As many of you know, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp have been down for hours.
I’ll admit I freaked out about it initially. What am I supposed to do with myself? How will anyone see the outfit I’m wearing? Yes, girl. These thoughts actually crossed my mind.
After refreshing the app more times than I’m comfortable admitting, I asked myself, “What on earth are you doing, child?”
I didn’t have an immediate answer, so I uninstalled the app entirely. Yes, just like that. Soon after, I felt free.
I felt free of Instagram’s exhausting algorithm.
I no longer had to wonder if anyone would judge me for commenting with 23 hashtags, or if anyone important would see my posts. To be forced to stop caring… was liberating.
I felt free to create on my own time.
No longer worried that my post would be pushed down to make room for the next food pic or piece of sponsored content, I suddenly had room to breathe. To think. I can publish a piece of content to my blog when I want to, instead of looking at my Instagram analytics to help me decide when I have to. It felt really good.
I felt more human.
I no longer have access to a bunch of direct messages attempting to sell me something. It’s exhausting (and dehumanizing) to constantly wonder if people are only contacting you or befriending you to sell you something.
I felt free.
Suddenly, I’m able to see the people in my immediate circle more clearly. I can focus on what’s around me and only on what’s around me. I can focus on myself.
There’s a 99% chance I’m being really dramatic about this, and I’m okay with that.
Just yesterday while journaling I asked myself, “When did the stress start? When was the last time you felt happy, confident, and in control?”
I answered myself, “Before Instagram.”
For many people, Instagram is a business and a livelihood. I feel for them, even if this outage is only short-lived. But for me, it was a fun thing that turned into an annoying thing. I’m grateful for the break. I have a full-time job that pays me well, but suddenly my thoughts were turning to monetizing my platform and turning my audience into customers. Why exactly?
I’m grateful for a break from the Insta-wheel. I’m also grateful for the chance to realize something important — social media stopped being fun. I’d like to switch things up a bit, do a little spring cleaning of my followings (and followers), and figure out ways to cultivate relationships in a more fulfilling way than simply double-tapping, commenting emojis, or just scrolling by.
Am I tripping?
Edit 3/16/19: After receiving texts from friends asking why I’m not responding to my DMs, I re-installed the app. I missed watching stories from my friends IRL and interacting with other bloggers. Going forward, my account will be private and scaled back. I want to be more intentional about who I follow and about engaging with others. I’m grateful for the snap back to reality and the reminder that I really enjoy reading blogs, reading books, and supporting people offline.
Candace Alike Smith is a Las Vegas-based content creator, womb warrior, and matcha enthusiast. Candace founded this site in 2015 to help women of color reclaim their vitality. Follow Candace’s content on holistic beauty, mental wellness, herbs and essential oils, non-toxic products, healthy libations, wellness travel, and self-reflection. Green is her happy color.
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