You eagerly press the refresh button to see how your followers will react. “Nice shot!” goes one follower in less than 5 minutes. You're delighted to see how your photo quickly garners likes. In your mind, this has the chance to hit pop. You browse through the News Feed meantime as you patiently wait.
Notification: Your photo made it to the popular page! You feel exuberant, knowing that thousands, if not millions, get to see your pic.
More and more likes are coming. Spam starts to settle: “Follow me please!”, says one. You smile as you refresh the Popular Page, excited to get a glance at your photo.
That’s the Instagram Rush, and it’s addictive.
Are you an addict?
Some folks do not even need the rush. If you visit Instagram more than you check Facebook, you're probably just a fan. Checking it more than the number of meals you eat each day makes you an IG Addict, still okay. But if you open the app whenever there's a moment of pause in your life - calling for an elevator, stuck in a queue, waiting for the can of coke to drop from a vending machine, it's unhealthy. Once it starts to encroach time you’re supposed to be spending with family, you need to do something about it.
Conquering Instagram Addiction
If you find yourself addicted to the app, you don’t necessarily need to delete your account. Below are ways to manage it:
1. Do not enable the badge or notifications for Instagram. This is the most critical step. Go to Settings - General - Notifications, look for the Instagram entry and turn Notification Centre off.
2. Move the app icon deep into the last page of your iPhone desktop. Never put it in any of the 4 quick-access slots. Log off from the app after using it. Make it difficult for you to access it frequently.
3. Browse the feed at specific times only. My habit is to use it strictly from 9pm until 10pm. I’ll have a look again once before going to bed and once in the morning.
4. Limit the time spent on editing photos and prepare them in bulk whenever possible. Filter apps can get your creative juices going and you could easily get drowned in your own juice the whole day. I will usually spend a maximum of 10 minutes playing with a pic, oftentimes to simply do minor corrections and apply a couple of filters.
5. Upload a maximum of 3 shots daily. Each post carries a burden - when people respond to it, you're bound to engage yourself into a conversation. I will just put in a couple of photos daily, often to join IgerManila’s 9pmhabit. You won’t lose followers by posting less – you’ll easily lose them if you spam their feed with too much mediocre photos.
6. Use viewers to manage your session efficiently. Who wants to type long sentences on the iPhone? Siri's capabilities have a long way to go before it fully replaces the keyboard. Statigram is my favorite. It allows you to post comments and give likes on the grid view itself so you don’t have to load each photo individually.
7. Engage only a select group of people. You can have 500 or more good followers but you can’t possibly interact with each one of them with quality. Do you remember what jefferson1 said last week? Was it mr_potter or velocity with whom you discussed PixFx tricks the other day? Of course, show appreciation by saying thanks to sincere comments, but limit deep interaction with a manageable group of 30-50.
Instagram is definitely fun. It’s a good place to tell a story, learn photography, image editing and make new friends. Just keep your IG habits in check and you'll continue to enjoy the benefits of this great app, without it eating away your life.
How much time do you spend on Instagram?