If you’ve been itching to get off a social media platform and wonder if it’ll be all right, wonder if you can manage, wonder if it’s possible to live in the 21st century without it, let this article be a bit of encouragement to do what you need to do. Yes, it will be OK.
I left Instagram two years ago and have no regrets. For those considering it, here’s what I found. There is life after Instagram. Real life. And it’s good. Don’t let peer pressure (or those “your friends will miss you” pre-programmed scripts) keep you from making a decision you know is right for you.
I wanted to commemorate the day I ditched Instagram and to reflect, once again, on what life is like without it — this time two years later instead of just two months.
I had my reasons for saying goodbye to the ‘gram:
- The instant/constant nature of the beast
- The time-sink
- Low return on investment for blog traffic
- Seeing a friend’s reasons for leaving gave me permission to hop off too
You can read explanations of each of those points in my original post here, from two months after leaving the platform. I’ve realized in further reflection that the politicization of everything is another reason I got off. But the explanation of that point would require an entire blog post in itself. I’ll save that for another day.
Lately, I’ve felt a little twinge of nostalgia for those square pictures. I remember the reasons I was on there for about two years before I quit. I wanted to drive some traffic to my blog. It was fun to see beautiful pictures of books, kids, planners, educational quotes, and more.
It was fun to share those sometimes random, precious, and entertaining moments with others. It was easier to write an encouraging or thoughtful caption than to write and edit a blog post, so I was at least getting some ideas and inspiration out there more often.
So, does the potential for good outweigh the bad? Will I be giving it another go?
No. Definitely not.
Those feelings of nostalgia aren’t necessarily bad, but they are misplaced. I want my emotional energy to be primarily directed to the people in my family, my church, and my broader local community. I don’t need to build up more nostalgia for a social media platform. I need to invest in building up emotional ties where they really matter.
“Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Jesus is talking about the love of money versus the love of God, but I think the principle applies just as well to how we spend our time and attention. What we care about we invest in, and what we invest in we care about.
The nostalgia isn’t a reason for getting back on. It’s yet another reason for staying away.
All of my original reasons for quitting Instagram are still valid. And in the two years I’ve been off, I am finding that I’m growing in several areas.
Contentment: It’s easier to enjoy the sometimes random, precious, and entertaining moments for what they are if I’m not wrestling with an urge to make them public.
Not to mention, it’s a lot harder to compare yourself to air-brushed standards of parenting, beauty, organization — you name it — if you aren’t looking at them. With that surface level of discontentment stripped away, I’ve found deeper layers of it that needed to be dealt with, and I’m growing.
Focus: There are plenty of things vying for my attention. Having one less of them does, in fact, make a difference.
General social media detachment: I’m still on Facebook but not very often. I’m still on Scholé Sistership, but it has a limited Christian homeschool mom focus, few pictures, and is a uniquely edifying community.
Self-control: I mentioned last time using the Freedom app to help limit time on social platforms, but I don’t use the app anymore. Practicing self-control (by the grace of God) and growing in renewed affections for doing what needs to be done have me in a place where I don’t need the training wheels anymore.
Strength of will: Making decisions is easier when I’ve eliminated an entire category of potential decisions to make. I strengthen my will every time I exercise it in choosing to do the next right thing rather than scrolling a platform where “the next thing” is up to an algorithm. We train ourselves into habits, but our habits can also train us.
Even with some nostalgia, even though I still appreciate seeing new baby pictures and other updates from friends on Facebook, I’m just less and less interested in social media in general. I’ve considered ditching it altogether. Maybe someday I will. I sure won’t be signing up for the Metaverse when it drops. No, thank you.
Please don’t mistake this for an anti-technology post. Here’s the deal: Technology is a blessing but it comes with risks. We each have to run our own cost-benefit analysis. Your particular situation may cause you to answer the social media question differently than I do, and that’s fine.
Coming up with one rule for everyone isn’t the point. The point is to wisely evaluate how we spend our time and attention, especially when it comes to apps that are designed to suck as much of both of them out of us as possible.
Two years later, I’m still glad I ditched the ‘gram. No regrets, my friends. No regrets.
This article is republished from the author’s blog, with permission and a few small edits.