“Your joy and self worth should not depend on others.”
Ferdy Christant, in a superb piece about Flickr, suggests that people who photograph for the joy of it should focus less on external validation such as likes or faves and more on what brings them joy:
For amateurs and enthusiasts, . . . first and foremost . . . enjoy your hobby. Enjoy photography itself as well as your topics, be they a landscape, a model or a freaky insect. Or even a Snowy Owl. This is your hobby and you should learn to enjoy it even if not a single other human being notices. Start with this. Your joy and self worth should not depend on others.
I’m serious. Look at people having other hobbies. Reading, hiking, tennis, wood crafts, brewing beer, collecting stamps, watching movies or playing Tetris…none of these people spend hours per day seeking validation as to whether their hobby is worthwhile or has meaning. It has meaning because it is your time and you enjoy doing it. None of them determine meaning based on others as if they are monitoring a stock market of self worth.
And then there is Instagram, which I have given up for Lent. I must say, it is quite a relief to not be looking at all those other photos and perfect lives. It is great to not think about where I could be, and instead be grateful for where I am. I have been walking around town looking for images and then sharing them on my own blog or with friends over iMessage. There have been discussions on the relative merits and demerits of certain photos. It is incredibly refreshing to actually get a conversation instead of a “heart.”
But the best part of not being on IG is the absence of influencers and ads selling me substandard shit. I’ll admit that I have fallen prey to ads promising gold (actually, no-show socks and joggers) that turned out to be utter crap. I have ended up ordering USB cables that are just horrible. But I’ve learned my lesson: I don’t trust anything being advertised on Instagram and peddled by influencers. And I’m glad to be rid of them.
Om still has an Instagram account but explained on June 1, 2020 that he is “out” of Instagram.