I’m making it official. I am leaving Instagram, and here are my reasons why.
I know. Shocker. It’s yet another declarative blog post, YouTube video, or what have you declaring that yet another person is leaving Instagram. How original.
But I want to list my reasons. I feel that these are different enough from the reasons other folks have cited.
Does this mean I’m encouraging you to leave Instagram? I’m going to leave that up to you. These are just the reasons and arguments that I have for leaving. What you do with this information is up to you.
Reason One: Instagram is designed to keep you on the platform. It does not encourage sales or outward links to other work. There are no hyperlinks unless you make Stories, and Stories only last for 24 hours. There is also the dreaded, “Link in bio,” but doing that adds so many steps that it is not audience- or user-friendly.
Reason Two: my old Instagram account already got stolen. I was able to make a new account and recover a lot of my old followers. But Instagram is still a hotbed for scammers and bad actors.
Are scammers and bad actors exclusive to Instagram? No. But there’s an awful lot more of them lately. It’s gotten so bad that I had to leave a message in my Instagram bio saying, “Do not DM me.” And I know that strangers who send DM’s my direction are more than likely scammers.
Reason Three: I keep in touch with all of my work opportunities, colleagues, and friends outside of Instagram. All of my connections are either on outside platforms or directly with the people that I need to talk to.
Reason Four: I did a social media experiment back in October. In it, I realized that Instagram was the worst-performing platform that I posted to regularly. So if I leave Instagram, I won’t suffer for it.
Reason Five: I’m finding artistic inspiration in places outside of Instagram. To be honest, I’m finding inspiration on YouTube and through indie creator’s email newsletters.
Reason Six: nobody makes money on Instagram. Anybody who says they are is either already rich by other means or is trying to sell you something. And frankly, it is wild to me that some people still use Instagram saying that “it gets them work.” I have never found this to be the case, even since 2018.
And you might ask, “But what if somebody rejects me because I don’t have an Instagram account? Or don’t have enough Instagram followers?”
- Any work opportunity that demands you have X amount of Instagram followers is not going to pay you well. It is more than likely a scam. Do not engage.
- Every opportunity I applied for an art opportunity asks for your portfolio website first, then any social media handles after. It is more important for you to have a portfolio site than to have a social media account.
Reason Seven: Instagram operates on Skinner box logic. If you are unfamiliar, here’s a link to the Wikipedia article about Skinner boxes. But the short version is that Skinner boxes are designed to randomize results every time you push a button. The endgame is that users who push the buttons try to find reasons why the Skinner box rewards them. The fact that these platforms are randomized and act like slot machines is peak gambling behavior. It WILL warp your brain in bad ways.
I wrote an entire anti-attention economy manifesto calling this out. Here’s a link where you can read that manifesto.
Reason Eight: I am not paying Instagram in the form of my attention and labor anymore. This ties into my anti-attention economy manifesto, but it also ties into an argument from Yanis Varoufakis. He argues that platforms like Meta, Google, and Amazon have turned into techno-fiefdoms, extracting rent from their users. And that includes attention and data. Honestly, just give this interview from Adam Conover a watch. It completely changed my outlook on how I interact with the internet at large.
So what’s next?
I will let folks know on Instagram with official announcements. I will still maintain my email newsletter, this blog, and my YouTube and TikTok accounts. That said, TikTok will not see as much activity from me.
Any art that would have gone up on Instagram will instead go up on this website. Having said that though, I don’t have to update it as frequently as Instagram would demand that I do.
That’s another reason that I’m leaving: Instagram demands that you post multiple times a day or multiple times a week. With no breaks. Again, the platform is trying to extract rent from you as much as possible. It’s what it’s designed to do, no matter how much it advertises its timer feature or its “wellness” features.
In short, I am leaving Instagram to engage with other platforms in healthier ways. With boundaries that I set for myself.
I hope you stay tuned, and that you stick around to check out my art and other updates.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!
You. Are. Awesome.