As I procrastinate from all of the responsibilities in my life, I open Instagram on my phone for the 100th time today, just to see the same old same old.
I scroll past pictures of my friends going out on a Friday or on a beach somewhere I would rather be. I scroll past selfies, selfies, and more selfies (that probably took 30 tries to get the perfect lighting and the perfect backdrop). I scroll past flawless celebrities that I follow, only to find myself wishing I looked like them, had a body like them, and lived the glamorous lifestyle that they put on display for their followers. And then, there are the two things I like most about Instagram: the cute dog posts, and the delicious, drool-worthy food posts— these have been the hardest for me to give up.
For a while now, I have been wondering to myself, why do I even have or want Instagram? I could never produce a reasonable or justifiable answer, just coming up with unfulfilling conclusions. Do I obsess over Instagram to show off my new hair cut? To see what my friends, but mostly acquaintances, did over the weekend? Maybe it’s to show off my “artsy” vanilla latte that I didn’t even really enjoy because I was so focused on the picture and the likes?
After asking myself these questions, I decided that yes, Instagram is great. It keeps you up to date with the people you want to follow. There are some amazing photographers out there who share the breathtaking beauty of the world. But speaking for myself, Instagram is more a place where I go to find validation or to compare myself to others, with emotionless likes from followers I hardly even know (or don’t know at all).
I don’t remember the last time I didn’t spend hours stalking Kendall Jenner or Gigi Hadid on Instagram, wishing I looked and lived like them. I don’t remember the last time I was fully present with my friends and family, not worrying about sharing the moment for the whole world to see, when I really should have been appreciating and taking in the people standing next to me.
Nowadays, our generation is so consumed by social media that by giving up Instagram, I felt as though I removed myself from an outlet that is so focused on likes, followers, and edited selfies. Rather than looking back on the photo of my breakfast panini that got 100 likes, I would like to take in the beautiful moment with my friends and family. I want to enjoy the delicious dinner I cooked, with the people who care enough about me to be spending the moment with me. I hope to look back on these true and real memories, rather than placing small pieces of my life on display to be judged on whether or not they are good enough, pretty enough, or cool enough.
Instagram for me only seemed to consume the time that I could and should be spending taking in the beautiful moments of life. Quitting Instagram has been hard, because I really do love aspects of it, but I can say that right now, I wouldn’t go back to it. Since deleting the app, I feel more present in my life and less confined by the pull of social media and meaningless likes.
Rylee Elfert, Events Team