#7: This bouquet is not like the others
On leaving Instagram. Let me reintroduce myself.
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A week ago I was browsing Instagram from my computer once or twice a day. Like a damn addict.
For some months now, I’ve been feeling more and more frustrated with it. Adjusting my life and habits around an algorithm was exhausting. So many decisions had to be taken and energy to be wasted.
First, I had to figure out if my photos made for good content. Second, find the perfect time to post. I am bad with numbers but I still tried my absolute best to figure it out. That alone could take me whole days. Finally, a million other tidbits: add hashtags, check the engagement, the reach within one hour and don't forget to add an alt text. Alt texts are actually great, but my motives were not pure. I had just read somewhere they improve your reach.
Instagram was sucking all of the love and joy for photography out of me. Each photo felt like an exam. I had to be consistent, too. Post multiple times a week. Every day if I could. I was completely overwhelmed.
So I deleted the app from my phone and decided to take a break from posting. I browsed my feed from the computer as mentioned before. Up to one week ago, I would've recommended it to you. It made for a much more relaxed experience. The universe, however, had other plans for me.
At some point, as I was scrolling through Instagram for perhaps the fourth time that day (addicts always lie), I was logged out of my account for “unusual activity”. A pop-up asked me to confirm my identity. I received an email with a verification code, changed my password, and thought nothing of it until the next day.
The next day I was logged out of my account again. Only this time, the pop-up sounded a lot more demanding.
I was given no choice other than downloading the Instagram app if I ever wanted to gain access to my account. Why not send me another verification code via email or phone? I’m no expert, but it seems that Instagram is actively preventing people from using its service from the browser only. I don’t respond well to ultimatums (an understatement), so I decided right then and there that I would stop using Instagram. Unfortunately, I still had to download the app to let my followers know where to find me. In order to “confirm my identity” (how?), Instagram requested a 360° video selfie, similar to the ones you take for the iPhone facial recognition. Look to the left, look to the right, and now you’re back into your account. Enjoy the dread!
Ironically, my IG story where I announced I would be leaving Instagram is my most viewed story of all time. As a consequence, a couple of things happened:
I started losing followers like crazy. Which, okay, it makes perfect sense. I would have done the same! Did it stop me from feeling like shit? It did not.
A considerable number of persons — that’s you — subscribed to my newsletter. Thank you, it warmed my heart.
Now for some Q&A between me, myself and I:
I bet you’ll come back running!
No thank you. It’s been six days and I don’t miss Instagram one bit. I’ll keep going.
So you’ll never use Instagram again?
I have to take a long break to distance myself from it and heal. Eventually, I might find a strategy that could allow me to post sporadically and not fall down the addiction tunnel. But now is not the right time to think about it.
How will you see your favorite photographers’ work?
To my disappointment, I noticed most photographers and artists post their work solely on Instagram. I wish more photographers had a newsletter, or that they would update their websites more often. I bookmarked a few of them to check periodically.
How will people, including editors, agents and brands, find you?
I don’t know. You tell me! I guess I’ll have to up my email game and rely on word of mouth. Who knows what projects I will come up with now that I have all this free time.
Alright, let’s have another chat in a few months!
Ok. Thank you for having me.
I started Bouquet six months ago, advertising it as a newsletter on photography, as a way of legitimising (mostly to myself) this newsletter’s existence. Truth is I don’t have a lot of tips. All I can say is: if you don't have the technical skills, learn them. Then just practice. You're going to take bad photos for a while, but that's okay because you're going to love them anyway. Look at things. Notice what moves you, what makes you want to take a photo. You just keep doing that forever and voilà. I don't have any other tips. Get to know yourself.
That's what I'm still doing after fourteen years. 14 years! In fourteen years, Bo Burnham went from being a Youtube star to doing specials on Netflix. All I got was an Instagram addiction and an Italian citizenship. Yes, starting today I am now an Italian-Moldovan!
I suppose this is a newsletter about... me? Cringe, scratch that.
Bouquet is a monthly newsletter made up of words and images I arrange as carefully as I can. It’s not exactly a diary, although I only know how to write about my own experience in the world. My interests, thoughts and stories accompanied by my photographs. Puns happen. Bouquet arrives in your inbox every first Tuesday of the month.
Thank you so much for being here. Regular scheduling will resume in July. I’ll leave you with a song I can’t get out of my head. Damn you, Bo. You talented man.