Disclaimer: I wanted to publish this blog post at the end of the project but I don’t actually know when I’m going to end it, so I thought about publishing now and keeping it updated if I’ll write additional journal entries.
After my successful 12 day break from social media during the Holidays, I spent the first months of 2019 in a complete state of messiness because of my thesis deadline and a couple of other issues. So my resolution to maintain social media free weekends basically didn’t happen. I was so anxious and exhausted that scrolling through my Instagram feed was a way to not think about the things that were troubling me.
It’s weird because social media scrolling was helping me but, at the same time, it was also adding additional noise and confusion to my mind. Not to mention the twitch. Grabbing my phone for no reason every couple of minutes and scrolling the feed even if I’ve already done it and there were no new posts. Not being able to concentrate on a movie or TV show for more than 5 minutes without grabbing my phone.
You know, the problem wasn’t social media in general (because I use Twitter only from the browser and I left Facebook), it was Instagram the problem. That Explore feed so carefully tailored to show my interests (mostly memes, puppies and LOTR). My obsession with Stories and me compulsively sharing them. I knew it was too much, I knew it was messing things up with my brain chemicals, I knew I had to change my behavior, I knew that I needed a break. But I kept delaying it.
The truth is that I was afraid to feel lonely without the “noise” or the private messaging exchange with my internet friends. I kept telling myself I would take a month off in August because it’s when people go on vacation (mostly here in Italy) and it’s also when I’m usually dying because of heat waves and all I can do it watch Netflix all day slowly melting on the sofa.
But they were all excuses.
I thought about starting my Instagram break in June because I’ve missed May 1st and I had to do the perfect 30-day experience as everyone does. But then, on a whim, I said myself they were only b***s and I logged off the app on a Sunday afternoon. 7 days ago, as I’m writing this. I didn’t tell anyone about it because I wanted to truly disappear for a while, I also didn’t want to look like I was following a trend or something like that. Finally, I didn’t want to set a specific due date to myself. I’m aiming for 30 days but it can also be 20 or 17, it doesn’t matter. It’s not about a number of days for me. It’s about paying attention and noticing how I feel.
I decided to keep a journal of the experiment and call it The Nosedive Project since Nosedive is the title of an episode of Black Mirror that deeply impacted my life (and that I highly recommend to everyone).
Day 0 – Preparing for the break
Things to do:
- mute everyone (both Stories and feed) to not be tempted by the feed if I have to open the app for any reason
- log out from Instagram
- document the experiment
Good things about Instagram:
- being in touch with online friends
- a distraction for dull moments
- like Pinterest but better
- funny memes and animal videos
Life without Instagram:
- share photos on my blog
- don’t get distracted by my phone all the time
- take photos only when I feel like it, not to have something to share
I don’t like:
- how Instagram makes me feel less than…
- the twitch to constantly want to open the app and see what’s new
- it makes me act “to impress” even when I try to be myself
- validation seeking
- I’m always looking for something better, funnier, easier, etc.
- I use my phone TOO MUCH
- I write less because I consume more
- the Explore page is a dangerous place
Leaving Instagram would allow me to:
- feel less anxious and more present
- avoid the feeling of constantly wanting to show off
- feel better about myself not seeing things that make me feel insecure and less than…
- feel less tempted to spend money and want things I don’t really need
I’ve read my Kindle on the bus to work but, once I arrived at the bar, I felt the need to take a photo of my breakfast and share it on Stories. It’s so silly! But it’s a habit I used to have because it made me feel less lonely, even if having meals by my self is actually never a problem for me.
With this Instagram break, I’m also hoping to stop taking useless photos. When I look back at my years before smartphones, there are definitely fewer photos. They are saved in folders by event rather than by month like I started doing since 2013. It’s so much easier to go back and look at them because they are divided by topic! I 10 years from now, I won’t care at all about having 50 photos of flowers.
Since getting a smartphone, I stopped taking meaningful photos and I, instead, started taking Instagram-worthy photos. It’s all about wanting to share, share, share. This is so stupid!
Woke up this morning and felt the need to go and check out my Instagram feed but I only checked my inbox and then I was done with my phone. It felt incredibly weird that it took me so little time!
I’ve been to IKEA the whole day so I didn’t have a chance to think about Instagram. I also visited the Disney Store and there was a huge poster of Avengers: Endgame, I took a photo and, for a second, I thought about sharing it on Stories, then I remembered and I put the phone away.
When I come back home after a long day out, I’m always so exhausted so I usually throw myself on my bed and browse through my phone notifications ending up to spend A LOT of time on Instagram because I always feel the urge to know what’s happening. Today, I immediately thought about Instagram, remembered about this project and…felt a sense of relief. Relief because I didn’t have the option to spend my time on the app and fill my head with additional noise.
As an ISTJ and HSP, I love to come back to my quiet home and spend time to decompress after being among people all day. But looking at my phone and scrolling through my Instagram feed, reading posts, interacting and consuming, consuming, consuming, it all adds additional noise to my already tired mind.
It’s so weird that I felt relieved to not “have to” go on Instagram! Instead, I spent some time journaling and playing with my cat…OFFLINE and it gave me so much clarity and rest!
I realized I wanted to keep myself updated with a favorite actress of mine that I follow on Instagram, so I typed her profile URL in my browser and I was able to see her newest photos.
My phone battery is lasting A LOT more!
And this is when I stopped journaling about the whole project simply because I stopped thinking about Instagram! The first 2 or 3 days have been a bit tough because I still thought about it and couldn’t help myself but wondering what was I missing out. But then (I’m not sure why) I stopped.
I’ve just realized that I haven’t taken a single photo for a whole week. It’s so freeing not feeling forced to take photos in order to have something to share!
This is an ongoing project and this post will be updated if I’ll write new journal entries. Any new updates are going to be announced on Twitter.