What about Instagram?

The last time I rage-quit Instagram was January 2018. I wrote this…

I am leaving Instagram. I may decide to return if Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram change their policies and behavior in a significant way. Until then, I cannot in good conscience continue using their services. And of course..Links in bio. I can always be reached via email at jack@baty.net. I’ll post photos to Flickr.

That sounds great on paper, and can work well as an updated version of “I don’t even have a television!” The difference, though, is that not having a television meant that I read more books and missed a few shows and Super Bowl commercials, whereas not being on Instagram means I miss connections with my friends and family.

I tell myself that we’re all just sharing silly, unrealistic nonsense on social networks, and that may often be true, but I don’t like missing updates from the people I care about or otherwise admire, silly or not.

I’ve tried asking friends, coworkers, and loved ones to “start a blog and we can all subscribe to each other’s RSS feeds!” and “Stop feeding the evil companies like Facebook!” and “Own your content!”. All I’ve gotten back is “No thanks.”

This has meant martyring the casual connections with the people most important to me for the sake of doing the Right Thing™️, and quite frankly I’m not sure it’s worth it.

My social bubble often works itself up into a frenzy of righteous indignation over this stuff. We convince ourselves that it’s all or nothing and, if we’re not careful, can end up thinking less of all the lovely people who just want to share photos and updates with friends.

I’m all for the independent web. I think everyone could benefit from having a blog; a place on the internet of their very own, under their control. My favorite place online these days is Micro.blog, which is all-in indieweb.

I believe that Facebook, while probably not outright evil, is damaging to society as a whole and should be prevented from continuing to do what they’ve been doing in the way they’ve been doing it.

There are lots of reasons to dislike Instagram, but being connected and sharing with my friends isn’t one of them.

I miss Instagram. I miss sharing photos where most of my friends and family are. I have met a number of nice, interesting and talented people on micro.blog, but it’s a small subset of the people I want to stay connected with. I wish this meant posting to Flickr instead, but the overwhelming majority are on Instagram, and I miss seeing their “Instas”. And honestly, I miss them seeing mine.

This post is just me thinking through some of the feelings I’ve been having about Instagram and social in general. Please don’t trouble yourself with telling me all the ways Facebook is evil and why we should all get off the big networks and back onto the independent web. I already know, and I agree, but I’m still considering dipping my toes back into Instagram. Feel free to disapprove.

I’m mrjackbaty on Instagram

I’ll follow you on Twitter, but…

I’m dipping my toes back into Twitter. I know, I know, it’s a dumpster fire of angry hyperbole, pretend activism, humble-brags, and abuse, but…

I used to learn a lot from people on Twitter. They used to make me laugh and show me wonderful things. I miss that.

I unfollowed everyone a few months back and stopped posting. I’m thinking now that I will cautiously start following people again. In order to keep my feed sane, I have some rules.

I’ll follow you, but only if…

  • You don’t mention Trump more than once a week
  • No more than 10% of your tweets are links to your podcast (or any podcast, for that matter)
  • No more than 10% of your tweets are ads for your “side gig”
  • You only retweet things that you personally find interesting
  • You don’t bitch about everything
  • You don’t retweet other people bitching
  • When you point out wrongs in the world, you do it constructively and thoughtfully
  • You don’t pretend to know everything about whatever topic is trending today
  • In fact, don’t even mention whatever topic is trending today
  • You don’t spend much time speculating about things you really know nothing about

I’ll add to this list as I’m reminded of things that drove me away to begin with. Also, as I’ll be posting again, I’ll try to behave like someone I would follow.

Anyway, I’m still @jackbaty, who are you?

Instagram influencers are out, slackers are in (Quartzy)


Where once the social network was basically lunch and sunsets, it’s now a parade of strategically-crafted life updates, career achievements, and public vows to spend less time online (usually made by people who earn money from social media)—all framed with the carefully selected language of a press release. Everyone is striving, so very hard.

And great for them, I guess. But sometimes one might pine for a less aspirational time, when the cool kids were smoking weed, eating junk food, and… you know, just chillin’.

God, let’s hope so. I’m exhausted just watching people try so hard.

(via David Chartier)