The Instagram Conundrum:

Does Instagram add value to your life or are you just addicted?

I have a way with my words of being blunt and honest. Sue me. But one thing I haven’t been honest about is my addiction. An unhealthy addiction to that all-famous bright pink and yellow Polaroid camera silhouetted app- Instagram! As if you don’t know how the logo looks lol.

I’ve been on Instagram since 2014 when the logo looked like a vintage camera with rainbow colors. I liked the logo better tbh. It was a safe place for me, “initially”. I didn’t follow any celebrities on there, like how we do today. I mostly just followed my friends from school and artists whose work inspired me. We would post photos for our friends and family to see of our best friends’ birthday parties and the fun we had together. Or which sports team people supported. In my case, I posted loads of my artwork and tried to get it across. It was a real joy using the app and seeing people’s positive comments.

Through the years, the algorithm naturally evolved and so did we. Hunger to see what others were up to like never before. So then comes the introduction of direct messaging- inspired by Facebook (Meta). Where people would talk shit with each other but it was still a nice corner. You could send memes to each other.

And slowly the introduction of groups came about and then the merged reality of Instagram and Snapchat with the fleeting stories. The addiction increased and the need to impress and further communicate the large amounts of fun people were having became more prevalent. I was definitely a victim of this. I used to post constantly on my stories about how hard I was working and the partying that ensued. And then rabidly view more stories and try to beat them.

What is this competition? When does it really even end?

Aaaaaand then the famous introduction of reels, advertisements, endorsements, brand collaborations, paid posts and the world of Instagram became a medium of business.

Source: Business Insider

“Hey, where did you buy those shoes? Love them!”

“You should check out this page on Instagram, I bought it from there. Wait, actually I’ll just send it to you.”

This grew and grew, till brands started getting massive followings and social media managers are hired specifically to keep up with the demand of product sales on Instagram alone. A great introduction of a job into the market scene but this puts a huge question mark on unmindful consumerism. Doesn’t it? But I guess everyone knows this. Self-awareness and laxity are the death of our generation, in my opinion.

And then coming back to the stories. I guess everyone has noticed a trend in the number of marriages increasing. This now leads to the infamous #WeddingHashtag. It’s a cool trend because if you’re someone who wants all your photos in one place, be sure to include a line in your invite, “Use #SuhannaGetsLucky when you post a photo and everyone can see and be jealous of how great the wedding was.” Everyone will just ignore the innuendo associated with it as well.

And my personal favorite and also the reason I actually couldn’t handle it anymore is my addiction to reels. Instagram REELS *insert menacing piano track for pseudo dramatic effect* is definitely the best and worst thing that has happened to users. The following exponentially increases when you use a trending soundtrack and do some dumb shit. Okay, the reels with pets are precious. I miss those for sure. If you can’t use Tik Tok, just watch reels and before you know it, your plans to wake up early to work out have been sabotaged because you went down a rabbit hole of watching these 15-second videos for 3 hours consecutively. I hope this comes off as me speaking from personal experience because I am a victim.

I know I sound sour. But I’m really not! It’s sort of the truth. And the truth sometimes can be quite a bitter pill to swallow. So when I decided to quit Instagram or at least take a break from it because eventually, I’d like to use it mindfully; I thought people would care that I left further boosting my self-professed ego. But, obviously, no one really cares if you’re not on it. Think about it, unless you’re Rupert Grint who is super famous and goes off it, no one would care.

I thought that would be funny but leave me a comment below if you thought it was stupid😅 I try sometimes.

Anyway, unless you’re one of the Kardashians (no one cares about Kloé and no one cared about Kourtney before she started posting really weird photos with Travis and then Anna Wintour finds them relevant enough to invite them to the Met Gala), people don’t care if you use the platform or not… I guess it does hurt small businesses who depend upon the following… but that’s an argument I need to think about further. It’s a whole other deep dive into market saturation.

Instagram has proven to me that nothing is novel

I can’t totally bash this app up. When it comes to keeping in touch with the market in various facets, I do believe the app is wonderful. Actionable news spreads like wildfire, i.e., Travis’ tragic concert debacle. Important issues were highlighted like the US elections and celebrities used the platform to get the word across. That’s taking advantage of the algorithm smartly. The LGBTQ+ community has also gained immensely from the platform. Representation has been highlighted beautifully like never before- be it nudist models, body neutrality, and also the rise of niche fashion labels! I’ve definitely been able to keep in touch with trends better but I guess I will have to switch my platform and see what works best. Or join back again disproving everything I just said in this article and wasting your time and then think about taking this article down.

But for now, it has been about 2 weeks since I used it and I can see a huge difference in the way I think. Personally, I did experience withdrawal symptoms not knowing what people were up to further making me feel poorly. But it sort of wore away when I made up my mind that the app wasn’t suiting me. I was using it constantly and opening the app mid-conversation with someone mindlessly. Somebody pointed this out to me and it really got me thinking. And so now I mindlessly check LinkedIn! So weird… what even? No one should do this. Please. I digress; it has definitely made me someone who doesn’t care about what others are really up to and focus more on myself and what my goals are. My brain isn’t frazzled all the time. I am a goal-driven person and in general, have been pretty hard on myself to constantly strive in life seeing others do well and jealous of their happiness. Despite being aware that people post just the best vignettes of their lives, I still struggle to not compare. And again, conversations like this are deeper than we think and I will reserve this for another time.

So far, my time in rehab has been fruitful. Lindsay Lohan and I chatted loads about what it was like being on Mean Girls and how we find The Alchemist overrated. I should stop. COMMENT BELOW LETTING ME —

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Mira Nagpal

I’m Mira, a self-taught artist, avid media consumer and aspiring designer with the driest humour from a humid city called Chennai🙋🏻‍♀️