I have been out of Instagram for about a month now and I don’t have anything cool to tell you about it.
I have been out of Zuckerberg’s Pits for a month now and it has been… normal so far. Honestly, I do not have cool or funny anecdotes on the situation.
It’s been three whole weeks today since I deleted my Instagram account (and now Facebook too). I know you have questions —
Was I scared of making myself socially distant from everyone? Yes, I was very scared!
Was I a self-righteous prick about it? Absolutely, yes.
Did I, shamelessly, write a Medium article only to brag about it? Of course.
But the main question is — how do I feel about it today?
So well honestly, it doesn’t feel like a big deal.
I mean it hasn’t been that hard as I thought it would be. Although there are these “blank moments” — little free time in-between work, usual awkward gatherings, or the classic — while sitting on the toilet situation — you know these moments, and there are a lot of them (general moments I mean; not the toilet specific ones). And in these moments, I mindlessly take my phone out, almost as a reflex, and I reach out to open my Instagram or Facebook to catch up on other people’s life (and memes, of course) and I… snap back to reality.
“You did it!”
When I told a lot of people about it, I was usually hit up with one of these two — “Ummm okay. Well, Good Luck! Let me know when you get out of this phase next week or so!” and “Okay… But why not just deactivate it and try controlling your usage?”. I love the first type of people and I honestly do not take this up as a challenge of any sort. As for the second type of people, I am sorry but I do not have answers. But I wish I did have one and I wish this could be the sign for you to quit social media.
I know you already are aware of a certain study by the University of Pennslyvania that shows how social media usage releases dopamine hits inside your body triggering the same kind of chemical reaction that is caused by gambling and recreational drugs. But, of course, it's no big problem.
I wish I knew more about how companies like Netflix are aimed to keep you addicted to their platforms even at the price of your sleep and the dangers of social media addiction which, over the last 2 decades, seems to have been normalized.
I also wish I read enough to make you aware of the little cognitive devil “confirmation bias” and how the entire internet is now a big confirmation bias machine (hey the richest man on the planet said it, not me) and how we will never go out of our own “echo chamber” of opinions and ideas on things.
But this write-up is far less ambitious than letting you know about the dangers of the Internet and the general social media. This is just my personal experience of quitting social media and my verdict — you can do it too!
Disclaimer: In all honesty, I think I might have replaced Instagram with Medium and Twitter as my source of validation just to maintain abstinence — not a thought out plan, it just happened so. But this is a good start as any.
I’ll leave you with an excerpt from Nicholas Carr about the Internet in general:
“What the Net (Internet) seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”
― Nicholas G. Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains