What I Learned from Deleting Instagram for 4 Days

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I wish I could say that my decision to deleting Instagram for four days was for a social media detox, but really it was so help me stave off FOMO.  On Thursday I was set to travel to Atlanta for the yearly Blog Societies Conference, but God had different plans for me and I was up all Wednesday night and Thursday morning feeling completely sick to my stomach and getting ZERO sleep.  I tried to push through it, even making the decision to go and driving in the car for 15 minutes before deciding to turn the car around and head home (thanks Brett for loving me even when I'm crazy).  Feeling sick at home is so much better than feeling sick at an airport, on a plane, at another airport, and on another plane.  I was sooooo gutted that I couldn't attend my very first blogging conference, and even more upset that I would miss out on hearing and learning from one of my favorite bloggers, Grace Atwood.  Because I knew I would inevitably spend the whole weekend in a pile of jealousy and sadness I decided to choose the "out of sight, out of mind" route to coping with my loss.  I deleted Instagram Thursday morning and didn't re-download until this very morning and in those four days I learned quite a few things about myself and the social media world.

1. I'm Addicted to Instagram.

One of the first and most obvious things I learned about myself is that I am completely addicted to Instagram.  I found myself opening the folder on my phone that usually houses the app multiples times in the hour!!  Each time I would check for  it I would realize how much of a habit I had created with this app.  I didn't even want to check anything specific or have the desire to share something.  It was like my fingers were just performing muscle memory, which in hindsight is very scary!  Thursday was complete torture and I honestly thought about how I was going to last until Monday.  Because Instagram wasn't an option, I found myself checking Twitter far more than usual hoping to fill the oversharing void I'm used to, but alas it did not. 

2. Social Media Has Wrecked my Attention Span.

When Instagram was first born the app was a place to see sporadic in-the-moment photos of friends and family and maybe a few strangers that you discovered.  Today it's a place to find new content every second and practice thumb-scrolling and double tapping -- hence the muscle memory.  I hate that the new Instagram culture has wrecked my otherwise decently-lengthed attention span to one that requires a professional and enviable photo with a caption that's first four words are gripping enough to actually spend more than a second on it.  And because my attention span has been completely ruined, any "boring" minute of the day couldn't be filled by others' lives.  So because I had to find some way to fill those minutes on my own I was able to finish an entire book in 2 days without interruption. What bliss!! I already picked up two new books this morning from Target, one for the Bad on Paper Podcast at the end of the month and one for my own personal book club, and I truly can't wait to get reading!  These four days have helped me clearly see I need to work on regaining my previous attention span and one of my fondest activities, reading, is the perfect way to get it back.  

3. Conversations are better without Instagram.

Be honest with yourself and think about the last time you were able to have a dinner or coffee with someone WITHOUT bringing up someone else's Instagram.  It's okay I was horrified by it too.  Because we have such easy access to everyone's lives minute-by-minute, of course we're going to let be a big part of our conversations.  Which in turn means our conversations usually end up in gossip or trivial matters, and a lot less about the person across the table or our own lives.  Conversations with Brett these past four days were a whole lot more about us than anyone else and it was really good and needed. 

4. I cared a lot less about my phone Battery. 

This lesson is more of a silly one, but I cared far less about the state of my phone battery than ever before!  Not only did my battery last longer because it didn't need to power Instagram a million times a day, but I also didn't really care about it at all.  Multiple nights I completely forgot to plug in my phone and work up to a less than 15% battery and didn't even give it a second look.  Because I wasn't so consumed on seeing what everyone was up to or letting everyone see what I was up to my phone because just that...a phone. 

5. Instagram isn't bad.

The last lesson I learned from this little detox was that Instagram isn't bad.  It's completely fine to want to see what others are up to or to share your day.  I love that the app can connect me with so many people both friends and strangers.  I really missed seeing my cousin's trip to Vail and my favorite blogger's time at the conference I was supposed to be attending. I missed sharing photos and videos of my dogs and posting when a new blog post when live.  Social media seems to get a bad rap these days, but if we just work hard to not let these apps control our life and routines then they can transform back to their original purpose or staying connected.  And by extension we can go back to our old selves too. 


One of the things I wasn't able to share this weekend was my new Weekly Roundup email list!  If you haven't joined yet, you can do so here.  I promise I won't be clogging your email with dozens a month, just once every Saturday with the posts from the week, my favorite articles and blog posts from around the internet, and more.

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