19 August 2016

Why I Deleted My Instagram Account

Instagram, reportedly, has around 500 million, monthly active users. To put that into a number for you, it's 500 000 000, and as of last week, it's four hundred ninety nine million, nine hundred ninety nine thousand, nine hundred ninety nine, or 499999999... because I deleted Instagram!

Amongst already existing social media apps like Facebook and Twitter, one would think that there isn't any room on the internet for anything else? Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom challenged this thinking and created their own niche on the ever-expanding internet- Instagram. The social-networking app allows users to add photos of themselves, their food, their drinks, their cats or well...anything else, accompanied by a caption which can be anything from an emoji to a profound Albert Einstein quote. Since its inception in 2010, the app has taken the world by storm, with an average of 58 million photographs being uploaded every day.

If you tapped the average teenager on the shoulder and asked them if they had Instagram, there is a high chance that they would say 'yes'. If a stranger tapped me on the shoulder and asked me this same question, I'd say 'no'. However, this would not have always been my answer.

Two or so years ago, which is already later than my peers, I decided to press the 'install' button and download Instagram, the application I'd heard so much about. Due to 'pop' culture and newspaper articles, I knew that food was a very popular subject matter in photos, hence, in true essence of conformity, I posted a picture of a crispy, caramel-coloured waffle, glazed with chocolate sauce and drizzled with rich Kefalonian honey that I'd ordered on a lunch out whilst on holiday. I clicked post. It was over 200 weeks later that I posted my next Instagram photo. Since the enzyme-enticing waffle photo two years ago, I've posted about 10 times- far less than the average Instagram user. By the end, I was scrolling through the 'recommendation' tab, spying on other people's holiday photos, pictures of Kim Kardashian West, and people spreading chocolate ganache on cakes (which is actually a lot more satisfying then one would think). However, despite this, I deleted Instagram.

I am a big fan of social media. I see the advantages in all of them- even Instagram- but I see the disadvantages too. Instagram, like many other social networking sites is great for being in the 'loop' over summer, or in touch with long lost relatives in other countries,but in my opinion, it's one big lie. I've believed for a long time, that we create misleading lives on social media. Zilla Van Den Born's story is a perfect example of this. Our photos show the highlights of our lives- our faces are covered with foundation, our feeds are a reel showing our latest exotic getaway and the chef-made cuisine. Our feeds don't show the burnt homemade dinner or our body's flaws. We manipulate camera angles and scenarios to deviate from reality in hopes of creating a seemingly perfect life to others. We should rather promote a society that encourages differences, abnormalities and one's flaws.

Instagram apps, along with others such as Snapchat, prevents people from 'living in the moment'. Here's another surprise: I don't have Snapchat, but its not always been that way. I first got Snapchat a couple of weeks after it came out. However, I soon deleted it, and not for any well-informed reason either, I was just not enjoying the application. Recently, when my sister, who has the app, was playing around with it, I joined in. I immediately became emerged and ended up taking more selfies then I've taken over the last two years but in the span of one hour.

In my opinion, applications like Snapchat and Instagram are creating a self-absorbed culture. Don't get me wrong, I'm a massive supporter of social media but I'm opposed to what social networking apps, like the one's above, represent. Think of an aeroplane being tracked on a radar system, similarly, we're constantly sending out signals, like a flashing plane, being tracked in the world.

Till next time-
Steph
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