Possibly one week into Instagram hiatus now. There definitely was the temptation to log in and just scroll endlessly into the night like before, but upon clicking on the icon app and was met with the sign-in page, I was reminded of my own personal promise to stay away from it as long as I could. Was there FOMO? Not quite, because I get my news from Twitter — which, I think would slowly receive the very same fate with Instagram too (I have long stopped logging in to Facebook) — and I could catch up with friends over other backchannels (Whatsapp, Telegram, iMessage etc.). The only app I kept logged on is Snapchat, which, to be honest, is a ghost town — except for the previous few months when they introduced the gender-changing filters and Snapchat saw an increase in sign-ups.
There’s this article today on Snapchat and why some of us (i.e. me) seek refuge in this confusing app from the grinding utility of the Internet. One of the reasons I stopped using Instagram because I noticed I was getting too obsessed. I spent way too much time on it — particularly Instagram Story — that it started to become detrimental in a way that I become obsessed about what to post next and how to make it ‘proper’. When I thought about the idea of ‘proper’, I questioned, “who did I decide to make it proper for?” I am not an influencer, and I believe my personal friends I have on Instagram couldn’t care less whether my Stories were proper or not, they’d love me nevertheless (I hope). That was when I realised I was spiraling, and like quitting sugary drinks, I had no problems quitting things cold turkey.
The problem with Instagram, and perhaps other social media platforms as well also, is that it has started to become too embedded in your lives. I have heard of employers who conduct social media checks on their potential employees’ personal social media accounts before hiring them, and some even go to the trouble of calling aside their current employee in order to tell them to take down a personal post on a personal social media account, created before joining the company.
Perhaps more than anything else, what has sucked all of the joy out of the social internet in its current form is its exhortation to be useful. We have arrived at a version where everything seems to be just another version of LinkedIn. Every online space is supposed to get you a job or a partner or a stronger personal brand so you can accomplish the big, public-record goals of life. The public marketplace is everywhere. It’s an interactive and immersive CV, an archive. It all counts, and it all matters.
Also, where it clearly resonates with me:
I want to confess things out loud and be ignored. I want to say the things I can only say if I believe that I am nowhere.
Not to mention — this is also another confusing phrase when you think of it, since I explicitly want to mention about it — I am also very fond of this flying tumbleweed in the article.