Tuesday, October 8, 2013

instagram deleted my account. and im totally ok with it.

a couple weeks ago, something HORRIBLE happened. ok, maybe im being a little dramatic here, it wasnt actually horrible in the millions-of-people-dying sense, but horrible in the i-worked-really-hard-on-something-for-several-months-and-then-it-was-gone sense. 

you see, like most people my age, i had an instagram account where i occasionally posted pictures of things like what i made for dinner (in this case ratatouille made from squash that my mom grew herself):

my ever-popular weekly to do lists:

pictures of alice being cute (like when she was playing with ALL of her ponies at once):
and pictures of alice being hilarious (like the time she was playing with her sewing machine while watching star wars):

i was by NO MEANS a big deal on instagram, i had maybe 70 followers, most of which i knew personally. and since i dont have a smartphone and was doing everything on my ipad, they whole process of posting on instagram felt really bulky and clumsy. 

but i had been doing a lot of research about growing my blog/brand and it really seemed like instagram was going to be a valuable tool. 

so i started to post more blog/business related things, like blog post previews:

links to my tutorials:

and shop updates: 

and after a while, i was really starting to get the hang of it. i was posting regularly, engaging with LOTS of strangers (one photo of coupons opened my eyes to the apparently HUGE and terrifying #couponersofinstagram culture), and even generating a little bit of blog traffic. 

but then one day, suddenly, in the middle of scrolling through my feed, my instagram account logged out. and when i tried to log back in, it told me my account had been disabled, for "violating the terms of use", and there was nothing i could do about it. 

i cried. 

and then i realized that was dumb and stopped crying. 

and then i did some detective work, and actually read instagrams entire terms of use. and its in there: they CAN delete any account they feel like for any reason with  absolutely no recourse (except, of course, just making a new instagram and starting all over). i also learned that apparently this is kind of a big problem and accounts get shut down for things like changing their profile link (which i had done earlier in the day my account got disabled) all the time. also instagram has literally NO CUSTOMER SERVICE. OF ANY KIND. 

obviously i was upset. and i feel it was rightfully so, because what i thought was a totally benign photo-sharing app actually totally abused their ridiculous terms of service. ill never understand why my teeny little account got shut down when there are tons of HUGE accounts re-posting images they dont own (which is actually against the terms of use), but it turns out this story has a happy ending. 

because i stopped using instagram. and its been GREAT. 

i never realized how much time i was spending looking at low-quality pictures of people i barely knew, and inevitably getting jealous of all the vacations, friendships, kids, homes, and marriages i saw that were somehow better than mine. instagram was turning me into a (more) bitter, hateful, judgemental person and i didnt even notice. it totally wasnt healthy. and im SO glad its gone. 

and it gets EVEN BETTER. i switched the social media effort i was putting into instagram, over to pinterest, and it was probably one of the best marketing decisions ive ever made. instagram generated maybe a handful of blog hits a week, while pinterest is generating a handful of blog AND shop hits, EVERY DAY. its awesome. 

so good riddance instagram, it turns out im better off without you. 

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