Instagram, I’m Back

I have been sans-socials for two months and it was nice, but now I am back. Guess who’s back, back again, Shady’s back, tell a friend. Today, I am going to spill my guts and give you all the gory, glorious, and hindsight details.

To start with, I was spending waaaayyyyyy too much time on Insta. I previously mentioned how it was a habit to pick up my phone and scroll when an internet page was taking too long to load. I was constantly on the discover feed wasting my time down rabbit holes. I think there were many times where I would scroll my way through an entire meal instead of paying attention to my kids. It was like smoking cigarettes, I hated it, but I kept doing it. (Not that I have ever smoked before, that’s just what I hear it’s like.) I desperately wanted a reason to leave, something to push me over my limit of tolerance for the app.

That is when I heard about the new terms of agreement on IG. And by “new” I think they were actually a couple months old by the time I heard about them. These terms were invasive and gross in my opinion, though at first, they weren’t enough to run me off.

Something you should know about me is that I am paranoid about privacy. I share very few and selective photos of my daughters online. I keep all my locations turned off my apps. I at one point considered going as far off grid to abandon my computer and cell phone so I couldn’t be tracked or spied upon in any way. (I don’t need targeted ads to tell me what to buy. I can make my own decisions, thank you very much.) For years I have been using platforms like Facebook and Instagram with a level of discomfort and trepidation. I think it is safe to say now that these platforms have a clear agenda for the things they want to promote, and they don’t align with my personal beliefs.

In January when things got really hairy in the social media world, accounts were being blocked and deleted, people were being banned without clear reasons, I found the motivation I needed to leave. I bailed. See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya. I told most people that it was because I couldn’t support the behaviors of these platforms anymore, and that was true. I also said it was about privacy concerns, and that is still true. But after being gone for a while, I better understand that I was dying for an excuse. I was desperate for a way out but couldn’t find enough justification or gumption to do it myself. So with a lot of prayer, anxiety, and a little heartbreak, I deleted my accounts.

Fulling deleting them was most important. There could not be a back door for me. I had to leave and be gone. If there was a way to sneak back in I don’t think I could have withstood the temptation. Facebook was very easy to kill – once I found the secret link to delete my account, they don’t make it easy to leave. Instagram was a lot harder. I have been off and on with FB for years, but I have been on IG for literally 10 years. That is almost as long as I have been with my husband. I didn’t want to go, but my outward reasons about privacy and my inward (though not fully realized) reasons about having a problem spending too much time on the app were heavy on my heart. So, with a few melodramatic texts with a friend, I axed IG.

There was the initial shock and withdraws of not having those distractions anymore. They were as painful as they could be for someone who was in the habit of filling every spare minute with distraction. But after the first week or so I found that I was greatly relieved. After two weeks when I relearned how great it was to get through life without a dinging gremlin in my pocket I was empowered. Yes, at the time I was still an anxiety addled mess which could, at times, keep me from completing some of the most basic tasks. But I also realized that IG was taking far more value from my life than it was giving back.

So what changed? One which we have already gone over is my anxiety – it is under management now. Another is I realized my reasons for leaving had more to do with my underlying issues with my time spent on the app than the privacy concerns I was citing.

But something happened that I did not expect: the amount that I missed IG did not change. I could not give two flips about FB, but IG was different. I met one of my dearest friends on IG. There is a vast community of inspiration and like-mindedness on IG that I haven’t found anywhere else. The value the app did offer me was still great, my addiction to the app had simply become greater.

Someone dear to me was questioning my reason for returning to the app. Since they have no use for social media they had great perspective on life without IG. I don’t think I could fully clarify going back until pinned down with questioning. I explained that IG was like a curated magazine full of inspiration from the people I chose to hear from. I missed being inspired by those people and seeing new things. I also missed sharing the things I was doing with my online friends. If my peony’s bloom, but I didn’t post them to IG, do they even smell as sweey? Of course not, if its not on the internet it didn’t happen. /s

A smaller thing I noticed after deleting IG is that my world seemed a bit smaller. I don’t think that is a good or bad thing, sometimes we need to have a small world in order to get things done. But as a work at home mom that can be very isolating. Afternoon tea break can be a bit more enjoyable if you can pull up the feed of an art history account on IG. It’s not too bad to scroll through renaissance era paintings with your tea.

Anyway, this is where I am now with the socials. I now have a deeper understanding of a love/hate relationship. I love my curated, little world I am rebuilding. I hate that corporations read my text messages to try to sell me crap. Either way, I’m in it now.

I am wondering if anyone else has something they have a deep, love/hate relationship with and how they manage that thing. Share it with me.

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