No thanks, Instagram.
Instagram is the hotness. And not just for pre-teen girls anymore. People that I respect use Instagram. People that I respect in part because they do their own things and don’t bow to social norms. People that are not followers.
So, despite long-time thoughts that Instagram wasn’t for me, I was intrigued. If these people use Instagram then maybe I’m missing something.
A few weeks ago Sarah and I took a weekend trip to Chicago. We were having a drink at a taphouse and I brought these thoughts to her. She’s a heavy Instagram user so I wanted her opinion. And her face lit up. She couldn’t have given it a more glowing review. She kept urging that I try it.
Yes, please.I had talked trash on Instagram for years because it was fun to talk trash. But secretly, I was dying to give it a try. It was kind of like when you pretend to hate N’Sync throughout your childhood. Then one day you wake up and stop caring what other people think so much. N’Sync sings amazing songs, damn it.
After agreeing to Sarah’s hardball sales pitch I proceeded to annoy the hell out of her for the rest of our trip about how much I was going to win at Instagram.
Every Instagram Post I’ve Ever Made
At the advice two random blogs, I decided I’d post to Instagram once per day.
For my first post I wanted to be cheeky. I wanted to poke fun at what had kept me away for so long. I created the post in Sketch. And then I installed a third-party desktop app to get the damn thing on Instagram. Because Instagram is a mobile-only platform with respect to input. And then I installed a second app because the first one didn’t work.
For my second and final post, I stopped in the middle of a round of disc golf to take a picture of a disc in the basket. The same basket that I see every day that I 100% did not need a picture of.
My mind was in a beautifully blended state of relaxation and competitiveness. I stopped to put my bag down so that I could take out my phone and capture the moment for Instagram. I took a picture. Then retook it at a different angle. And then one more angle. Then I spent the next 25 seconds fiddling with different filters, never finding the right one. My happiness was replaced with frustration.
I traded perfection for an imperfect picture of perfection.
Not So Fun While it Lasted
Two posts and 25 likes later, I’m done. I’ve given it as much of a try as I can. I’m going on an Instagram hiatus.
The app was nice. It was user-friendly and pretty. The pictures were gorgeous and my friends were great. But the overall experience was awful.
Because my usage of Instagram was in opposition to the life I’m trying to live. There are not enough benefits on either the personal or business level to make up for how little I enjoyed using it.
On the personal level: I’m going to die relatively soon. While I’m still alive I want to do things that I like. That doesn’t include looking at my friends’ filtered lives. Where are all the pictures of you at your desk and you picking up your dog’s poop? I know for a fact that you’re not constantly in Copacabana or Fiji. Maybe I’m the oddball, but I’d like to see the real you. Because I like the real you and I care about the real you. I don’t care about the Instagram version of you.
On the business level: If Instagram made me a few bucks as a side effect, awesome. But to have that as the sole reason for using the platform seems dicey. And even if it were guaranteed to make me a few extra bucks, it wouldn’t be worth it. I’m actively seeking ways to reduce my workload. And the first things to go have to be the things that I don’t enjoy. Especially now that I don’t value money the same way that I used to.
Old me would do it anyway to get a few more visitors to my blog. New me? No thanks.
Before I bash too much I want to make two important points:
- Instagram is a cool app for staying connected with friends if you don’t already spend all day on technology. Especially if all of your friends are also 14-year-old girls.
- Instagram might be great for companies with a dedicated social media person.
Neither of those two cases fits me.
Here’s the thing. I have computer time. And I have non-computer time. Instagram fits into neither.
When I’m at my computer I don’t want to be on my phone. Because I have a 27" screen right in front of my face. I can do things faster (and better) on my iMac than I can on my Android phone. Input on a phone is the worst. Input on a keyboard is magical. Phones are for consuming. Computers are for doing. I like both. But doing is more fun.
During my non-computer time I’m doing non-computer things. Like playing disc golf or hanging out with Sarah or drinking beer or sleeping or writing or having dinner with friends. In this time, I do not want to be on my phone. It doesn’t interest me. I’ve already been on my computer. I’ve already searched all my asinine questions and done all my social media. When I’m away from the computer I want to be away from the computer.
Not a Circle Jerk
What kind of jerk would I be if I only posted photos? If I never engaged with other people’s photos? A big stinkin’ jerk, that’s what kind.
But when and where am I supposed to consume Instagram? When I’m on the toilet? When I’m eating dinner with friends? When I’m watching a movie? When I’m sitting at the dentist’s office?
Alright, the dentist’s office it is. And I grant that there are other similar occasions. Like waiting for a train. But the amount of times where there’s nothing I’d rather be doing than using my phone is absurdly small. So if I want to use Instagram I have two options:
- Only engage with my Instagram peeps once every 18 days.
- Use Instagram when I’d rather be doing something else.
Two bad options.
I might change my mind in the future. I’ll probably write an Instagram love letter in six months. I’m open to that idea and I’m okay with eating my words if need be. But for now: No thanks, Instagram.
My disdain for this one thing isn’t the point. The point is: I tried something new. And I didn’t like it. So I stopped.
What’s your Instagram?