Okay, so maybe I didn't exactly "quit." My Instagram account is still active, although it's been collecting dust since I hardly have anything to post anymore.
Truth be told, I was an in-denial “instahoe” not so long ago. Though I tried to veer away from posting outfits shots and selfies, I was guilty of being too anal as to what went up on my feed. From the nitty-gritty of VSCO down to posting during “prime time,” everything was calculated in order to max out the potential likes of each post and, well, to gain more followers. (Cray, I know.) Ever since the Instagram craze started back in 2011, all my friends, to an extent, took the gram way too seriously. It made everything seem like a competition as to who had the most likes and followers, and who had the best curated grid. Of course, being my ever so competitive self, I couldn't help but join in.
Then, sometime last month, I came across an article from our sister site, Spot.ph, about the statement that performer Gab Valenciano wrote on his Facebook account. While the lengthy status pretty much explained how the local showbiz industry made him feel “worthless,” one line stood out from the rest. It read: “That your self-worth is based on the number of followers that you have.” This had me thinking. Because you see, being an editor, there are three things I always keep in mind whenever featuring celebrities or personalities: (1) who is this person; (2) how is he/she relevant; and (3) why now? More often than not, these questions can all be justified with “oh, because he/she’s got a big Instagram following.” So, yeah, fair point, Gab!
In a way, insta-famous people do hold a certain influence over their followers. But then, at one point, you just start questioning why. Apart from the double-tap worthy #flatlays and posts containing 80% negative space, what exactly do they do with their lives that make them so relevant? Do they excel in their day jobs? Are they fighting for a cause? Do their accounts actually contribute something to your life? I’d like to think that behind that well-curated grid is a person who actually lives the life they project, someone who can offer something more other than mouthwatering foodstagrams and flawless selfies. But when you’re greeted by someone who hardly seems like the person you see on your screen, you couldn’t help but feel a little cheated.
At that time I read Gab’s post, I wasn’t exactly as active on Instagram anymore (at least not as much as I used to). I found myself posting only on rare occasions. Then I began to care less of what I posted, what filter I used, and at what time I would post them. I simply grew out of it.
Now, looking back, it makes me realize just how shallow it was to make it my goal to gain more followers and be “insta-famous.” And though I never actually admitted this, the thought did linger at the back of my mind. I realized I wouldn’t want to be that person who’s so conscious about the number of likes each post gets or the one who constantly checks on the number of my un-followers. My posts are but a fraction of my life and I certainly didn’t need those numbers to validate myself. Sure, I still do post from time to time but now I feel much better not having to constantly check up on those pesky notifications. It makes conversations more organic, telling people what I’ve been up to without them saying “Oh yeah, saw it on your Instagram.”
At the end of the day, things look so much clearer and better in person than through a camera phone.