A Gentle Break on Instagram

There is only one good place on the internet. There is only one place that does not add to my anxiety and actually relieves the low level of fear that comes with the widespread awareness of being online all the time. This place is Instagram.

All other social media platforms are filled with good and bad things that range from genuinely valuable (your friend’s newborn baby) to actively horrible (arguing with literally racists). A simple Facebook checkout, which in its older and simpler forms was nothing more than status updates and photos, is rarely a purely positive experience. Instagram addresses this simpler form, largely devoid of controversy and bad news about the world. Used correctly, they are simply pictures of nice things from people you like. It is a paradise.

You can use it in many ways, but I only check Instagram at the end of the day when I do deep scrolling. I take in everything at once, watching what my friends are doing, enjoying cute pictures of dogs and cats from many new accounts, looking into the daily life of several celebrities. I watch the whole day as a kind of pleasure – not piece by piece in real time, which happens as they happen, for me this is a charming dossier at the end of the day. It’s a gentle way to slow down, a way to stop and snap roses.

I designed it like that. On Facebook, I almost always accept requests for friendship from people I know in any capacity, filling them with family responsibilities and vague acquaintances. Twitter is for news and silly jokes. LinkedIn? No thanks. On Instagram, I choose who I want to see. This is not a general overview of the world – this is the world that I have chosen.

My point is that there are still sanctuaries on the Internet, and the short-term escape offered by such unsullied sanctuaries could provide a much-needed respite from the daily routine.

Plus, Instagram offers tons of ephemeral content to complement your feed. There are slime people . Weird CGI . Celebrity gossip. Famous pets, parrots . I’m following an owl or two. All of this is delicious. The Exploration tab is an algorithmic fever dream of strange sentences that you can follow or ignore. Anything! How the hell is it!

Aggressive addition of features may end up complicating the safe haven provided by Instagram’s simplicity, but I don’t think so yet. Instagram Stories are adorable in their own right; I’m glad to see less formal snapshots of everyone’s life, not caring about contributing to a permanent photographic record. Whole picture albums can be grouped.

You may find similar hideouts in other apps, networks, or games. I’ve never been interested in Snapchat – addressing the ghost in the room – although many of you will likely find the same kind of respite in this app. I am an internet traditionalist; I love the tape and want it to be chronological. (Instagram’s slightly controversial change to the algorithmically sorted feed was virtually invisible, and you can still deep scroll at the end of the day to see each photo.) If Snapchat is your safe haven, my friend, I’m happy for you.

Self-help is a buzzword that I try to avoid, but it is conceptually central to much of what I have been promoting in the past few weeks. We must all find our safe havens, our little havens that offer respite from the world and help us get through it all. On Instagram, I found selfie care.


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