Once again I find myself tired of too much information in an app that makes everyone fight for attention. Every single person or company is just trying to stop you from scrolling.
It's a love and hate story, really. When I was using the app, something felt off right after a couple of minutes, but I also couldn't completely detach myself from it because part of me enjoy scrolling through my friends lives. I found myself struggling to keep away from the phone. And when I stopped to analyze the situation, it seemed that life orbit around the app — every day, more and more — instead of these apps being just tools that we use here and there.
And I'm not the only one who thinks social media nowadays seem broken. I see people complaining about low engagement or delivery every single day. People are getting tired of this relentless hustle to create. It feels unnatural. Feels like we are hostages of these companies.
Rapper and artist Logic have a good take on social media and the way we consume it. Two songs I would like to point out is this part from Killing Spree: “Everybody wanna get high, / everybody wanna live life like they can't die / Everybody gotta be right / Everybody scrollin', scrollin', thru they life / I wish they would love me like I like they pictures". Ring any bells? What about this other piece from Open Mic//Aquarius III: “Off the internet, that's when I'm at my happiest / Scrolling so much, my thumb fucked up / We call that carpal tunnel vision / Follow me like religion on this course of collision / Feeling imprisoned, and this is my freedom through these lyrics".
There's also a really good article in NY Times that was the wake up call for me. I read exactly on may 18 and that day I deleted one app from my phone: the damned Instagram. But I still pick up the phone to just unlock it and put it back in my pocket. It's super weird. Feels like this action of checking social media was deeply installed inside my brain.
By the way, I only got to see this article because Casey Neistat mentioned in his video "Goodbye Social Media”. My favorite part is right in the first few minutes. At 3:27, he says that "an hour a day, looking at pictures… there's just no way that is making me a better person, a better father or better anything". Thanks, Casey. It's so relatable.
And you may want to ask "but hey, what about getting inspirati…" — no, let me stop you right there. Instagram was never the best place to look for visual inspiration. Is it good? Maybe. Not the best. I can present you a lot of other other options such as: Behance, Pinterest, Designspiration, Dribbble, Designboom, Are.na, Abduzeedo and etc.
Yes, I still check Instagram sometimes. But not from my phone. I've been checking during the day when I'm in front of the computer. Some of the downside is not being able to use the stories properly. But here's an upside of restraining myself this way: there is no ads or suggestion in my feed (so far). So it's really just me and the people I follow. Somehow I don't even spend much time with my tab open by the way. It's been good!
I tried limiting the usage of the app in the past using the iPhone' "Screen Time" feature. But it didn't worked that well for me. Tried even putting some password to get in the way of extending my time a little bit. No luck.
So what I've been doing after being this free? Well… not much at this point and c'mon it's been only a week. But I feel lighter for sure. Sometimes I even stop to appreciate the little things around. I can also feel a better focus on some activities like reading or having a conversation. BeReal has been a great experiment too since anyone can only post when they are sent a push notification. And there's not much for me to see since I have… 4 friends there? So there is no infinite-mindless-scrolling.
I expect to read and write more, also. Fell in love with the media / format some years ago, as you can probably see in this blog. Haha
So, yeah: maybe you ended up here searching for answers and enlightenment on this topic. But it’s not up to me to decide wether you should uninstall apps right now! All I could do was present my side of the story. Hope I helped you somehow.
And I would like to end this text quoting a friend of mine: “yeah! off these predatory platforms!”.
Felipe Pelaquim • written on May 27, 2020