My housemates and I made the collective decision to give up Instagram for lent, partly to see which of us could last the longest and partly because we’re all too aware of how much time we waste aimlessly scrolling. Although it was a last minute decision and one made partly for fun, we all acknowledged the potential benefits of deleting the app and have so far felt strong and minimally tempted to get it back. We were discussing how the internet has simultaneously been one of the best and one of the worst things to have happened; beneficial for innumerable reasons, it also has its downfalls and Instagram is most definitely one of them. As students who are constantly surrounded by other young people, it is hard to not compare yourself to others, whether you’re comparing grades, time spent in the library, nights out or whatever, it’s natural to compare yourself at some stage, does Instagram just make this worse though?
When stripped down to its core elements, Instagram can be considered a platform for narcissism and comparison. Some people have managed to make hugely successful careers as ‘influencers’ and I don’t begrudge them their success, yet doesn’t this success ultimately come from hyper-narcissism and the ability to influence others aesthetic desires? We either post (heavily edited) pictures of ourselves or our lives to create a certain image of how we want our lives to appear to other, or we are liking or viewing images of others who have done the exact same thing and are gradually subconsciously comparing ourselves and our lives to theirs. We know the smallest detail of what people, we have often never met, are getting up to, what they’re buying, where they’re traveling to and who they’re seeing. We’re often so in tune and up-to-date with these online personas that sometimes we become disillusioned and out of touch with what’s going on around us.
This may sound heavily dramatic and many people are undoubtedly able to take only the positives from the app, using it minimally and sparingly, however, the above-mentioned problems can present an ugly truth for many of us and it’s for these reasons that my friends and I have declared and Instagram strike.
So-far-so-good, three of us have managed a week without it and currently don’t feel any desire to get it back in any hurry. Deleting the app also means I waste a lot less time scrolling and hopefully have used this time to do more productive things…