I can’t believe I forgot to write about this in my 2018 wrap. I’m amazed at myself. There was a time, a few years ago where I couldn’t have even contemplated doing something like this. Yet, here I am in 2019 having officially broken up with the biggest social media platform in the world. After six years and many hours of mindless addiction, I said my final goodbye. Sort of. I’ll get to that part later.
Whilst deleting the app on your phone for a short hiatus is pretty easy, permanently deleting your account is more complex and takes some looking into. The most important thing for me when I made the call to delete it is that I wanted to keep my photos. For about three weeks, this was the last thing holding me back. I had six odd years of important material and memories stored in there that I wanted to save, specifically photographs of my travels for which I used Instagram to document religiously. So I started where every sensible individual starts…. Google. After a little bit of research, I found out that it was possible to download all my edited photos into a zip file. I believe there are a number of different internet websites that can be used as an interface in order to do this. Once I had my photos in a zip, I uploaded them to dropbox, safe in the knowledge that they’re in a cloud somewhere and can’t be lost in the godforsaken event that my laptop dies and cannot be resuscitated.
Now I don’t half-ass this shit. When I decided to delete my instagram, I made a freaking ceremony of it. I picked a day that I had off work and marked out my plan to screw the gram. I cleaned my room. Played some high vibrational positive energy frequency music. Lit some candles. Took loads of deep breaths. I went through the entire process of saving my photos safely. And when I clicked the ‘delete’ button, I felt so damn fine and like the queen of my life.
The whole thing is a bit long and a bit whiney and there’s no real, solid, satisfying answer to this question. Let’s just say it’s been brewing for a long time. In any case, I’ve detailed some of the reasons down here.
I mean… we all are. I’ve had significant issues with my self esteem that affected my mental health in quite drastic ways. There was a time, not long ago, where I believed with every fibre of my being that I wasn’t good enough. Instagram was a place where I was effortlessly and even unconsciously comparing my life’s bloopers with other people’s highlight reels. And that just made me feel like shit. We live in a weird age where double taps and likes are a kind of currency we use to measure our self worth (y’all only need to watch Nosedive). Our egos get high off the dopamine hits that accompany every ‘like’. That’s where the role of a balanced mindset comes in. If you’re going to look after yourself and engage with social media at the same time, I firmly believe you just have to be able to remind yourself that it is not real life. You’ve got to resist the urges to compare yourself to the people on there. Unfortunately, I’m just not there. It was actually easier for me to ditch Instagram altogether than to adopt a healthy approach to it. So that’s exactly what I did.
2. I realised that the people who matter will stick around
Instagram isn’t just a platform for sharing photos. You’ve got your sliding into the DMs and everyone’s stories and boomerangs and the bit where you keep up with the lives of people you kind of knew once and congratulate them when they get engaged etc. I knew that by deleting Instagram I would, at times, be depriving myself of the opportunity to connect or reconnect with others despite our separation in time and space. There will be stuff I miss out on. But I acknowledge that. I accept that. And in reality; if you and I need Instagram to keep talking to each other then maybe we’re just not that good friends and we might not catch up again. And that’s 100% okay.
3. I got big on self care and spirituality
…and my instagram just wasn’t feeding me the content I craved. If I paid attention to the sensations going on in my body after an hour of mindless scrolling, the most prominent one would always be ‘drained af’. Drained of my spirit. When I started seeing my time and energy as something really precious, I stopped wanting to spend it on things that don’t fulfil me.
In summary: Instagram was no longer serving me so I decided to let it go.
Where am I now?
Well I deleted it completely for about a month. Initially, I have to admit, it was bizarre. I’d deleted the app a ton of times when I got sick of it but never actually got rid of it completely. Moreover, during this time I’d been getting really into watching different content creators on YouTube and was keen to follow them elsewhere so I could be updated on their livestreams. I was also keen to edit more of my travel photos as I am working on a collection.
So a short while later… I re-downloaded Instagram again. However; this time I did it completely on my own terms. Under a pseudonym which you will never know and a profile picture that doesn’t show my face.
I haven’t let anyone follow me (even a low-key famous YouTuber requested to follow me! I was flattered but also like- no thanks) because honestly, I don’t want anyone to see my photos anymore. I’m keeping my life to myself from now on and I’m a lot happier that way. I use the account to follow inspirational content which is entirely of my choosing. Like YouTubers, spiritual movements, meditation, writers, poets, book authors I like, books related accounts, Emma Watson (obviously) healthy food accounts, National Geographic, night sky photography, travel pages and other stuff I’m interested in. If I follow something for a while and I stop aligning with the content it delivers, I unfollow it immediately. Cut throat attitude because it’s my life, it’s my feed, it contributes to my mood and it either adds value or it doesn’t, however the only person in control of that is me. This has created a really beautiful, happy medium for me alongside a completely pressure free environment.
Just a note: this post wasn’t at all about promoting deleting social media or urging anyone else to do it. When it comes to social media and particularly Instagram, I have zero agenda whatsoever. It’s a cool app with pros and cons just like everything else on Earth. It’s just not for me. That is all.
I will, however, leave you with one thought. Are you thinking about it? Can you relate? Are you itching to do it like I was? If you are and you’re hesitating, maybe the fact you’ve read until the end is your sign to just go for it.
It might just be one of the most liberating things you’ve ever done.
Love G xo