do know that I’m a happier person with lower exposure to it. And isn’t that what matters?

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