Fun fact: Peer over almost anyones shoulder on public transport, in a waiting room, cafe, whatever… They are, roughly 80% of the time, on Instagram. Not a genuine figure, but probably about right.
People are pulled to Instagram to waste a few minutes. Meaning that Instagram sucks, not just by sheer gravity of it’s appeal, but generally too.
Yes, Instagram sucks. It sucks your time, it sucks your productivity and it sucks your will to live. Admit it. It does.
And if you’re wondering how you can break the spell that Facebook’s behemoth image sharing site has over you, well, you’ve come to the right place.
The new Instagram algorithm sucks
It’s funny, because everyone seems to be complaining about the new Instagram algorithm. Insta is going all TikTok on us, and people seem to be outraged. Well… Funny story: it’s shit however you look at it.
Social media is designed to draw your attention and to keep you coming back for the dope hit of likes and engagement. Not my words, the words of most people who have ever worked for Facebook, Instagram or any other social media network.(heres the BBC documentary about it, and the Netflix one).
So it’s not necessarily that the NEW algorithm sucks, but that the entire business model for social media sucks. Your life away.
Instagram is toxic
Accusations of Instagram being toxic have been around for ages. And if you’re not totally aware, Facebook, the parent company of the Gram totally know. And how many shits do you think they give? Yup. Zero.
And if you’re a teen girl, aka the target audience for Instagram users, then you have even more cause to be worried. According to one study 32% of teen girls feels bad about their bodies, and Instagram makes them feel worse.
Body dysmorphia has been largely driven in recent years by the social media platforms including Snapchat, Instagram and now increasingly TikTok.
And it’s not just body image that has been impacted by the toxic nature of Instagram and social platforms in general.
The ‘inspirational and aspirational’ aspect of Instagram, with people flaunting their wealth or lifestyles, has led to widespread feelings of inadequacy and low self esteem. Again, often among the youth.
So Instagram isn’t just warping your body image, it’s also distorting what we think our life should look like too….
Is it time to leave Instagram?
For many, cutting down or reducing their dependence on Instagram and social media is high on their to do list. But is it time for you to leave Instagram?
If you’ve been toying with the idea of breaking your dependence on Instagram, or you experience overwhelmingly negative but addictive experiences on the platform, the answer might be yes.
Many people find themselves stuck in a social media loop due to FOMO or the desire to fit in with peers. But the truth is that once you’ve made the break from Instagram it’s actually a very cathartic and eye opening experience.
Taking time to look around, not reaching for the phone as soon as you sit down somewhere, and not feeling the need to get more likes or follows. It really makes a difference to your life and especially your mental health.
So how can you escape from the black hole of Instagram?
How to break free from Instagram and social media
The first step in breaking away from social media is to be aware of the problem. And chances are, if you’re reading this, you experience several of the negative elements of Instagram’s algorithms.
- Instinctively reaching for Instagram whenever you have a spare moment
- Endlessly scrolling even though it makes you feel bad
- Worrying or obsessing over someone elses life – even if you’ve never met them in real life
- Being victimised or trolled on your own account
- Feeling bad about your body, your life, income, belongings or your social status due to social media
- Experiencing anxiety, depression or other negative emotions as a result of time on Instagram
OK. So let’s say you identify with some of these, you’ve agreed that Instagram sucks balls and you’re ready to make the break.
The steps to leave Instagram
Step one: Make the Instragram app harder to access. Remove it from your front page app drawer. Hide it in an obscure folder three swipes back. This will make it less easy to mindlessly activate it and give you a few seconds to consider your actions – this will make a difference!
Step two: Disable notifications. Yes all of them. Explain to your besties that you won’t be using Instagram for messaging any more and to get you on Whatsapp/SMS etc.
Step three: When you feel the urge to open Instagram, try and find something else to do. Preferably something ‘real world’. Read a book, look around, talk to people… Even watching TV is a better option.
Step four: Rediscover boredom. Honestly… The lost art of being bored is one of the most productive experiences we can have as humans. Boredom is good for your brain! FACT. We come up with ideas, process our fears and desires and generally live in our brains for a bit. And that is better than obsessing over what Love Island Star whatever-shes-called is wearing… Oh, or take up a new hobby. That’s always fun!
Step five: Look around at people on their phones. It is nuts. People are walking along the street looking at Instagram. Nearly stepping into traffic. Endlessly scrolling. Did that used to be you….?? Why would you…? I mean….? WT-actual-F are these people doing?
Step six: Delete the app. Bold I know. But when you do it you will realise how liberating that is. And honestly this is the best thing you will do for your mental health all year. Instagram sucks and as soon as you can escape its draw, you win.
As a final caveat, you don’t have to leave Instagram forever (although you will want to by this point). But the exercise in breaking free from Instagram is one that you will find immensely rewarding!