Why I’m quitting Instagram

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 Permalink

This was originally called Five reasons I hate Instagram until my list blew out to ten.

Ten reasons I hate Instagram was progressing well until I realised that there was actually ONE common underlying theme. One reason I hate Instagram isn’t quite as catchy, so… here we are.

instagramThe reason I hate Instagram has nothing to do with boredom while friends pause over dinner to Instagram(v) photos, or the sharing pics of me I’d rather not see the light of day.

As it happens I hate Instagram cos it just friggin’ depresses the hell out of me. I’ve tweeted about this before and received understanding responses, so know I’m not alone in my frustration, but I struggle with it enough that I’m thinking of quitting Instagram altogether.

When I joined Instagram it was primarily to manipulate photos so they looked vaguely decent. Now however there are so many smart device photo editing options Instagram isn’t really my first choice in that respect. So… it might save my sanity if I close my account 0r – at a minimum – take the App off my mobile devices so I’m not exposed to the cause of such great trauma.

comparisonFor me – you see – it’s all about the comparison trap. A common snare never used by Elmer Fudd on Bugs Bunny or Wile E Coyote on the Road Runner. Nope… ‘that thief of joy’ is something that often lurks in our unconscious mind until it’s too late.

For most of us, it happens early. Other kids get toys we want. Someone else wins a trophy and we don’t. And so forth. Eventually we learn to deal with it – or we try to minimise our exposure.

Which brings me back to Instagram. I really only open the program a few times a week and generally when I’m bored or out of sorts. A frame-of-mind which doesn’t help my reaction.

Because there… on my screen I find people doing things I WANT to do; doing things I SHOULD be doing.

As someone always wanted a partner and children (and is only slightly unhinged re the issue! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) I blink away tears as I see mothers or fathers with their children – out and about doing fun things, or even just curled up together on a sofa.

As someone who never feels lonely but sometimes ‘alone’ I feel sad when I see couples doing things together, or people sharing happy times with their loved ones.

As someone who’s apathetic about socialising as much as she should (though better than I was) I feel depressed when I see others out with friends at fabulous places, eating fabulous meals and having fun.

As someone who feels as if they’re not as grown up / successful etc as they should be, I look at other people’s houses and decor and wonder what the fuck I’ve done with my life!?

As someone who’s a crap cook I look at other people’s cooking or baking masterpieces and find myself feeling like a big fat failure for cooking the same thing night after night.

As someone who’s been struggling to do ANY exercise for the past 8 months I feel guilty when I see pics of people out exercising or the obligatory post-exercise sweaty face or post-run shoe pic.

As someone who dislikes their body and is very self-conscious about it, I almost feel sick with envy when I see others in fabulous skimpy summery cool clothes while I appear hot, sweaty and fat in any picture I see of me.

Even worse – none of these things actually make me more motivated to change my own life.

I don’t look at someone else’s amazing kitchen and think, “Wow, I must do better and earn more money so I can have a better kitchen.”
I don’t look at someone slim / normal in a summer frock and think “If I lost 30kg or so I could wear a strapless or strappy frock myself.”

Nope. Instead I turn in on myself and decide my life (and everything about it) is crap.

It’s not true of course, and in moments of sanity I realise that. I have a great life: a lovely apartment with great views; good friends; caring mother and so forth.

I know that people only share snippets of their lives online. There’s no good, bad and ugly. Just the good. Or the very good.

Nevertheless…. sometimes my very good feels like it falls way short of everyone else’s. And I don’t need that negativity in my life. So, until I can learn to better accept my own ‘lot’ in life without envying that of others I’m going to remove myself from temptation.

*As it happens, I’m not much of a photographer and far more attracted to words than the visual, so quitting Instagram is unlikely to be any great loss.

Do you ever suffer from Instagram or social media envy?ย 

Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT!

38 Comments
  • Char
    December 17, 2013

    Instagram, like Facebook, is just the highlights reel. It’s not all flowers and unicorns farting rainbows for everyone every moment of the day. If it were I wouldn’t have to bribe my dog with food for every shot of him wearing a silly Christmas hat.

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2013

      Absolutely… in my saner moments I realise that! At least FB, Twitter and blogs provide a more realistic picture!

      ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • kelley @ magnetoboldtoo
    December 17, 2013

    Clearly you are not following me then.

    No filters. Straight from the camera to your eyes.

    No kid or husband pics. I don’t share their images online.

    Lately my pics have been Christmas shit and Lite n Easy meals. No one could be remotely envious of that!

    Come and hang with me, I love instagram just for the sheer fun of it and unfollow all the wannabes and wankers.

    x

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2013

      I do follow you Kelley – you’re probably just outnumbered by the smiling faces and people having fun! I have to admit a lot of the people I follow aren’t wannabes or wankers, just people sharing their life and it just looks like more fun than mine (in the pics anyway!!!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Aroha @ Colours of Sunset
    December 17, 2013

    I think quitting IG sounds like a good idea. Especially if it’s just making you feel bad about yourself/your situation. I know what it’s like to want something and see everyone else getting it. It’s made me want to quit IG, FB, Twitter…heck all SM in the past too. It’s hard not to feel sad seeing other people’s happiness and to question your own. Thanks for sharing. -Aroha (for #teamIBOT)

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2013

      You’re welcome Aroha. I know others feel the same cos on a couple of occasions I’ve talked about ‘life envy’ and Instagram on Twitter and had a number of tweets back agreeing!

  • Eleise
    December 17, 2013

    It sounds like a good idea for you to quit if it isn’t motivating you but making you feel down. I actually use it for inspiration and I am one of those annoying people who actually make more effort now to make food look good so that I can instagram it. Quit it but remember no one else can make you feel guilty! Be happy xx

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2013

      Hi Eleise and yes, sadly I realise it’s ‘me’ who’s allowing myself to feel the envy and #meh rather than using it to inspire me. (Pinterest is a bit better for that I find!)

      I often find that I’m happy with my ‘lot’ in life until I look around at what (I think!) others have / do and only then do I feel dissatisfied! (A very bad habit of mine!)

      Deb

  • lisa
    December 17, 2013

    I feel the same about Pinterest. The highlight reel just lets me know I have no craft/interior design skills what so ever. I try to keep my kids photos away from social media so I rarely take photos of them to share online. I use instagram as a way to improve my photography and the only time I get annoyed is the health bloggers and their squats and fab abs. (When I see that, I eat another block of chocolate haha) I also hate it when people use Instagram as a blog post and 50 hashtags to advertise, rather than just directing people to their blog. Just remember that social media is really just people sharing the fantastic times instead of the average everyday moments.

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2013

      Oh yes Lisa, I hate the multiple hashtagging in Instagram as well (think I wrote a post in this blog about it actually!) And while I am conscious it’s only people sharing the good stuff, I still find myself feeling disappointed in my own little world!

  • Lee-Anne
    December 17, 2013

    What a compelling, illuminating post.

    Let me begin by saying “You are very grown up and successful”!! (I am a very good judge of character!) Your posts are witty, eloquent, entertaining and relevant (what more does one need??)

    My teenage daughter has Instagram, on which she has about 4 million followers (she posts pics of our dogs mostly). I joined for 5 minutes but she begged me not to post anything up (she finds older people’s postings cringing – but then she finds a lot cringing). From what I’ve seen, I like the aesthetic aspect – beautiful scenes and delicious, artistically arranged food – but I don’t have the time or energy to post on Instagram. I barely do Pinterest either, although I love the access to gorgeous pictures. I am flat out even blogging, which I’ve only begun recently. I do like posting nice pics on Twitter, though ๐Ÿ™‚ but not too many. I linked up with IBOT today, in fact – http://bit.ly/17YMg9h

    I agree with you completely that the vapid and look-at-me nature of social media is awful. It doesn’t enhance our lives at all, it simply makes people – nice, normal people – feel as though they’re missing out on all the fun. I read somewhere that Facebook is creating a whole generation of people who are permanently anxious. My daughter was bullied horribly on Facebook after she dumped a boy (in Year 9). The split was mutual but it didn’t stop his friends from calling her despicable names, most of which were sexual.

    Do what works for you, that’s my mantra! X

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2013

      Oh no… sorry to hear about your daughter being bullied – bullies and trolls surely being the worst features of social media!

      I think I said in a comment before – I’m not particularly visual so don’t take great pictures. I can appreciate others and agree that there are some beautiful pictures shared (also on Pinterest). I often put stuff on there as some sort of obligation I think… or I’ve used Instagram to ‘edit’ a photo so it just goes on automatically (unless I’ve gone offline – which I sometimes do!).

      And thank you for your lovely comments… ๐Ÿ™‚
      Much appreciated.
      Deb

  • Jess
    December 17, 2013

    I am not on instagram I’m a terrible photographer. I get that envy with FB though especially at the moment for some annoying reason. And there are a few blogs I’ve stopped reading cause it is all too perfect and I can’t relate

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2013

      I’ve done that with some diet / weight loss type blogs as well. I also recently unliked a heap of diet / health related pages that share lots of ‘fitspo’ pics. I was really over messages about ‘going hard or going home’ and lots of really fit bodies!

      The other thing is that I spread myself a little thinly with 3-4 Twitter accounts, 3-4 FB pages and my personal page, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+. Gah!!! I probably need to be more strategic anyway!

  • Bec @ The Plumbette
    December 17, 2013

    Oh gorgeous! I think we all suffer from social media envy. It’s not just instagram it’s Facebook too. Thank you for reminding me to be grateful for what I have. And I know that you have accepted what life has dealt you but can I say that we all long for what we don’t have and more when on social media and I reckon half or ALL the photos taken on social media are a way to outdo each other or to keep up with the hype of displaying stylish pictures. Abstaining from social media can help but how do you do that when you’re a blogger and need to have a presence online on the medium?

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2013

      Absolutely Bec – I just responded to a comment before saying that perhaps I can better target my social media efforts. I actually like FB and Twitter better anyway, so perhaps I can disengage from Instagram and focus more on alternatives!

      Deb

  • Janet @ Redland City Living
    December 17, 2013

    I quite like Instagram – I was hosting the “My Week According to Instagram” linky for a while but that was too much for me. I’m enjoying it now without that commitment. Twitter on the other hand doesn’t really float my boat … could easily ditch it I think!

    It’s too hard to do “all” of the various types of social media, you’re best off picking your favourites and sticking to them ๐Ÿ™‚

    Visiting today from #teamIBOT xxx

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2013

      Hi Janet and I think I will do that. I did Fat Mum Slim’s photo-a-day thing at one point to make an effort to be more visual and use Instagram more but I struggled. (Whereas I really enjoy Twitter!)

      Deb

  • Kek
    December 17, 2013

    Ah, the old comparison trap… Yep, I’ve been there during especially craptastic times in my life. Never fun, but always reflective of my state of mind, nothing to do with anyone else’s actions.

    The reason I follow anyone on Instagram is because their pictures give me something. Some are talented photographers sharing beautiful images that make me smile or sigh (possibly with envy). Some are funny stories in a picture – I can always use a laugh. Some are faraway places that I want to visit some day. Others are glimpses of different cultures, which is always educational, whether it’s appealing or not. There are recipes I might try, products I may not have discovered otherwise and at times some quite bizarre stuff – things that make me go “hmmm”. And some, I enjoy simply because I like the photographer…

    I do sympathise, Deb, and sometimes stepping away from the often fake perfection of social media is a good idea while you sort out what’s really the problem in your own world.

    • Kek
      December 17, 2013

      And I tagged you on Instagram. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Debbish
        December 17, 2013

        I do appreciate gorgeous photos I have to admit…. Though most people share them elsewhere as well so I figure I wouldn’t miss out!

  • Mel
    December 17, 2013

    Deb this post made me incredibly sad. Every single one of us suffers from ‘the grass is greener’ mentality at some time or another, especially when scrolling our Instagram feed, but I think the most beautiful thing about Instagram is capturing moments that are unique and/or special to us, no matter what it looks like to everyone else.
    I take too many pictures of my over active, crazy cute dog, but most likely not everyone cares, and you know what? I don’t really give a shit what others think of my feed! Sure it’s flattering when you get likes, but I just want to look back on my day or week or month and relive times where I found a truly beautiful moment. I’m not a photographer, and my personal belief is that those people are cheating that upload their pics from their super fancy SLR cameras, but I’m not going to feel intimidated by them!
    That’s just the way I feel, and I hear what your saying and that is most definitely your prerogative but I just think it’s crazy that you don’t think your life is fabulous; you had the guts to give up your job, sell your place, move to another town to follow your dream of being a writer full time, something which you’re passionate about! You have the most fabulous apartment, on.the.water. You drive a BMW! You get to see your Mummy whenever you want. You drink wine in the bath tub to relax. You’ve got friends and YOU have an amazing life! Don’t let a few pictures distort your perception. Call me a voyeur but I love seeing snapshots of other peoples lives; it gives me hope that we’re all similar and not so alone in this world after all.

    • Debbish
      December 18, 2013

      Thankfully I’m less envious re the quality of pics on Instagram (or anywhere) – not being a photo buff. Those I can admire. Usually it’s the basic photos that have me pouting.

      And Mel, thanks for reminding me I do have a fabulous life – and in my saner moments I know that – I suspect I’m only ever on Instagram when bored and feeling disillusioned anyway! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Jo Tracey
    December 17, 2013

    I love itโ€ฆbut I also admit to teeny bits of envy & guiltโ€ฆfrom time to timeโ€ฆGive me a camera, any camera…

    • Debbish
      December 17, 2013

      You’ve got a great eye though Jo. I love the pics you share in yr blog or on Instagram.

  • Annaleis from Teapots and Tractors
    December 17, 2013

    All I will say is that I will miss you over there, lucky I know where to find you!

  • EssentiallyJess
    December 18, 2013

    Yep if it’s making you feel crap, leave it behind! No one needs that!
    And you know, as much as my pics are probably ones you don’t want to see, :), there is a part of me that envies your single life a little bit. The ability to read a book or have a glass of wine uninterrupted sounds pretty darn awesome to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    December 18, 2013

    Oh lovely, I’ve been there, but thankfully when I was in your shoes I was blissfully unaware of blogging, social media etc, and so didn’t get too worked up about it. BUT if I was in your boat, I’d be WAY worse than you – go you for admitting it, ditch it, just do what makes you happy, that is what everyone else is. And we if don’t speak before the 25th Merry Christmas!!! Em xx

    • Debbish
      December 19, 2013

      Thanks for your Christmas wishes and I’ve already taken the App off my iPhone and iPad. I can still see the occasional pic via Twitter and Facebook but I’m looking forward to also thinking I should be doing ‘more’ on Instagram anyway!

  • Emily
    December 19, 2013

    Haven’t Instagrammed, haven’t Pinterested. I know myself well enough to know I’d be sucked in. Time wasted, comparisons lived, hopelessness felt. I hope whatever you do, you enjoy the outcome.

    • Debbish
      December 20, 2013

      Yes… I think it’s easy to spread ourselves too thinly as well – in terms of social media. I constantly feel like I ‘do’ none of them well from a strategic (growing my blogs) point of view!

  • Min
    December 20, 2013

    Good on you for being so honest Deb! I think that we all try the different social media’s and some work for us and some don’t. For example Twitter doesnt really work for me. I announce new blog posts on it and reply to any messages I get on it but i don’t ‘converse’ on it. I just don’t have the time or inclination. I completely understand what you’re saying about Instagram. I see all the beautiful people that photograph so well, and the people with the gorgeous clothes and accessories, and the ones who travel to amazing destinations, and the ones that rub shoulders with celebrities etc etc. I might get a twinge of envy occasionally but I try not to let it get me down. I don’t want to fall into the comparison trap – it’s a yukky place to be (been there). I do love Instagram but then I am a visual person and love photography (not that my best photos are always on instagram!!). If it is a chore to you and it gets you down – dump it! Twitter has always been more your thing from what I understand. I suppose I give most attention to FB and Instagram … and minimal attention to Twitter and Pinterest. Just do what sits comfortably for you ๐Ÿ™‚ x

    • Debbish
      December 20, 2013

      Thanks Min and very true. I’m glad you’re enjoying your photography!

  • Lou Lou
    December 21, 2013

    You are completely correct. Instagram is not life. My blog is not ‘life’ either. I never include the messy bits. I find most of social media (including me) to be highly selected snippets of lives, probably about 1% if people were being honest with themselves. I totally get you feeling this way. Turn it off and run! I joined Instagram but never worked out how to use and never checked it or I was out before I was in ๐Ÿ™‚ p.s I hope Santa brings you something nice.

    • Debbish
      December 21, 2013

      I was actually on Instagram for a year or so as a private user before I discovered I had all of these ‘friend’ requests. I initially only used it for editing purposes.

      (As you know) I tend to share the good, bad and ugly via my blogs but probably only share the good(ish) via things like Instagram.

  • Brandi Robles
    April 16, 2014

    This is exactly what I needed to read. I have been feeling very down about “my life” lately when comparing to others on Instagram. I’m being sinful every single day, multiple times a day envying others lives. All the while, my life is passing me by because I’m scrolling through everyone elses lives to look at what they have that I don’t. It’s definitely not encouraging… if anything it’s discouraging and creates depression (for me anyway). As a woman in my 40’s I’m not doing great with the whole aging thing and when I see women my age looking amazing… Yet (fake) it makes me angry and I feel worse about myself. No wonder envy is a sin.
    I’m done with this. Time for me to focus on my life.. Instagram bad news for some of us.

    • Debbish
      April 16, 2014

      Yes Brandi. I’m still a member but I’ve deleted it from my phone and iPad so never look at it anymore. Of course there’s still Facebook and Twitter etc but I think it’s the constant ‘visuals’ that are quite confronting.

      Deb

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