I'm not on Instagram

I don’t use Instagram and this post answers why. I have been asked this question several times at several occassions. So, I thought why not save some time and write a post where I could direct them to. Most of them won’t read this completely and that is the point.

There are more than one reasons.

It eats up my time

I clap with an angry face here for what Mark has achieved. Using Instagram is so easy and seamless. You think you are just seeing your friend’s pics till the bus arrives, only to realize you missed the bus because you were on instagram. The addictive component is so good that it’s bad.

Short form content

It’s ironic that I say this because I love twitter which is notorious for short-form written content (not after Elon entered). It is basically Tiktok for text-form content. But text is not as enticing as edited flashy pictures. I have to read and comprehend to understand the text to get some dopamine. It’s also very difficult to be entice someone with text. How beautiful can you make the font? Add serifs? Perhaps the content could be made juicier, but such content is easy to weed out.

Tiktok is different. It’s dangerously more addictive. Do you remember the books you used to read as a kid? They had all the colors and fonts. Tiktok is just like that but with music, animations, images, videos, and endless stream of dopamine served in small chunks. It reminds me of the old arcade casino games.

Instagram picked all these “qualities” from Tiktok and pushed more videos turning it into a tiktok.

Lack of depth

Twitter is great because you have to message under 180 characters.Now X (formerly twitter) allows long form content. This means you have to remove umms and ahs before posting. You have to be more articulate and cryptic. This makes reading them equally difficult. Now the reader has to decrypt and understand what you wrote in those 180 characters. Believe me there are tweets I took hours to understand if not days. They lack context. Eric Jorgenson wrote a whole book Almanack of Naval Ravikant from Naval’s tweets.

Instagram prefers pictures and videos for posts. And arguably,

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Thus, Instagram should ideally be more cryptic and have depth to explore. But, I don’t agree with the above quote. I prefer:

A painting is worth a thousand words.

The difference is of intentions. Every thing in a painting is intentionally included by the painter, unlike the photos. It may mean a thousand words. Intended pictures, in that way are also art pieces like paintings and sculptures. But not an average heavily-edited instagram post. They are easy to create and post. Nevertheless, they serve a medium to explore things that you can delve deeper later.

Mimesis is a bi*ch:

If comparison is the thief of joy, Instagram is the enabler.

It creates an endless environment of comparison among peers. Winning is not difficult though. To compete on LinkedIn, you may have to finish a course or do a summer internship, but on Instagram you can simply edit your pictures, add some filters, throw some light and there you have your “perfect instagram-worthy” photo. The comparison is not only between you and your peers, but also between you and your “instagram filtered self”.

There is enough research done to prove how harmful Instagram is because of comparison and mimetic lifestyle it enables so easily. Effects range from addiction, body image issues, cyberbullying to depression.

Just like Chatgpt created fake comments, emails, and content so prevelant. Instagram features create a fake world. It’s not a surprise how from editing our photos to look perfect, has led us to editing AI generated pics to look more like us. The border is deminishing.

Finsta and Rinsta effect

It’s not uncommon for individuals to have multiple accounts. Many Instagram users have a Rinsta and a Finsta account. Rinsta account (stands for Real Insta a/c) is public and focuses on positive and edited content, aiming to present a desirable self-image. While the Finsta account (Fake Insta) is mostly private and used for more emotional and personal content.

The funny thing is Finsta, despite being called “Fake” allows for a more authentic self, where users can express humor, authenticity, and “unfiltered” self-expression. In contrast, the “Real” Rinsta account presents a more socially desirable amd “fake” self-image to a larger audience.

// I plan to post my unedited pictures here in my visual journal if you wish to see.

Further Readings