A bit after midnight, just as we entered 2021, I made the impulsive decision to temporarily disable my Instagram. A few years back, I had done the same with Facebook, and never looked back. No stranger to reducing my social media platforms like that, I was curious as to how my Instagram decision would impact my life. Spoiler alert: it really didn’t.
Let me explain.
For all of January, I had no social media platforms. In the beginning, I even went so far as to delete the YouTube app from my phone, as it was one of my most used apps. Whist I had zero impulses to re-download Instagram, I did end up re-downloading YouTube a couple of days in. I just love YouTube too much I guess. Nonetheless, I digress. Here’s the good and bad to my experiment.
THE GOOD 👍
🍀💖 The good, as mentioned above, is that I didn’t get one single urge to re-download or re-check my Instagram. Turns out, it serves no real purpose in my life. I think, I usually used it to stay updated on friends and acquaintance. And once I closed it, I could still stay updated on friends, just this time, through in-person coffee dates (which I’d argue is much, much better anyways). I also felt more present and less distracted during social situations, which I’d argue is very valuable. In fact, I now have great social situations that happened, but they’re all just housed cozily in my memories. This almost feels as nostalgic as childhood. And what if I wanted to share a funny meme with friends? I’d just text them – no difference at all. Another good thing that happened, was that the void that Instagram left had to be filled with something else, which in my case ended up being Duolingo. Currently, I’m flexing my German skills and learning the Cyrillic alphabet because why not (I learned the Japanese alphabet, Hiragana, this time last year, but Japanese in itself was too complicated!).
THE NOT SO GOOD 👎
📛🙅♀️ Like I hinted at, I had initially anticipated my phone screen time to go down by deleting Instagram. In fact, that was one of the main reasons why I wanted to delete it to begin with. I felt like I spent too much time on the app. Unfortunately, to my discovery, my screen time did not really go down, it just changed in nature. Instead of scrolling through people’s stories, I used other apps to pass my time. Duolingo is one of the finer examples, but I downloaded plenty a shameful Candy Crush style game as well to pass the time. No shame in my game though (pun intended?).
The final verdict, was that social media is really as irrelevant as we all assume it to be. Your friends will not forget about you. Your phone habits will not change, unless you work more thoroughly on building better habits, and all in all, Instagram doesn’t really matter that much.
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