💥Atomic Essay
Short-form lightly edited, lightly structured essays, written in 30 minutes.
Published on:
June 25, 2022

📸 Why I Left Instagram

I first joined Instagram probably in 2015 or 2016. I joined to keep up with friends and post pictures of travel. As an ADHD person, Instagram gives you that dopamine hit and lures you into the world of sharing your photos, over-sharing, and getting lost in hours' worth of video.

Here is why I had temporarily left Instagram:

Lost Time
As for many ADHD folks, video-based platforms pull me in and distract me very easily. I shamefully used to spend the first hour of my day, and sometimes on my days off, two hours watching videos on Instagram. 

Happiness
When I took my 30-day break from social media, I felt happier, as if a weight had lifted off my shoulders. Before joining Instagram, I spent most of my time learning languages, reading books, taking courses, and upskilling in IT. These things make me happy. As a modern polymath, I find greater joy and happiness in learning.

Misconstrued Reality
One of the oddest things I find about social media, Instagram in particular, is how many people have misconstrued the reality of their interactions and relationships. At times, it feels disturbing that you can have real-life friends, but you've lost core relationship building because they assume they know you and what's going on with you in real-time.

It's bizarre that you will talk to someone in real life, and they will say something like, " Oh, I didn't bother to check on you because I saw your Instagram," or "I didn't bother to ask how you were doing because I already saw you are ok from your Instagram."

Removing myself from Instagram and completely cutting off access forced real conversations to converse more directly.

Unrealistic Expectations and Behaviors
I love the article. We should all know less about each other because this is exactly how I feel. I am someone who overshares. However, on social media, more strategically. I strongly believe that sharing more about our lives gives others a chance to know us. However, I feel this "real-time" access creates unrealistic expectations concerning communication and peculiar behavior expected immediate and constant responses. I typically schedule most of my social media posts across all platforms. 

In most cases, you don't have to say people know that not all things posted are in real-time. However, some people believe that if you post something at a certain time, you are on your phone and probably actively checking messages, etc. I can't count how many times someone had said to me, " Oh, I saw that you posted on Instagram, but you didn't reply to my text message this morning. 🫣 I can't fathom to explain how angry this makes me. When I come across people like this, I typically ask them why they feel the need for instant communication.

During this time, I also learned that I could take a balanced approach and that I did need to set boundaries which I intend to discuss further next.

p.s. My biggest mistake was not repeatedly sharing PSAs that I was leaving. I signed out, deleted the app, and never looked back until about a month ago.