I spent half an hour staring at an Instagram post last night.
It was my post – a photo of a skeleton in Norwich Cathedral. It’s slightly blurry. Before posting, I had agonised over it in my editing app. I raised the sharpness, lifted the clarity, and adjusted the exposure. I posted it, with a caption I rewrote three times. Despite everything, it was still slightly blurry.
I panicked. Likes were trickling in, but I was convinced that this post would be my undoing. It wasn’t perfect, so it was terrible. I was trying to “curate” a feed, to look more professional on this app. My finger hovered over “delete”. I stopped myself from hitting it last night. People were still liking it; someone commented and shared the post on their story. Leave it up, I told myself. Clearly it was doing alright in terms of engagement.
The issue didn’t end there. I switched between my phone, my iPad, my laptop. Maybe it was just the light of my room which made me doubt the photo. After all, it had gone under the editing process. It looked alright on my phone, but awful on my laptop. Delete. I looked at it again. I consoled myself with the thought of archiving it instead.
I’m getting nervous over this? I searched “Instagram anxiety”, and found a couple of people who wrote soothing words about not worrying about your posts. To be honest, I was surprised about how little there was on the subject. “Instagram anxiety” seemed to be a prevalent issue, but one with very few solutions.
It was at this point I realised that this post was quite literally consuming my life. When I wasn’t thinking directly about it, I was still tied to that little square. Most people probably haven’t seen it. Wasn’t there something about an algorithm? I typed that into the search engine. Okay. Only 10% of my followers were seeing this. That’s fine. Except for the fact that I could see the post too.
This is where I’ve fallen out with Instagram. It sets off all of my nerves. I obsess over it far too much. I worry when one person unfollows me. I check other people’s feeds to see if they also have one post that has a slight blur. I pour endless amounts of time into worrying about it.
I want to be a productive blogger. I want to share what I write and find with the world. I simply cannot justify the presence Instagram has in my life in its current form. I forced myself to put my phone down, and I closed the tab on my laptop. I’m now making a solemn promise to myself: once posted, always posted. Time is simply too short to get trapped in this loop. I felt as if I was in some sort of dance macabre with this skeleton, constantly spinning around and staring into his blurred features. There was so much more I could be doing.
Once posted, always posted.
It’s almost amusing about how a social platform can make one feel so isolated. I found myself dependent on the thoughts of people who I have never met. On likes and followers and numbers that are seemingly pulled out of nowhere. I’m positive that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
It will take me a while to stop obsessing. This post is probably an example of how much thought I have sunk into Instagram. But, the important thing is this: that skeleton is staying on my feed, and you know what? He’s kind of cute.