I continue to struggle with Instagram.
Instagram continues to be the dopamine hit I use when I feel unseen. I continue to change my Instagram use. Recently, I got back onto the app after taking a two-month hiatus. This was not the first time I had left Instagram, only to return a few months later.
This makes me wonder, what hold does Instagram have on me?
The other week when I rejoined Instagram, I was struggling to feel understood. I have a deep desire to be known by others, and that usually manifests in other people getting the details of my life correct.
But lately, I have been bothered by the people in my life not asking me about the things that I care about. Or worse, not knowing the things that I have been working on. I have a lot of passion projects, and I want you to know about them because I get most of my energy from sharing ideas and receiving a response.
I have recently taken the Working Genius assessment by Patrick Lencioni. I recommend this assessment because it focuses on the type of work you do that is a competency and is most fulfilling. The two kinds of work that I find the most fulfilling is Inventing and Galvanizing. In other words, I like to make new things and get other people excited about them.
While I did not have Instagram, I felt like my podcast struggled. My podcast is probably my favorite thing I do. I get to talk to other people about their ideas and then I get to share the best ones with people I care about.
The one thing that really set me over the edge was when folks have been asking me and Gwen how our podcast has been. Gwen hasn’t been on the podcast since episode 5, and I am quickly approaching 50 episodes at this point. When someone gets the details of my podcast incorrect, it makes me feel like no one sees me. The things that I do are just another piece of content scrolled past.
No, you aren't in trouble if you asked me how my podcast with Gwen is going. That is more of me having a pride issue. Is my podcast really that important? No, it isn’t. But when others get the details of my work wrong, it triggers my insecurities. Then I head back to Instagram to get a false sense of security.
So when I was off of Instagram, I felt like I had no avenue to share the things I was creating. True, I have lovely email readers such as yourself, but I desired more affirmation than that. I crave the always tantalizing likes that come with social media.
I am not sure there is anything inherently wrong with Instagram use, but I also don’t know if it is good for me. Was it wrong of me to get back on Instagram because I wanted affirmation? I think it might have been. This is because Instagram is not a great source for what I was looking for. Social media likes are not a safe and secure avenue to feel encouraged. Instagram is a false security for me. A high that does not last.
So am I getting back off of Instagram? I don’t know at this point. I continue to reflect on my motives for the work that I do. It is easy for my ambition to get twisted and to lose my focus on helping others. I just know that I am not the only creative who has been struggling with this social media outlet.
What I am considering:
Blocking Instagram on my phone again, and using it on my computer only. The issue with this approach is that Stories are my favorite feature of Instagram, and you cannot participate in Stories on a laptop.
Deactivating my account again. Why bother with Instagram if this continues to be such a big issue?
Continuing with Instagram in the way I am currently using it. Focusing on creating instead of consuming. Limiting my time to 30 minutes a day.
Am I wrong? Let me know. Send me a message on Instagram @djeccles (see what I did there?).
Daniel Eccles is a Certified Career Counselor. He has helped hundreds of emerging leaders get unstuck so that they can start creating opportunities. Daniel also hosts the Learned Opportunity Podcast, where he chats with experts and emerging leaders about opportunity-creating best practices.
Visit DanielEccles.com to learn more about Daniel and his LifeMappingU Course that helps folks figure out what they want out of life, career, and more.