I shared yesterday that I’d be leaving Instagram for good which means that I will not be logging in, checking up on people in “stealth” mode, or uploading any new images for public consumption.
(The reason has been naturally accelerated by the Instagram acquisition by Facebook and also reinforced by the recent issues surrounding commercialization of user’s content.)
I’ll be keeping my account handle (for security reasons) but I’ll be turning it all to private and deleting all my 1,195 photos so that the near 2,000 people that were following me won’t have much to do when they head over to my profile. In fact, I won’t have any followers when I’m done (read more about how I did this at the bottom of the post).
A number of you have asked already why and if I’ll be using some other service instead and I’ll be brief:
1. My Followers
There is a war that’s been raging for a long time, just below the surface, in regards to all the social media and networking sites that I use, daily. It’s one where there is really no clear winner and no easy way to find a healthy cease-fire either.
It’s simply the fact that I have felt an increasing pressure to create content for not just myself and my own documentation/archiving needs but for the ever-increasing masses of people who find it incredibly easy to just hit the “Follow” button.
I’d find myself saying something like this in my brain:
Oh, this would be something good to share to my followers. Let me snap this and share this with them.
Of course it wouldn’t actually be that wordy but the point is that my chief motivation would be to the many people following me instead of for my own needs. What would happen is that I’d be distracted and not in the moment – in fact, I’ve felt that life has been passing me by as a result of my attempts to capture it all for others!
It doesn’t happen all the time but it has happened enough for me to want to do away with it entirely. My daughters do not care about my followers but they see me caring about them far too much. That’s not fair to them and it’s not healthy.
2. It’s Personal
My wife and I have discussed in length what I can and cannot post online, both on social networks and on my blog. We’ve agreed to our established boundaries and I have not broken them.
But that doesn’t mean that we both haven’t felt a little tension when it comes to the sheer quantity of information that’s being publicly shared. She has felt, at times, that it’s too much. I’ve finally come around to the point where I agree.
It’s important that I share my life with others – I believe that to be a fundamental part of being human. Not all of it to all people, but selectively. I need to keep that which is personal to those that have true access to that which is really personal and leave the others in various shades of gray.
I just simply don’t have to post as much and Instagram is one way to quickly reduce that significantly.
3. Even Greater Focus
I need to focus more than ever on the things that matter the most, my role as a husband, father, and as a partner in the businesses that I manage and oversee.
I do not know what the future holds but what I do know is that it will require of me even greater levels of responsibility. What a privilege and honor! A natural consequence of greater levels of responsibility is greater amounts of time, even if it’s fewer things.
In addition, I must allow even more margin to be created in my life so that I can say ‘Yes’ with wisdom to the new possibilities and opportunities that arise. I have margin today but I need more of it. Much more.
Something that seems so trivial as removing Instagram from my daily activities is a step in that direction. As they say, a house is built one brick at a time. Instagram is simply another brick of many (a bad brick) that needs to be removed so that I can add the right ones instead.
4. Moving On
My plans right now is that I will not find a replacement for Instagram. I will continue to take pictures (hundreds a week) but I will not be putting them online publicly as often as I once did.
Here are a few things that I have done though:
- Exported 100% of my images via Instaport. What an incredible service! I then backed up everything via my nifty data backup solution.
- Migrated all images to Path, another image app but that is fundamentally different. When I say “fundamentally different” I really mean that. I love their philosophy and their UI is to die for. But the purpose is to provide a linear way for myself to catalogue my images and experiences. I’ve had an account for a long, long time. It’s sad to see that most people don’t “get” what Path is all about as I’ve had to reject 100’s of “friend requests.” Sigh. I’m not sure if I’ll commit to this long-term but I’ll experiment.
- The only way to delete all your pictures forever is to delete your account (via your profile settings via your web browser). But if you want to retain your account name (so that others don’t take it) you need to change your username first to something else, then delete your account, and then sign up again with the username you want to retain. So what I did was I changed “Saddington” to “Saddington2” and then deleted the account. Then, I signed up for a new account with “Saddington.” Get it? Got it. Good.
I’ve felt an incredibly amount of peace with my decision and I know it’s the right one. I share these thoughts not so that I might find a few people to follow me but to share with you my experience and perspective.
For those that use and love Instagram, keep on keeping on! Enjoy.