The first week of school, my Italian professor asked the class who already had Instagram downloaded on their phone. Obviously, there was a murmur of yeses, along with the singular no from me. I wasn’t surprised. Instagram is basically the new Facebook. Everyone has an account.
“You’ll need to log in to the class Instagram account, where you will be uploading your vlogs.”
These were the last words an anti-Instagrammer like me wanted to hear.
Why could we not submit our vlogs on Canvas instead? Or create a class Google Drive? Was it really necessary that I download one of my least favorite apps?
Indeed, using the app for the first time from my phone and not a friend’s was dreadful. My vlog didn’t upload the first time. I had to try six times before it finally showed up on the class page. The hassle of uploading a singular video made me hate the app even more.
And even though the class account is private, I couldn’t help thinking about how easy it is for people to access almost anything on Instagram. Like most social media sites, you can basically stalk almost anyone and learn about the key moments in their life without having actually met them. You don’t even have to talk to them and you still know what’s going on in their life. What kind of social life is that?
The feed on the main page is also incredibly distracting. You may get on the app to do one thing and then get sucked into the world of Reels for an hour without even realizing. Even as I opened the app to upload my vlog, my eyes automatically wandered to the top post on the feed. I tried to ignore it to the best of my ability.
Of course, I'd be lying if I didn’t say I didn’t feel at least a bit tempted to create my own account. I'd finally be in the loop, get the app everyone has and catch up on what I missed. Here was an app that had videos and photos that could entertain me. The possibilities were endless. I'd never get bored with that much content.
But making a post seems more stressful than ever. I could never think of the right caption that everyone would find funny. Who knows if people would even like my photos? What would people think?
The more I thought about it, the more sure I felt about my initial decision not to create my own account. I did not have the time in my already uber-packed life to stress about the world of Instagram. I didn’t need Instagram, and Instagram didn’t need me.
In fact, Instagram doesn’t need any of us. And I hate to break it to you, but we don’t need Instagram either. Think about all the time you’ll lose watching videos and exploring pictures when you could be doing something a thousand times more productive, such as doing homework or spending some much-needed time in nature. Perhaps read a book and not feel Instagram calling your name with every notification.
Unplugging Instagram can allow you to enjoy the life you have right in front of you, not the reconstructed renditions of an experience in a post with a caption that probably took too much time to brainstorm. Let's not waste our brainpower on something that will truly not benefit us in any significant way.
What do we take away from Instagram anyway that we can’t find somewhere else? It's not like other forms of entertainment and ways to socialize don’t exist. Face-to-face conversations and parks are indeed a part of the world we live in. We don’t need Instagram to gatekeep us from taking advantage of those resources.
And so, even though Instagram has occupied 318 megabytes on my phone, it will stay unopened unless absolutely necessary. It will fail to steal my attention unless I need to upload another Italian vlog.
[Related: OPINION: Who cares what people think]
Instagram will do just fine without my account. It has billions of others to house and display anyway.
Isabella Vesperini (she/her) is a sophomore majoring in journalism and minoring in Italian.