I never thought I had the will power to delete Instagram, nor did I envision myself writing about it. Nonetheless, I took the leap and jumped over the moon. With that, I decided I could do without TikTok, VSCO and Pinterest. Becoming a social media minimalist was never on my agenda. For years, I was the ultimate Instagram stalker, and the videos on my TikTok ‘for you’ page were my only source of information. With that said, my mindset gradually shifted when I considered the impact of pouring time into these feeds.
Firstly, I felt that it was no longer serving its purpose. Yes, it provided me with an instant hit of dopamine every few hours (or every few minutes), but what was I really getting from social media? Highlight reels of people I barely knew posing in front of aesthetic avocado toast? Zillions of photo dumps from ski trips I hadn’t been on? I wasn’t actually communicating with anyone. I knew more about people I’d never met than my nearest and dearest.
The next driving reason was the aul comparison spiel. We’ve all heard enough about photoshop and how “nobody online genuinely looks like that”. It’s a cliché and it’s annoying, but it is true. I could not swipe through stories of ‘wild nights out’ without subconsciously believing that my life was inferior. I felt lame and boring for staying in while everybody else my age was partying ‘every night’.
The invisible pressure to constantly update your feed was another factor. I was incapable of going to a restaurant without documenting the elegantly stacked, flower-topped sushi rolls I was eating; or the cocktail I ordered that came served in a coconut shell. If I hadn’t posted on Instagram for a while, I was presumed dead, and this was not the sole culprit. I found myself continually trying to record everything that was happening, as if a single photo wouldn’t suffice, or the memory itself at that.
The need to show evidence of doing something was taking away from the present experience of doing it.
I don’t want to come across as a full-blown preacher, so I will acknowledge the good bits. For many, sites like Instagram and YouTube can be a place of self-expression. Those who struggle to reveal their true selves in reality can use photos, videos, or posts to show people who they are.
Also, Twitter is great for staying topical about goings-on. By following world leaders, celebrities, and experts, we can stay ‘in the know’ without having to read jargon-filled news articles. As for VSCO, TikTok and Pinterest, these are super sites for creative and entrepreneurial people. You can even go as far as making a business out of them.
All in all, if we create a healthy relationship with social media, and use them in moderation, they can improve our lives.
I, for example, still benefit from WhatsApp and Snapchat as they allow me to keep in touch with friends and family. However, if you’re on the fence about a site in particular, think about the impact it has on you, and question yourself.
Do you gain anything from this platform, or does it take from you? Are you seeking validation from likes and comments? Or do you utilize the site to build stronger relationships? If a platform is no longer doing it for you, don’t be afraid to go cold turkey. Trust me, you won’t miss the infinite boomerangs of clinking flutes on a Friday night.