I deactivated my Instagram and it feels so good! It was making me despondent. It is just another way to self-aggrandize. My life is blah. I’m boring. My IG account was a frequent source of misery for me because I felt pressure to be more interesting than I actually am. To get more likes! More comments! More. More. More.
With regard to the platform itself: why should we care about people’s pointless shit in pic form? Why is it important to show people what we eat? Okay you workout and eat clean. I get it. Should I care that you are at some club listening to shitty EDM? Will your artsy, off center vacation photo make everything better? The blurred leaves, the crashing waves, your hot dog legs on the beach, the locals in the deep background, the low angle shot of a building, the perfectly poured drink? Should it be interesting to see you hang in packs while showcasing your #squadgoals like how big you can make the cloud in your smoke circle?
If we use filters on our photos to make ourselves appear better, aren’t we really just filtering out reality? If you look 'good,' have you filtered out what’s really wrong? Oh sure you feel better temporarily as the likes and obligatory comments come flooding in, but are you better? I think it makes it worse. At least it does for me. Feeling important or sexy because we think we’ve got the perfectly composed shot - that’s been edited it to the point where it is not representative of anything authentic – should not be our collective goal. It's a conflation of our perceived mental state and fantasy. What do the perfectly posed artificiality in the photos of you or your subject say? That you appear to be living a fabulous life? That you know how to have a good time? That you're worldly?
This may be divisive, but perhaps it is simply showing what you’re not. What your life isn’t. What you can’t achieve. What you don’t have. What you can never look like. It’s dishonest. If you are spending time to take the perfect photo of your life, rather than living in the imperfect moments of it, ask yourself why? It’s called self presentation. We position or manipulate ourselves to the way we want to be seen. It feeds our ego. I am guilty of this as well. I live a fill-in-the-blank life. A life that is made more ___________ by having to commit to the seemingly endless, stream of consciousness hashtags we use to sort our moments for other's consumption.
The self presenting and shameless humblebrag on IG is exhausting – be it through endless selfies, or the “look at what I did” or “look what my bf/gf did” posts, to the “look at my body of work” posts (artist types) to the “look at my butt after I’ve worked out” posts. #iamneedy. #pleaselikemypost #howcoolami. #iamontrend #lookatme #approveofme #boostmylowselfesteem. #tellmeiamgoodenough #loveme #lovemywork.
Now I’m not suggesting you don’t self-promote but get a website and promote it if you think you’re so special. If you are, people will visit your site. People will consume your product.
What really pushed my Instadisgust over the edge though, was the IG stories. This snapchat ripoff was the final straw: only about 1 in a million of us have lives that are THAT interesting. The Boomerang gifs, the videos, and endless stream of captioned photos with stickers seem to me to be an opportunity to show how pointless our lives are. What level of screaming desperation do we need to feel inside to do this? This encourages our collective insecurity. It promotes narcissism. I’d go as far to say it promotes dissociation. Why would anyone want to act like a teen girl or a self-promoting celeb by doing an IG story? That’s what you are doing when you succumb to their latest marketing tool to make you spit out 24 hours of your mundane life to your “followers.” Which leads me to the cult-like nomenclature of it all. You know who has followers? Scientologists. The Kingston Clan. Instagram.
I think our pain and desperation to conform to something we should not want to conform to, drives this. IG is like Krokodil. You crave the high of it and you get addicted quickly, but eventually it rots you from the inside. Besides, the pictures that are on there can be seen on Facebook because A LOT people cross post their stuff! Do we really need to see, and feel pressured to like, the same photo on more than one site? I think no. Sayonara Instagram. I’ll miss a few feeds but it'll be okay. Promise.
UPDATE: I had to reactivate it for work. It's horrible.