What happened when I re-installed the Instagram App
Back in July 2020, I removed the Instagram app from my phone and vowed not to add it back until 2021. There were a number of reasons for this decision- chief among them being both distraction and FOMO(the Fear Of Missing Out)- but I was very happy to have made this choice.
In November 2020, I began to add the app back every Saturday for a brief period of time, in order to connect with my audience via short video snippets, either on the app itself or via IGTV. The weeks that I used the IGTV app, I didn’t even re-install the IG app.
But, the one thing I resolutely stayed away from until mid-December was Instagram Stories.
For one thing, I quickly noted that stories tend to be the thing I do when I am ‘bored’ or have nothing else to share. I really wanted to break that spell. Plus there was something about Instagram stories that was causing me anxiety and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
It was only a few weeks ago that I realized the true reason that Instagram stories always had the habit of stressing me out.
For this, I have to draw a quick parallel between Instagram and Whatsapp.
I am NOT a Whatsapp person, except with very few close friends and family. If possible, I would un-install Whatsapp and not have to worry about it at all.
Clients have tried to reach me on Whatsapp in the past and I’ve had to gently but firmly tell them not to do that. E-mail exists for a reason.
But the thing that ticked me off the most when it came to Whatsapp were the ‘blue ticks’. These are called ‘Read Receipts’- that the other person has ‘read’ your message.
Fortunately, I turned off Whatsapp read receipts two or three years ago and it’s given me some breathing room.
Anyway, so with Instagram stories, there is a feature which shows you how many people have ‘seen’ your story at the bottom left of your screen. Have you observed this?
When I post on the Instagram grid, I don’t worry about how many people have ‘seen’ my posts. I post and then leave it up to my audience to find my content.
That’s when I realized that’s exactly what I needed to do with Instagram stories too!
A) Post on stories only if I have something useful to say/share/amplify
B) Post and exit. Don’t look at the number of people who have ‘seen’ your story. Those who have something to say will let you know by sending you a Direct Message anyway!
I am amazed at how long it took me to understand this. But the Universe knows that when you are ready, the lessons will appear.
We all have this innate desire to belong to a group or a community. It’s the validation principle, not necessarily due to social media or instant gratification, mind you.
It’s what helps us thrive as a race. We need people.
But there’s a fine line to be drawn when it comes to understanding that needing people for the comfort they provide is different from needing people just because they provide validation.
And validation is a dangerous thing. It makes us believe that we don’t matter unless we are certified to be social acceptable by our group of peers.
Learning to break free of that cycle is critical to both enjoying a tool for its own sake and to enjoying being a part of the creative process.