I first joined back in 2012 and now 6 years later, I’m breaking up with Instagram. I still remember the first time I downloaded it, I had recently moved from México to pursue a design career in California, the app had been out for a while but I just wasn’t interested in another social platform (I was the last one of my friend group to join Facebook as well). I remember I was at The Grove in Beverly Hills with my future in-law’s around Christmas time, mindlessly walking around for 2+ hours waiting for Keal (my then boyfriend, now husband) when I downloaded it for the first time.
I had been walking around all these shops with my mother in law, and as a new Graphic Design student I was ogling all the type candy around me. I wanted to document all the signage and type work I was seeing and Instagram seemed like the perfect place to document my findings. Lo and behold my gorgeous first ‘grams!
I sadly have erased all of my posts about 3 times now so I have never really shown my Insta progress (always striving for “perfection”, more on that later). I do regret deleting all my Insta posts, I enjoy scrolling through other artists profiles and seeing their very first square. There is something so pure and encouraging about seeing someone’s journey. Luckily back in the day I used to share my Instagram posts on Facebook so I’m going to share my first grid here. Fun fact! That first day when I downloaded the app I posted 8… that’s right, 8 glorious ~moody~ typography Instagrams. I was committed.
See what I mean?! Honestly, even as I’m writing this right now, I really miss the feeling of Happy Posting™. Back when I used to just post design stuff because I thought it was cool and I actually enjoyed taking my time choosing those weird ~moody~ filters. It was an in the moment thing, and for the pure joy of it. Now it’s all about likes and follows and algorithms and stress and finding the perfect time to post and the endless comparison parade. It has become toxic.
So why am I breaking up with it? It’s such a powerful business tool. It gets you clients! Sponsorships! It gets the word out there that you exist! I hear you, I know believe me. I am so grateful for the app and it’s awesome power to catapult artists into the spotlight. I am so happy to discover other artists, designers, bloggers, and small shops on there and show my support, but it’s just not for me. At least not right now.
It’s like staying in an toxic relationship, and I’ve had one in my lifetime already I do not need another thank you very much. You know it’s bad for you, you cry all the time, feel miserable, and yet you keep coming back to it, seeing if it has “changed” and you feel horrible all the same. That’s what it’s like for me… and lemme tell you, that is no way of living.
I have done my fair share of social media detoxes in the past to try and recharge and see it as what it is: a business tool. It just has not worked for me. It’s my trigger, what makes me stop working and fall into this rabbit hole of depression and anxiety. It mostly has to do with the fact that I put so much pressure on myself to get perfect photography tbh. I also have the terrible habit of comparing myself to strangers on the internet, of doubting myself and my talents. Plus I am the most impatient person on the planet (workin’ on it!), and so waiting for my audience to grow organically (with the ever changing algorithm) is a big source of anxiety for me. All in all… I have always wondered… Is it possible to grow a profitable online business without the help of Instagram? Can you really be a lifestyle blogger without those little squares? Can I keep getting design clients? Can I build a community of Dreamers? I honestly think I can. I know I can.
So an experiment popped into my head, could I grow my business within 6 months without Instagram? I thought I was crazy, but I talked it with my husband, Keal, and he was like… you can totally do this. He is honestly the best and always knows what to say. He reminded me that most of my clients actually find me on Pinterest (an app I actually enjoy) and that it would be interesting to commit and not use Insta for a while and see what happens. And let’s face it, as Jenna Kutcher (who is an angel btw) has praised… Mark Zuckerberg owns your followers, one day the app may be gone and where’s all your hard work? The app may glitch or fail and your profile is suddenly gone, and there are plenty of stories like that too. So… why not focus more on my blog? My website… my turf!?
So here I am… breaking up with Instagram because it was a toxic unhealthy relationship. I know that a lot of people feel the same way, I have read posts and stories and know I am not alone… Even Bri Emery (DesignLoveFest) recently shared on various posts and stories, how social media gives her anxiety and depression. She’s one of my girl boss heroes, she’s doing what I dream of doing one day and knowing that she too feels like me (with 797k followers!) makes me feel like I’m not crazy after all. So is the app really worth our time? Our mental health? Makes you think huh?
With this experiment, not only will I free myself, but I will have extra time on my hands to totally own my craft, become the bad-iest girl boss ever and create more awesome content… the same time that was previously spent on vicious cycles scrolling through Instagram, hating myself and ugly crying on the floor in fetal position. I’ll choose the latter.
So I’m giving this six months, that’s half a year. I’m on a quest to see if you can build a profitable online biz without those little squares, I’m truly committed to seeing this through and putting all my energy and efforts into growing my talents, my blog and myself. Feel free to shout out your thoughts in the comments and I’ll see ya on the other side fellow Dreamer!
Update: I’m baaaack! Read everything I learned from my detox here.