Thursday, June 08, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 18, 1444 H
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Why I put myself in Instagram ‘rehab’


Małgorzata Piechowicz-Pietruszka -

Recently my attention span has deteriorated significantly and I blame Instagram for that. I noticed how I am no longer able to read an article of more than one thousand words without a quick ‘scroll break’ or even boil water in an electric (!) kettle without a quick check of the so called Insta stories. And I am the one in the house who preaches about technology addiction and all its menacing consequences.

Instagram is now the only social media platform that I use (I divorced Facebook long time ago) so I thought I would somehow harmlessly and unnoticeably get away with it. But it seems that no one will be spared.

As I was scrolling mindlessly and absolutely purposelessly through the countless pictures of the accounts I once thought would be inspiring to me, I started to ask myslef why I was even doing it.

The fact that I am no longer inspired or even interested became clear to me at least a couple of months ago. My mind got used to the picturesque photos of @earthpix or mouth-watering food of @smittenkitchen to the point where it didn’t even take me two seconds to appreciate the content, let alone try to cook it myself. And all these eye-rolling yogi accounts... a different planet on its own.

That is why, to stay honest with myself and my ambitious life enhancing philosophy to do as much as I can mindfully and purposefully, I had no other choice but to ditch my Instagram love affair.

As I write these words it is my second day ‘in rehab’. Not a big achievement, I know — at least not yet. Many can argue that we all deserve some kind of entertainment and that not everything in our lives needs a higher or noble purpose. I totally agree as I am now only a few steps from my phone where I can switch back to my Insta account and (too)easily get my daily dosage of dopamine. But I won’t do it — I hope — as the turning point for me, as I mentioned before, was my own, personal, declining attention span. I cannot read with my attention being constantly distracted.

Writing also doesn’t benefit from it. And reading is my ultimate passion which isn’t going to be sacrificed over a few ‘glam looking insta mamas’ whom I follow.

As I checked a few minutes ago (yes, I needed a short break from writing — call it attention fatigue or the need to reunite my thumb with the screen), I found out that the social media teams have already foreseen the ever more dwindling attention span of their audiences (now it is more or less eight seconds) and are ready to give some advice for the content creators. Let’s take one such article as it popped up on top of my google search list:

- ‘a post shouldn’t require too much thinking to trigger liking, sharing or commenting’ — No such risk, I scroll brainlessly most of the time.

-’it is suggested to spend time on an entertaining video/picture rather than writing a great caption underneath. Therefore, even if the character limit is 2,200, social media experts suggest to keep it around 125 characters.’ — Reading and writing is out of date anyway, right?

Their conclusion

- ‘the attention-span is probably going to worsen in the near future, so social media platforms are metaphorically racing against the clock, and we’ll see what new tricks come out’. — I honestly hope I will not see it anymore.

And a promise — ‘the media team is constantly updating methods and strategies to keep algorithms happy and numbers green.’ — Fingers crossed for no longer being a part of the algorithms.

Who else is up for the challenge?

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