The Instabye

On Monday Instagram launched Instagram Stories on the mobile app. On Monday I deleted my account. Back when Facebook acquired Instagram I feared that it didn’t bode well for the platform. I’ll let you read all about it yourself rather than toss up a fresh rant. I’m really just here to post about it because it affects the Tinas. I still have five months left in the Tinas project and Instagram was the platform I used to create them.

The reason Instagram was the Chosen One? Because I could work on it anywhere at any time. I didn’t have to hook up Magda the Big Girl Camera to the computer. I didn’t have to sync the Go Pro. I didn’t have to load the photos into a separate editor. I could do it all on my phone. Take the photos on the go, edit them when I had time, post up whenever I felt ready. Make a collage. Toss them in the Dropbox. Blog away. Easy, simple, neat, and tidy.

I’ll figure that all out. I’ll find another way to do it. Instagram was a valuable tool in helping me learn how to make Tinas with a smartphone but I have now been doing it long enough that I’m confident I can do it without Instagram. I’ll just have to grow my skills with other tools. And it wouldn’t hurt me to do it the old-fashioned way every now and then. It might be fun.

I took three Magic Teacup photos since the Instagram deletion–these are the images that appear at the bottom of my tea cup every morning after leaving it unwashed the previous afternoon. Sometimes I get letters, numbers or symbols, sometimes figures or animals. August 2nd looks like a burlesque dancer with fluffy boa hanging off her shoulders. See how she’s kicking one leg up and the boa dangles down behind her? August 3rd looks like a dragon’s head. With a mustache. August 4th looks like a comment cloud with no words in it. Maybe the Magic Teacup was trying to say, I’m working on it. Come back later.

Without Instagram I don’t have anywhere else to put non-Tinas whimsy such as this, and no, I don’t want to start another blog. So I do have a bit of a dilemma. Instagram was a creative outlet and supporting my creativity is definitely an aspect of wellness. Instagram was the reason I didn’t need a creative blog in addition to a wellness blog. What to do? I’m not sure I want to populate this space with photos of my pets, Ugly Dolls, hiking vistas or yoga bombs. I’ll have to think of something.

In the meantime. Life without Facebook or Instagram. Wow. I’m feeling the void of Instagram far more than Facebook. Facebook was filled mostly with people I know. Instagram was filled with people (artists, writers, yogis) I wish I knew. I still have a Twitter account but I might check it once a day. Sometimes not at all. It feels like social media is gone from my life and that’s an odd sensation after so many years. Of course, I belong to a generation that remembers what life was like before social media. I forgot how it feels not to have social media. It’s almost as if Life is saying Welcome Back. 

And just how does it feel? It feels free. It feels liberating to have experiences, to notice or encounter things without feeling the pressure to document with visual evidence that they took place. It feels like I don’t have to prove that I have a life anymore. I would not have agreed that social media was pressuring me to do that but obviously this was the case.

I also don’t reach for my phone a thousand times a day to see everyone else’s proof of life. I trust that the world continues to go on without me watching every minute. Artists are still making beautiful things. Bodies are still bending into yoga poses. Flowers are still blooming. The sun still sets with aplomb. Babies are still growing. When did I feel like I had to keep tabs on all these things? I’ve been filling up my mind with these assurances every minute of the day. Without that constant input my mind is free to do other things.

It also occurs to me how lazy social media has made us. If/when I wonder what’s going on in the world I can’t just open an app to see. I can’t just close an app when my curiosity is satisfied. More to the point–isn’t it incredible that we’ve become content with that? This is what passes for living in the world now. We keep tabs–look, absorb, like, comment, and then we’re done. That luxury is gone now too. If I want to experience the world I can’t just rely on a computer to feed me data and call it done. I have to go be in the world.

Now that I’m confronted with that reality that it makes me question if social media actually connects people to people, or does is simply connect people to information about people? We’ve allowed the information to become sufficient. I always justified it by saying it kept me involved but involvement requires doing, not just looking, doesn’t it? I think I was kidding myself about that. I haven’t reached out to a soul since I deleted my accounts so I’m no more social now than I was before I opened my first profile. I was busier and better informed but not necessarily more involved.

This will be my last collection of Tinas curated from Instagram. It is bittersweet. If Facebook was love/hate, Instagram was all love. But since Zuck wants to turn it into Snapchat, Instagram and I have had our swan song.

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Peace, love, and thunderstorms.

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