Why I deleted Instagram
A few months ago, I - as you might have guessed from the headline - deleted Instagram.
I decided I had had enough, and that was it. Over and out. No more scrolling, no more waiting for likes, no more eyes glazing at 1am as a Buzzfeed video from 2012 plays out across the screen. Done.
I’d like to say that I came to this decision after realising a profound truth about the way Instagram supplies unattainable images of the perfect friends and the perfect night out and the perfect life, or because of the arbitrary and harmful nature of likes and comments.
The truth is, however, that I opened settings on my phone, clicked on the battery icon, and was shown a day-by day breakdown of the amount of time I spent on my phone. In the past 24 hours, I had spent nearly two hours on Instagram. In the past seven days, eight-and-a-half hours. In a year, that equates to 442 hours, or over 18 days.
I was genuinely shocked. I thought I only opened the app a few times a day, scrolling for 10 minutes at most. The problem was that Instagram was my go-to app for when I was bored on the bus or at school, my pre-sleep relaxation time; it was the automatic ‘sorry, I’m busy’ if I saw anyone on the street. All the two-minute checks and ‘just one more scroll’ added up over the course of a day to a frankly ridiculous amount of time that was completely wasted.
It wasn’t just me, either. Teenagers spend up to nine hours a day on some form of social platform – with 60 per cent of that spent on phones. The average person spends nearly two hours on social media every single day, which comes to just over five years over the course of a lifetime.
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Why do we do it? What is so important about social media, and Instagram in particular, that compels us to spend so much of our lives on it? Surely a good proportion of the time we spend on social media would be put to a better use – think of all recipes we could actually try if we didn’t spend so much time watching Buzzfeed’s cookie video on repeat.
In fact, how many people actually recreate the things they see on social media? I can definitively say that I have never made a recipe that I found in an online video, despite having devoted quite a significant proportion of time to watching them.
Sure, Instagram is important to many people’s livelihoods – models, fitness bloggers and stylists are just a few professions that probably rely on Instagram for advertising and attracting new customers. For most people though, the main value of Instagram lies either in the ability to communicate and share photos with friends, or as a little bit of an ego boost (and if we’re being honest, it’s probably the second one).
So, I deleted Instagram. And I don’t miss it (not much, anyway).