I did something crazy. I deleted my Instagram.
Why? I realized it was a major distraction in my life. Rather than focusing on what I do to create real value (blogging) I wasted my precious energy on how to optimize my follower count.
I am pretty sure that all photographers would benefit by deleting their Instagram. We would spend more time analyzing our own opinion of our own photos, rather than caring what others think of our photos. If Eric Kim can delete his Instagram and losing 65,000+ followers; why can’t you?
To be frank, most of my Instagram famous friends said if they started photography all over again, they would not use Instagram. Why? Because it used to be a photography community app. Now it is a dumb ‘lifestyle’ app.
I think now that I no longer have Instagram, I just have tons more focus on doing more valuable things. Like making photos to please myself, instead of my audience.
What would happen if you deleted your Instagram? Would you die and lose all self-confidence? Or would you feel liberated?
Why I don’t like Instagram
Okay so friend imma give you some reasons why I don’t like Instagram.
First of all, there are no ways you can disable to see how many likes or followers you have.
The reason why this is a problem is that it fucks with your psychology and self-esteem.
For example, if you upload a photo and you get 100 likes, and your next photo gets only 50 likes, you will feel like shit.
You end up depending on how good you feel as a photographer on how many likes you get on your photos.
What if there was a way to disable whether you can see how many likes you get on Instagram? I think that would allow you to have the benefit of sharing your images with an audience, without caring what others think of your photos.
This is why I like VSCO instead. On their social media app, it is the ultimate zen experience. You can upload your photos and share them with your followers, without caring about follower count or like count. Because I think as photographers, it is important for us to share our favorite photos. Photography with sharing wouldn’t be worth it.
Don’t crowd-source your self-esteem
Another reason I hate Instagram: it lowers your self-esteem. You see all your friends doing all these fun and interesting things in their life, and therefore you feel like shit about your own life.
If I’m scrolling on Instagram and I see my friends having kids, I feel like I’m failing in life because I haven’t had a kid yet.
If I see my friend buys a new Porsche, I feel like a poor loser.
If I see my friend Instagram his new digital Leica, I get a lust for a new camera, and it excites my “gas” (gear acquisition syndrome).
Homework assignment: Uninstall Instagram from your phone
You can still use Instagram. I recommend using the “flume” app, available on the Mac. You can upload photos from your laptop to Instagram, without getting distracted by having it on your smartphone.
If you look at Instagram while you’re taking a shit, please uninstall it from your phone for a week, and see how it changes your life. I bet you it will be for the better.
Do you like advertisements?
Another problem with Instagram: if you’re addicted to it, you will sooner or later just allow more advertisers to hijack your brain.
Instagram is still pretty good now, not that many ads. But I bet you within the next decade, Facebook (which owns Instagram) will know so much about your personal preferences (gathered from Facebook messenger, Facebook, What’s app, Instagram) that it will sell you products before you think you need it.
For example, imagine if Facebook knows you’re pregnant. It will sell you all this pregnancy or baby shit you probably don’t need.
If Facebook knows you like photography and cameras, it will seduce you into buying these new digital cameras that you don’t need.
Facebook and Instagram are for profit companies, not community places where you can express your soul.
To be frank, I admire Mark for trying to connect the whole world, and also making a good buck off it. However, I think it is deeply unethical that he collects so much personal data from his users, whereas he defends his personal privacy by buying all the adjacent property to his homes so nobody can spy on him.
Ethically, Mark has to allow reporters and other folks to spy on his life, if he plans on using Facebook and Instagram and other services to collect data on users.
So friend, don’t be a slave to social media. I’m not telling you to uninstall it, but just be aware. Know that Facebook and Instagram collects a shitload of personal data about you. What you eat, where you travel to, who your friends are, and your sexual preferences. If you’re comfortable with that, totally cool. But if you aren’t, just uninstall Facebook and Instagram from your phone.
I still think it is good that we connect with our friends and family. I still want you to be practical. If the majority of your family keeps in touch with What’s app or Facebook, keep using it.
But you can decide whether or not to use it, and how to use your social media apps.
I know for myself, I still use Facebook fan page to share articles that I’ve written. But for Instagram, I’d rather use my own platform, aka this blog, to share ideas and not get censored.
Facebook and Instagram don’t allow for freedom of speech, because it is not a public or governmental entity. Which is fine, but know that you will not be able to fully express your free speech on their platform.
Don’t listen to me; listen to you.
But I do encourage you friend, just do baby steps. I’m the crazy one. You shouldn’t do what I do.
Rather, just uninstall Instagram from your phone for a week. And see what happens.