Instagram Status: It's Complicated

Instagram Status: It's Complicated

 

My obsession with Instagram started with New York couple of years ago. Since then I was in a love-hate relationship with Instagram. The reason I say this is as much as I love to look at my Home Feed, get inspired by beautiful travel destinations or watch funny videos, I hate how much time I spend on my phone. At the end of the day, I feel like I wasted my time and could have done things much more useful than that. I’ve recently downloaded an app that helps me track my phone usage, it’s called Moment. I feel better about myself when it shows less than an hour per day and get frustrated when it’s over 2 hours, sometimes even 3. Of course, 50% of it comes from calls/messages not related to social media, but at the end of the day I feel that I’m addicted. I remember there were times when I was leaving my phone at home and wasn’t bothered about it except that my parents would worry. Now if I leave my phone at home I would feel anxious, panicky – what if someone sends me something, what if someone calls, etc. The reality is – no one calls these days. Everybody texts and even if you don’t reply, that’s ok because they wouldn’t reply right back either. And if it’s something urgent, believe me, people will always find a way to call you – to your office, to one of your friends and let’s also not forget there are desktop versions of Instagram and Facebook.
This being said, I truly enjoy my time on Instagram for the first 15-20 minutes - I enjoy tagging my friends in memes, finding out new spots to go and liking Sarcasm_Only stuff. However, I hate when I visit Instagram just because I’m bored or my hands need to pick up my phone and automatically check Instagram. I hate it when I get to the point when I have looked through all the posts in my Home feed, Search feed and watched all stories and I constantly keep updating in search of new stuff. That’s why I started tracking my time on phone, caring less about other accounts other than couple of main ones I really enjoy to follow and which I get positive vibes from. I feel better about myself and I have more time (even that 15-minutes make a huge difference when you don’t have time). 

Instagram is a powerful tool for designers and influencers to market their brands. It’s also great
entertainment for all of its users. However, we never question what it does to our health. It may be awesome in moderation, for a quick 10-minute check of your feed, but is it good long-term? Let’s look at some data: According to Time “while the photo-based platform got points for self-expression and self-identity, it was also associated with high levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and FOMO, or the “fear of missing out. Social media posts can set unrealistic expectations and create feelings of inadequacy and low self- esteem”. Moreover, we sleep less scrolling through Instagram thus affecting our sleep quality. According to BBC, based on a UK survey of 1,429 people aged 14-29 “Instagram is rated as the worst social media platform when it comes to its impact on young people's mental health”.

Of course, there are many positive things related to Instagram and social media in general, for example self-identity, self-expression, community building and emotional support. It is up to us to decide if we want to be involved in a community and make real friends or we want to follow others’ lives and be depressed phone addicts. Some things you can do to plan your time on Instagram more efficiently: mute the stories you don’t and will never care about, unfollow the accounts you had to follow because you said hi to each other 3 years ago, follow accounts you genuinely enjoy, that bring you only positive emotions and motivate you, make friends just as you would in real life and meet them, because this is the initial purpose behind the social
media – to connect with others.