I’ve been observing how these social media apps affect me and what their place is in my everyday life. I’m definitely not a fan of facebook. But instagram! oh boy! It is a very addicting app. I find myself casually browsing instagram and consuming all sorts of random, useless information during every tiny break I get. My phone tells me that I spent about an hour on instagram every single day and an average of 6-7 hours per week. When I think about what I consumed so much, I have no idea!
I’ve not even been creating as much on instagram. I think I saw insta as a means of venting, creating and connecting. There’s this innate tendency to share. Which I think I still have. Something nudges me to share my thoughts and ideas with people. That is probably why I’m still writing this blog. But I preferred insta because it gave me the convenience to write on the go and because of the social validation through likes.
When I think if people are actually engaging with what I’m writing, I find myself feeling unsure. What are they really interested in? Why are these people following me in the first place?
I have had many folks text me and tell me that they appreciate my writing. But I’m not sure if that is reason enough to stay on instagram in particular.
Another thing that bothers me is how my data is not owned by me. If one day, instagram decides to delete my account or shutshop, I lose it all. The same reasons as to why I switched from medium to my personal blog.
Perhaps then, the answer is that instagram has to be just a distribution and socialising tool, but not a creating tool? It only makes sense to create elsewhere and publish elsewhere as a primary source of my content. In distributing, then acquire readers / followers who end up subscribing to this primary source. This is perhaps why most creators have a blog and then promote that blog on instagram. But their main channel is a blog and a newsletter.
So then the next question is whether I’m interested in audience building and distribution in the first place. What do I want to write about? For whom and for what purpose? Creation and distribution take two different approaches and which of these is my objective? Is it one of these, or both? Does having an audience inspire or fuel my writing in any way? Or is my writing something I do for myself? To document or to obtain clarity?
Coming back to the screen time question – I ended up deleting both instagram and facebook. I’m noticing a craving to post and just fiddle with my phone during those few minutes of free time. But I’m able to channel my time and mindspace elsewhere and then I don’t feel like instagramming anymore.
Connecting this to ‘essentialism’ by Greg McKeown, I wonder if engaging in social media is essential. I find most of it to be noise and useless exploration. Sure, they have their benefits. And perhaps the idea is to be able to use it in moderation. But mindless browsing and ‘following’ people are ceasing to make sense to me.
I don’t know what my approach will end up being. But for some reason, I feel like social media is not the way to engage with a fixed set of quality audience.
This blog is also a disconnected rant, because I’m thinking in public, I’m writing as I think and I’m letting myself be because this is what I did on instagram anyway!