I’ve never really been a huge fan of Instagram, but still had the app to keep up with friends and family. A little over a month ago, when Instagram changed its feed to their “new and improved” algorithm instead of chronological, I finally decided to just delete the app. I had the app deleted for about 6 weeks, and honestly, only missed it once, and I was able to log in on my computer to view my feed. Why did I decide to give up Instagram for a month?
1. Posting with purpose
I recently wrote an article on how I’ve become a firm believer in living with purpose. I began becoming intentional with everything I posted online. I’m not simply judging what Instagram filter looks best against my skin tone, but truly; what is the purpose of each thing I post? To entertain or make someone laugh? To inspire? To inform? To encourage? To share an exciting event with friends? If I could think of a good reason (like the ones above), I posted it. If not, I deleted it.
Beauty bloggers might post selfies to advertise new make-up techniques or hair styles, celebrities might do it for a sponsored item. Moms might want to share their kid’s latest mile stones. High school students might want to share a fun event that happened over the weekend. I know some small business owners who do it for exposure for their product, or in relation to a business they have. Some college kids might do it as a start to a photography portfolio. No matter what your pictures are of or what you post, it’s never a bad idea to think of why you want to post something.
2. Shallow praise and false self-confidence
I have to wonder why we as human beings, beautifully made and capable of so many things, have belittled our worth to how many likes or comments we get on our photos. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous when you think about it? We invest so much of our precious time on things that don’t matter. Truly, what is the purpose of posting a dozen pictures of yourself standing in front of a mirror? For attention, superficial praise or likes? Are we that desperate for attention? Instagram felt like a constant subtle competition for the most likes or comments, and the best photos; by whatever means necessary to keep up with an online image. It was driving me crazy!
I don’t believe social media is completely “fake,” and I don’t think it’s wrong for people to only want to post the best. But social media perfection and craving online approval have become an obsession. Nowadays, so much our self confidence stems from what other people think about us. That type of self confidence often doesn’t last very long, and more often than not leaves us feeling worse about ourselves – once again comparing ourselves to others.
Instead, I’ve learned to admire kindness a lot more than beauty, and accomplishments over popularity and likes.
3. Christian vanity
I am a Christian, and I am not ashamed to admit it. Still, after watching this hard hitting satire video, I cringe every time I see people constantly posting devotionals/Bible photos. As Christians, what is the purpose of making our devotions and Bible reading time public? Are we doing it to be Christ honoring, or are we doing it for admiration from fellow Christians? If you’re doing it as a way to share your favorite verses or devotional that really touched you, it can be a positive thing. If you’re doing it for attention and/or praise, it can unfortunately become a negative.
Matthew 6:5-6 strongly convicted me on this one.
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
4. It was time wasting
Let’s face it; Instagram is distracting and a big production killer. With Instagram deleted, I no longer decided to spend the spare moments in life (like waiting in line) getting sucked into an endless feed of photos. Now, I’ve been using those spare moments to write posts, or build my memory. (that’s another story entirely)
5. The new feed
To be honest, the feed itself was what made me angrily delete Instagram – when the “smart feed” updated automatically on my phone. I had heard of the new Instagram updates, and was livid. Pinterest’s constantly changing smart feeds have caused me so many headaches, and the new feed is boring and the same pins over and over again. Before Instagram’s announcement, something told me that they would soon follow. I hate the idea of Instagram (owned by Facebook) controlling everything I see. And like Facebook, I know this was meant to raise Instagram’s bottom line, as it forces brands to buy advertisements when their posts don’t perform well.
I don’t believe Instagram or its users are evil; I don’t believe selfies or Bible-and-coffee photos are bad. Social media is a powerful weapon, and even a selfie or a Bible photo can be used for many purposeful, positive and great things. I recently re-downloaded Instagram, but after finding it annoying, decided to delete it again. I still can keep up with my feed if I want to through my computer, but it isn’t such a time-waster any more.