As many of you know, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp have been down for hours.
I’ll admit I freaked out about it initially. What am I supposed to do with myself? How will anyone see the outfit I’m wearing? Yes, girl. These thoughts actually crossed my mind.
After refreshing the app more times than I’m comfortable admitting, I asked myself, “What, on this earth, are you doing, child?”
I didn’t (and still don’t) have an immediate answer, so I uninstalled the app entirely. Yes, just like that. Soon after, I felt free.
I felt free of Instagram’s exhausting algorithm.
I no longer had to wonder if anyone would judge me for commenting 23 hashtags, or if anyone important would see my posts. To be forced to stop caring… was liberating.
I felt free to create on my own time.
No longer worried that my post would be pushed down to make room for the next food pic or piece of sponsored content, I suddenly had room to breathe. To think. I can publish a piece of content to my blog when I want to, instead of looking at my Instagram analytics to help me decide when I have to. It felt (and feels) really good.
I felt more human.
I no longer have access to a bunch of direct messages attempting to sell me something. It’s exhausting (and dehumanizing) to constantly wonder if people are only contacting you or befriending you to sell you something.
I felt free.
Suddenly, I’m able to see the people in my immediate circle more clearly. I can focus on what’s around me and only on what’s around me. I can focus on me.
There’s a 99% chance I’m being really dramatic about this, and I’m okay with that.
Just yesterday while journaling I asked myself, “When did the stress start? When was the last time you felt happy, confident, and in control?”
I answered myself, “Before Instagram.”
For many people, Instagram is a business and a livelihood. I feel for them, even if this outage is only short-lived. But for me it was a fun thing that turned into an annoying thing. I’m grateful for the break. I have a full-time job that pays me well, but suddenly my thoughts were turning to monetizing my platform and turning my audience into customers. Why?
I’m grateful for a break from the Insta-wheel. I’m also grateful for the chance to realize something that I forgot: social media is supposed to be fun. I’d like to switch things up a bit, do a little spring cleaning of my followings, and figure out ways to cultivate relationships in more fulfilling ways than simply double-tapping, occasionally commenting and scrolling by.
How did the outage affect you? Am I tripping?
Edit 3/16/19: After receiving texts from friends asking why I’m not responding to my DM’s, I re-installed the app. I also missed watching stories and interacting with other bloggers. For now my account is private until I finish doing an Insta-inventory. I want to be more intentional about who I follow and about engaging with my audience. Moving forward I’d like to spend less time on my phone and more time reading blogs, reading books and supporting people offline.