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Is The Covid-19 Pandemic Causing Instagram to Lose Its Luster?

The current pandemic has changed the way many of us view the world, and I am not an exception.  On Facebook, an all-out war is taking place over the political aspects of this pandemic.  Instagram has largely been spared from this, yet there is something else that seems to be happening.  Instagram seems to be drying up.  With people staying home more and not being involved in the world around them as much, there isn't as much to say or share.  Perhaps that is why Facebook is so busy lately, with the vast majority of posts seemingly about politics and rage.

One of my students told me that she used to use Instagram before the pandemic, but she was not so interested now.  I have talked to other people who have used it in the past, yet have slowed down or stopped because there's not much to talk about.  Is it perhaps that there isn't as much to brag about now?  People are not traveling as much, eating out, or interacting with the world beyond their homes.  As a result, what do you show?  Maybe our lives are more similar, and similarity isn't as exciting as the differences that Instagram often shows.  

I used to be an #InstaHound, posting pictures of my travels around the world.  Before the pandemic, I was in Nepal and India, and it was exciting to take pictures of the world and share what life was like in the Himalayas.  Yet, after the pandemic, life sort of stopped.  I had returned to Ukraine and started teaching (online) and hunkered down into quarantine.  Recently the world has begun opening up, and with it, the war over whether we should be quarantined forever (or at least until after the election), or if our freedoms are at stake has ravaged Facebook and Twitter.   

Instagram is currently as boring as watching molasses dry out on a summer day.  Yet, what was the point before?  What was so great about it?  It was a bit more uplifting than Facebook (but more envy-inducing).  It's a good place to show off how much weight you lost or what your last meal was.  It's a wonderful place to show off a private jet you rented for a photo op or a selfie with you leaning up against someone else's car.  

Pandemic or not, there's a real world around you that is full of many of the treasures of life.  Those include your family, goals, and the books that make life interesting.  Some people say "Instagram makes me feel smarter."  Okay, Einstein, that's great, but there's a lot of things outside of your phone that will make you a lot smarter than looking at doctored pictures with twenty filters on them.  Some people say that "Instagram is a nice way to relax."  Okay Lazybones, but five hours of scrolling is a bit much, don't you think?  Some people say "Instagram is a nice way to connect with friends and family."  Nice try, Spying Suzie, but if you are not actually talking to them (or even liking what they post) are you really connecting with them?  Others say "it's nice to show off my life, money, and dinner to the rest of the world to make them all super jealous."  Okay, now that's maybe a bit more honest (but nobody really says that).  

Get off your phone!  Live!  Go outside!  Enjoy the world!  Get a book and start reading it!  Learn a new language!  Get out that dusty old guitar or piano and start playing it.  Pick up that phone and call your parents.  Do something productive with your life.  You are dying.  Your children are getting older.  Your family will soon be gone.  

You are not as nimble as you were yesterday.  Your skin is not as soft.  Your sight isn't as good as it once was.  You're a bit slower than you once were.  Time has separated you from those you love.  Relationships have not been nurtured.  Life is moving on and on.  Someone you love may be taking their last breaths.  Yet, you are locked into a virtual world and while you scroll you seem to believe that the world has stopped.  It hasn't.  It still turns.  Virus or no virus, the world is moving on.  All of nature works in the same way that it always has.  Aging is still happening.  Now more than ever it should be apparent.  You may have thought the world has stopped as you scroll through post after post on social media, but it has not and it never will.  

It may seem depressing, and it can be.  If you are spending your greatest and healthiest years starting at your phone instead of enjoying the world around you, it may one day feel depressing to look back on.  Who, on their death bed says, "I wish I looked at my phone a little bit more?"  Who says, "I wish I posted more things on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter?"  You have to learn how to enjoy the moment while also looking at the bigger picture of life.  Once you do that, then you may realize that social media should not play such a huge part in it.  


  1. Instagram isn't as good as it used to be. The newsfeed has been changed so that the most recent pictures are not weighed as heavily as the posts that get the most likes. It's all a popularity game now. Instagram said that they were going to remove the likes, but this never happened. I thought this would be a good idea, as it would make things a bit more equal and remove some of the addictive qualities of the site, but Zuck doesn't want that. If it's not addictive, it won't bring in the $$$. It's all about $$$ with these sites. It's like those old snake oil salesmen who peddled addictive medicines that could "cure" anything.

  2. I wish there was an easy way to leave Instagram behind, but I find myself checking it every morning and when I get off, the sun has gone down.

    1. That's when one does the all-night Instagram binge!

      In all seriousness, that's when has some personal accountability and deletes the app from their phone :)

  3. Do you:
    - Plan and wait for the optimum time to upload a photo in order to pull the most 'likes'?
    - Delete photos if you think they don't get enough 'likes'?
    - Feel the need to get photo evidence of everything you do? (E.g. reading a book, drinking a smoothie, doing the Bronte to Bondi walk)
    - Have the Followers app?
    - Scroll all the way down to the last photo you looked at when you reopen Instagram?
    - Post-hashtag spam on your photos?
    - Regularly stalk certain people who are not celebrities?
    - Purposely do/buy/say/eat/drink/wear certain things just to put it on Instagram to get a particular reaction?

    If you answered yes to any or all of the above I want you to ask yourself some questions - what effect is Instagram having on your life? Is it bringing out the best facets of your personality or encouraging the worst? Is it helping you feel content or creating narcissism? Is it allowing you to capture memories or is it distracting you from making them?

  4. I used to have an account for every social media platform out there. It was expected that everyone should have one. I gave in.

    I think deleting my Instagram made me happier. I don’t know if it was drastic or not, but I do believe I am happier.

    Every single one of us is insecure. Every one of us understands that we are flawed human beings, and it is natural for all of us to compare ourselves to other people. I think everyone is different in how much attention they give to their insecurities, therefore, that’s why social media affects people’s happiness differently.

    Some people are insecure, but many don't think about it enough to make any changes in their life. It's sad how little self-reflection many of us have.

    Some of us do compare ourselves to the people we see on Instagram. Am I fit and good looking enough? Does my body look like hers? Does my life look like hers? Do I have as many friends as my friends? Do I do fun things like the other people that I follow? Is my life as exciting as my ex-classmates? Do I eat good food like that other guy? Can I afford those clothes that my friend is wearing? Can I afford the restaurants they go to or the places that they get to travel to?

    Some of us compare ourselves to people online, even if we know that the presentation of their life is totally unrealistic. We still find ourselves comparing our lives to each other, consciously or subconsciously even.

    I think some people are secure enough and confident with themselves to not do those kinds of things. Those people would probably not have the same kind of boost of happiness of they deleted their Instagram. But, most people are not that way. Most people seem to care too much...

    For those who become totally obsessed, it is a struggle. On Social media, people only present the good parts of their life. They post only about the fun times. They take things out of context to build a narrative and that narrative sucks us in. They show off this perfect life, even if it’s a false and unrealistic portrayal. Some of us get sucked into that, and we compare ourselves, damaging our mental health.

    Also, the whole scheme of social validation through the quantifiable praise in the form of likes and followers is another area for comparison. It’s a competition to prove who is more popular and well-liked. Numbers can mess with your head. It can falsely identify your worth as a human being.

    Did deleting my Instagram make me happier? For sure! It made me MUCH happier in fact.

    To see my likes and friend counts compared to my more outgoing friends, the result was a lowering of my ego and self-confidence. But that was my interpretation of reality. That was how I viewed the situation. If you’re at a place in life where you understand your worth and your importance, then social media will not be a war zone for you.

  5. It wasn't as hard for me to quit Facebook as it was for me to quit Instagram. When it came to deleting my facebook account, I was able to. When it came time for me to delete my Instagram, I could not do it.

    I made a life there. It wasn't a real life, but it was something that I was proud of. I wish that was my life. It isn't, but I believe it was partly enough. it's so pretty. I can't lose that. I can't give that thought up. That's my creation. My little piece of Heaven.

    The pictures are so pretty. They tell a story about what I wanted my life to look like, and part of that story is truth. I can't let that go. I can't part from that.

    I will one day perhaps delete it. Until then, I will let it sit deactivated. It's hard to let go. Instagram and Facebook know that. Zuckerburg knows that. They made it like a drug. They know how to get into your head. They don't want you to leave.

    Most of the world deals with it, but it's such a psychological disease that has been let out into the world.

    Most people don't care. How ? I don't know. I guess they love the fantasy. But it always comes with a price to pay. It all comes crashing down in the end.

    Shame on you Zuckerberg! Shame on you for making it so addictive!


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