Instagram has turned us against ourselves


I'm not going to sit here and blame kevin or anything, I don't think anyone could have seen this coming (except maybe Ted Kaczynski), but instagram turns us into a hyper-specialized version of ourselves.

People are reduced to a single identity

Do you love to travel? Do you love photography? What about writing? Hiking? Rock climbing? Snowboarding? Surfing? Well on instagram you can only pick the one you're best at (or best at taking pics of) because that's what will get engagement, and you want engagement don't you? Those sweet, sweet likes give you that quick hit of dopamine to get you through the work day. It's those very same likes that have led to the downfall of what started out as a fun diversion. Every time you make a post that doesn't get engagement, you subconsciously "learn" that that isn't what you want to do, you want people to like your stuff, so you start to post about one thing, your profile eventually gets turned into photos about the one thing that drives engagement and you get caught up in it. You start to become driven by the engagement and you lose sight of the many facets of your personality that make up you.

A faustian bargain

We can talk about free or paid apps, ads or donations, we can talk about tipping and buy me a coffee, or patreon subscriptions. We can talk about all of that, or we can get to the heart of what really matters. Things that are easy to do, aren't always the best things for us. Instagram in essence turns "keeping in touch" on it's head, so instead of manually reaching out to people we care about, or reaching out in a group chat, the goal was to just have everyone throw photos up asynchronously and we can all look at them when we want. But this ease of use and convenience has led us down a dark path. I don't know what the way out is, short of deleting accounts and ostracizing yourself socially. It's a hard thing to do, but your mental health will be better for it.

In the end it's up to you, not anyone else

To abandon the likes and the comments and the feed, that's a hard thing to do. It's not that we're all addicted, it's much more insidious than that, instead we're connected. Connected to each other and to this dopamine releasing machine. Imagine if we were all connected to each other through a shared love of opioids. What a terrible world it would be.