I have given myself until the end of the year to stop using Instagram. I think 2023 will be the year I swear off all forms of social media except YouTube, and this blog, if it counts as social media.
I have found Instagram more of a tool to while away my time than a tool to share my perspective. While it offers the features to do that, I find myself super conscious of what I share and end up just getting hooked into the cycle of seeing what other people are sharing instead. And I always end up feeling like I don't measure up.
I never feel good after using Instagram. As with Twitter, it's a weird place where you share and you can see the feedback people give you, whether or not you want it. And even though you can turn off comments and likes, you're still left with this feeling that somebody is going to go through hoops to tell you how much they didn't like something you posted.
I don't know why YouTube remains a little more comfortable. Perhaps it's a format I can digest better – not necessarily on a phone, but something I can cast to my TV and have on while I cook, clean, or exercise. And I know how much work and thought it takes to post an 8 minute video. Content takes longer to release, and I like a cadence of every week or month from favourite subscribers. I don't need to see or know what you did/think every day or every hour. (I am considering turning off comments but I leave them on in case there are facts I've misspoken and need to be corrected.)
I ask myself, what do I ultimately want to use the internet for? I don't really want conversation. I don't want people to slide in to my DMs. I don't want to field e-mails asking for collaborations or cross-publishing. I just want to share what I've created, and if you liked it, great, I don't have to know about it. And if you didn't, I hope you moved onto something else. That's all I want out of the internet. A place to put up my art, and to never know what people thought of it.
I find so much of social media's core is letting you know what others thought of it. And we really should not care. I want to share what I have so that you can conceptualize it with your unique worldview, take whatever you want from it, and leave the rest. And move on. That's what I do with other people's art. Or "content" as we call it these days.
I remember in the early 2000's when posting a photo of your face online was taboo, scary, or opened yourself up to stalkers and catphishers. Now people's microtransactions are in my face all the time. I want to take back control of how I use my time on the internet. Post, run away, and once in a while, consume what someone has taken a lot of thought and energy into. No more Tweets, no more Reels, and no more fleeting garbage – in or out.