Why I deactivated my Instagram account, and reinstalled it a year later

I grew up with media, from watching TV shows to listening to the radio in the car to installing Facebook because I was playing some sort of Hay Day and needed Facebook friends to complete a mission. And until one or two years ago, I never stopped to think about it. Media was, and still is, a habit of mine and I am still in debate whether I like it or not.

One year ago I deactivated my Instagram account because the negatives outweighed the positives for me. I wasn’t in a good place mentally, and Instagram worsened it. Besides that, I felt like I was wasting way too much time on it. It had become a habit to scroll through Instagram whenever I had some free time. When I was finished with school? Instagram. When I only had five minutes of free time? Instagram. I’m not saying it took over my entire life or something, but it was easy for me to spend two to three hours on it, without even noticing. All this browsing was also damaging my confidence. I am very interested in sports, so a lot of pictures on my feed and discovery had something to do either with healthy food or someone posting work-outs. So, one year ago I decided that I was done with it, for at least a while. I deactivated my account, and in that year without Instagram, I spent less time on my phone and slowly grew more confident (deactivating Instagram was not the only thing contributing to my growing confidence, so this is not an encouragement to delete Instagram as an attempt to gain more confidence).

However, I was missing out on social stuff. I did not know which funny videos my friends were laughing about, I did not know about the pictures the people I love posted and I couldn’t secretly stalk someone from my childhood. This meant that I did feel lonely sometimes, especially at the beginning. I wanted to stand completely behind my decision, but sometimes it was really difficult. After a while, I was becoming happier with my decision, but sometimes there was a sudden hint of loneliness. This eventually also became the reason I reinstalled it.

Now, having had Instagram again for a month, the year living without it has taught me some things. My tendency to compare myself has lowered significantly. Besides that, I don’t spend that much time on Instagram anymore as I used to, and I am really glad about that because now I can do more useful or social things in that time.

My relationship with Instagram is kind of the same as all my other media usage: sometimes I hate it, sometimes I love it. For me, taking a ‘break’ from media is something that makes me value them more. I love my media and being able to connect at all times, but sometimes I just need to be by myself without any expectations.

Marit de Hoogh

Student ID: 13931954

Published by deuzemedialife

Mediastudies, University of Amsterdam

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