How many years has it been since Instagram became everyone’s favorite social media platform?

I remember that it used to be a lousy filtered app that people were still figuring out. Look at it now, it has become all shiny and integrated, surpassing even its parent Facebook.

It didn’t take too long before everyone on this app found a way to monetise the heck out of it, so much so that Instagram Business became a natural addition to the platform.

As a consequence, what used to be a platform meant for a photo wall of moments in our lives now sees accounts after accounts being created targeting us by learning about what we just opened and stayed for. So clever that it creeps me out at times.

I’ve had so many moments where Instagram threw an ad about purified water after I chatted with someone on WhatsApp about it and when I didn’t even search for it on it. That happened to me multiple times that I’ve become convinced that the app really got a mind on its own, but that’s a whole lot of another story.

The new normal

I’ve just had a realisation that the app has become an integral part of everyday life that some big decisions can be made entirely out of it, on it, and with it. It’s like democracy.

For me, the most lit– borrowing the term used by the biggest crowd flocking on Instagram, Millennials — chat group I have now is on it. With two other moms whose kids are the same age as mine, we talked about things like our husbands, cute shirts, toddler tantrum, baby recipes, and it never stops.

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Why Instagram? Because I parent a lot based on it. I may stay on it for long to share, learn, and get useful tips from the fellow moms who’ve been there, done that, and are still doing it.

It’s my new normal. I woke up and checked on it before opening my emails or WhatsApp, and it gets me going.

The “insta” is for instant

It’s part of my life now, this habit of checking out Instagram to keep up with things. It’s basically my entire down time, so much that I kind of get why people need to detox from it.

It can turn pretty bleak quickly as the scroll never really stops. It just continuously feeds you with stuff that you think you need, from things to updates about other people’s lives.

The most attractive thing about it, I’ve noticed, is how easy it is. We often forget that it’s all presented instantaneously.

Instant meal on how-to-cook videos, instant holiday, instant success, you name it, it is all there flaunted, and we are all there to consume like a bunch of gluttons.

Instagram has become contents that are disguised as a list of important tasks to kill. Addictive.

There’s something for everybody

It’s the dream, isn’t it? That there is something out there for everyone, Instagram delivers it nonchalantly. The things you’ve thought about, if you manage to guess the keywords, you’ll find on Instagram.

I think that’s a large part of why FOMO is a word now. Fear of Missing Out. Instagram eats up on the FOMO phenomenon and makes bucks doing so.

There’s something for everybody just an Instagram away. I’ve lost count of how many times a lightbulb went off in my head about possible products I can offer as an entrepreneur, but the first thing I did was to check if the brand name I thought about was taken already on Instagram, instead of doing proper research like a good entrepreneur.

I’ll hold on to the startup idea, and then found myself getting bombarded on Instagram with businesses already doing what I thought of and putting ads out for it.

Well, did that make me stop? No, it made me jump to another “idea for business inspired by what’s on my Insta feed”.

It was like when Pinterest was the thing that gets ladies thinking that they can start a clothing brand. For me, Instagram convinced me that I should start my own thing already, because of the fact that how easy it should be and how lame I am if I don’t already.

It’s that toxic comparison thing that all moms of Instagram only understand. It’s also that delusional self of mine that gets me spinning for Instagram recognition.

Silly how one app can rule us all if we let it, like a super app those ride-hailing unicorns are trying to become but with more powerful tool: comparison. Silly how Instagram can both empowers you to do something just because and then leaves you feeling like you haven’t done enough.

Turn down the noise

Being mindful of how Instagram should be a thing, but it’s not. Why would you get rid of things that inspire you to do something?

Even so, I found that the more I scroll, the lonelier I get and the more my mind wanders far off. Mostly it laments about how I haven’t done enough because it should be so easy, Instagram should make it easy.

If you suffer from the same condition, my advice won’t be to put down your phone or disconnect for a while, although all of those are still useful if you try to recover from the “Instagrim” effect. My advice would be turning down the noise.

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Instagram is a noisy and crowded place with one and only mission: to make you stay longer and spend.

Don’t stay too long that you give a chance to your mind to wander far off. Don’t spend if you know that it’s just a fleeting trend on Instagram.

I know it’s simple to say, but remember the JOMO, the antithesis of FOMO — Joy of Missing Out. Do you know where I first found out about JOMO? Yes, from Instagram.

So yeah, it’s still integral and my mind would still buzz with ideas that are ready to be sacked the minute I submerge myself in Instagram-level deep research. But until then, I would keep reminding myself to take it somewhere else other than this fad-filled space, somewhere else that’s legit, if I want to take the business idea seriously.

Photo by Luke van Zyl on Unsplash