As a self-proclaimed Instagram addict, I struggled harder than I thought I would after temporarily deactivating the app that basically legalized stalking. Bless up, Mike Krieger. However, like any sort of cleanse, (unless it’s a juice cleanse during which you are miserable the entire time), the longer I went on my Instagram cleanse, the less I craved it. And by “it,” I mean attention and validation from my followers. I’m aware that sounded very cult-esque, but tell me what Instagram is if not a raging cult with millions of followers? I’LL WAIT. Anyway, going without Instagram is like that episode of Broad City where both Abbi and Ilana’s phones break during the most epic rainbow and they are just like forced to enjoy the moment sans filters, hashtags, and posting. That’s kind of what I’m doing, except instead of rainbows over the Statue of Liberty on a beautiful summer day, it’s more like the cast of Queer Eye walking into Build Series studio near my office on Broadway. My point is, disabling my Instagram account has introduced me to the definition of IRL, and surprisingly, I’m into it. As Giovanna, the skinny blonde Y7 yoga instructor whose real name is definitely Sarah or Haley, says, “Connecting with the world around you is more important in the moment than after it.” Truth, Gio, truth.
I am not one of those people who deletes Instagram just because it takes up 98% of my phone’s storage space or because I never use it. On the contrary, I spent most of my time watching the Foster sisters’ weird family dynamics and videos of puppies frolicking in the snow. The reason for my Instagram cleanse? I had just started dating someone, and no one outside of my immediate circle knew about him because there was no photo evidence of our relationship on Instagram or Facebook. (Does anyone even still use Facebook for purposes other than the daily birthday reminders?) The moment I realized this, I had two thoughts: “It’s kind of nice to be this cozy social bubble” and “OMG will we be in this tiny claustrophobic bubble forever?” Until I’m back on the ground, I may have to share the news of his existence in person. Gross.
So that got me thinking: Instagram puts so much pressure on its users to keep their followers up-to-date with their lives! I know this isn’t a revolutionary epiphany or anything, but for what it’s worth, it’s true. Look, I am definitely not swearing off Instagram forever, I am just really enjoying my life without it, and here are five reasons why.
I Have More Free Time
Checking Instagram isn’t time-consuming the way Marie Kondo-ing your closet or making a cauliflower crust pizza from scratch are, but if you add up all of the minutes you spend on an app (there is an app for that!), you will discover that you probably spend a disgusting amount of time on Instagram on a daily basis. For the first few days sans the ‘Gram, I found my thumb constantly reaching for the space where the app used to be in my phone and then accidentally opening my Con Edison app instead because it lives there now. One unexpected benefit of deleting Instagram is that I have accidentally opened the ConEd app so many times that I got to see and pay my bill the exact moment it was due. Kewl, right??
Anyway, after I got used to not checking Instagram the literal second I opened my eyes in the morning, I realized that I didn’t need to physically have my phone on me at all times because, let’s be real, I have iChat on my computer and does anyone under the age of 60 ever actually call anymore? No. So with 2.7 hours suddenly available in my day, I can spend that time being a real human being instead of a socially stunted child who cannot function in a social setting or watch a movie without a phone in my hand.
I Am More Social
It’s not like I would cancel my plans just to sit in my apartment alone and scroll through Ariana Grande’s feed back when I had Instagram (but no judgment if that’s your M.O.). I would still go to dinner with my friends and stuff, but I would be having a conversation with them while fully looking at my phone. To paint the picture clearly for ya, we’d take a cute photo at the table, then I’d spend the next 45 minutes editing it and another 15 on the caption. For real, I barely had time to eat my burger! Life was hard. So going to meals with my gal pals without a phone glued to my hand has been an interesting experience with a myriad benefits! For starters, I get to yell at bitches for being on their phones at the table like the angry Jewish grandmother I am, and I get to genuinely enjoy the meal, restaurant, vibes, ambiance, etc. without the added pressure of capturing every moment. Like, unless you’re waiting for test results, you don’t need to have your phone face up on the table, just saying.
I’m Nicer (Kind Of)
Honestly, once a betch, always a betch, so I’m not about to pretend I’m Gandhi these days, but I’m not as obviously bitchy now that I am not intentionally rubbing my fun dinners and nights out in people’s faces. Look, just to keep it real: No one posts an Instagram Story just to share beauty of lovely photo of a beach with the world. No. Everyone just wants to prove they are “living their best lives” (read: in tons of debt and faking it).
Now that I don’t have Instagram (feel free to take a shot every time I say that), I am just taking it all in and soaking up everyone’s awesomeness because, without a pic to post, there’s nothing else to do. Like why did I, and everyone, feel like I needed to prove how fun and cool I am? The only people whose opinion of me that I give a sh*t about are the ones I actually spend time with IRL, not that girl I thought I’d be lifelong friends with during the first two days of freshmen orientation.
I Don’t Hear/See Sh*t I Don’t Care About
You know when something happens and then literally every celebrity/person feels the incessant need to post about it? For instance, the death of an icon (RIP Mac Miller), the birth of an icon (hi Blue Ivy), a scandal (anything Trump does on any given day) or an engagement/breakup (howdy Ariana and Pete). All of this ~news~ is fine in small doses (or maybe just one dose), but when every single person with decent wifi stops their lives to post about the Khloé-Tristan-Jordyn drama, I get a little overwhelmed and want to crawl into a dark hole for the rest of my life. To just drive the point home, there can be 100 posts on Instagram, and 99 of them won’t be factually correct, but all you need is one that is at least kind of accurate to get the info you need.
Look, I am not swearing off Instagram forever, in fact I’ll prob be reactivating my account in a few weeks (if I can remember the unnecessarily complicated password they made me choose). But for the time being, I am enjoying my life without it. If you’ve ever thought about doing an Instagram cleanse, I would try it. You might not miss IG as much as you think, and you can definitely live without it.
Images: Andrii Podilnyk /Unsplash; Giphy (3)