Amherst Wire

Why I quit Instagram

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(Acart/Creative Commons)

(Acart/Creative Commons)

(Acart/Creative Commons)

Chanel Connor, Writer

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As a senior in college, it feels like there’s pressure to go out and socialize every weekend. Every Friday or Saturday night, people will always ask me, “Are you going out?” or, “Where are you going?” and, “Who are you going with?” Immediately following any social interactions or gatherings, a picture of your outing is expected to make an online appearance. If you didn’t Instagram it, did you even go out and have a good time?

Society’s definition of who’s the most popular, who’s the best dressed and who’s the most fun is measured in “likes.” There’s an ongoing, unspoken competition going on which we can easily and conveniently monitor through our apps. And around the holidays when people are shopping, vacationing, or simply have too much time on their hands, the narcissistic posting only worsens.

After going through the motions with the Instagram app, I’m officially done with it (just in time for finals). Here are my reasons why:

  1. If you’re actually studying (like you should be during finals week) then there’s not much of an exciting image to post. Finals week or not, I’m big on nights in anyway. I spend a lot of my free time just watching Netflix or listening to music. Worrying about going out and getting pictures is just a hassle.
  2. Social media is a fantasyland. People only post their best on social media. On Instagram, we usually only see the positive side of life. Don’t let Instagram fool you. No one has the perfect life. People only share what they want you to see, not their whole life story.  A social media account is a photoshopped, fictional and an incomplete glimpse of a person’s life.
  3. Happiness should come from within, not from an application. If you were really living in the present and enjoying the moment, would you need to be posting on Instagram for validation and attention? Think back to the personal satisfaction you experienced during your earliest holiday celebrations as a child. Did posting anything on social media ever cross your mind? Why do we need to “share” our happiness with the world? Why isn’t being happy on our own enough?
  4. My adult, post-graduate aspirations are more important than getting “likes.” Seeing red notifications that someone “likes” my photo is nothing but a distraction, nor is it in any way going to help me get a job. You gain nothing tangible out of virtual “likes”.
  5. I want to be able to spend quality time with the people right in front of me rather than being on my phone or laptop. Disengaging with social media allows us a unique opportunity to be present with our loved ones. With real-life contact, there’s no waiting around for anyone to respond to your message. You can get the satisfaction of spending time with people right in the present moment!

Overall, in our generation, social media is a very addicting distraction.The perfect example is right here in front of us. How often do you see your fellow students using social media during important lectures that they have paid a lot of money to be in?

If we could somehow permanently banish the temptation to check social media, we could accomplish more as a society. Deleting social media could give us a chance to have more real-life interactions, savor the present moment and focus on our careers. We might be able to contribute something to the world, perhaps something more than just a filtered selfie. 

If you never post on social media, you never have to worry about maintaining a fictional life story. There would be no pressure to maintain some artificial brand. Instead, you would be out in the world living and making the most of life.

Sure, you might not want to permanently delete any “precious” photos and followers right now. But why not at least consider temporarily deactivating your social media accounts for the sake of doing well on final exams?

You might be surprised at how much a little (or a lot) less distraction can help you.

Email Chanel at [email protected]

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The digital-first, student-run magazine of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Journalism Department
Why I quit Instagram