Dear Instagram, it's not me. It's you.

On April 5, 2012, I joined Instagram.


I was 34 years old and I had two almost 4 year old toddlers running around. I was smack dab in the middle of my career at a Quaker seminary and I hadn't found my way back to art yet. I was creating lots of DIY projects and experimenting with taking photos with my phone. Filters were all the rage and photo apps were being discovered.


Are you even a 42 year old midwestern woman if you don't have nostalgic memories of the Nashville filter?


It made everything looks so dreamy.



Pretty sure this is the Nashville filter on a collage photo of my boys. Pure 2012 trifecta.


I was also still obsessed with scrapbooking and blogging was a huge part of my life. Remember when I posted my daily outfits? And what about those blog hops? That was how we got followers back in the day.



Cute dress, cardigan, statement necklace, tights & boots. That was the uniform!


And my DIY Urban Outfitters wall art going sort of viral on Pinterest was the highlight of my year....




(This is still hanging in our entryway BTW and I still love it.)


Remembering these things makes me so darn happy.


After the upheaval of last year, I'm in full on nostalgic mode over here. I realize now why people listen to their favorite music from their 20's and 30's. It brings back ALL the feels. Dido and Jeremy Larson on repeat over here.


Oh boy do I get it now.


Things were so much simpler then. Even though I worked 40 hours a week and had two toddlers running around, the world felt lighter. A lot has changed since 2012.


I've been doing a deep dive into the things from that era of my life that brought me joy, and and one thing I'm struggling with during this time of remembering is how much social media has changed since then. Even though I am an introvert at heart, I'm a very social one, and connecting with people on an authentic level is one of my favorite things. Instagram has been a huge source of that for me over the past decade, but their recent changes are kind of breaking my heart.


I know....this is very dramatic Mandy. A free app making changes. Cue the tiny violin!


But if you are from my generation of Instagram lovers, you've noticed how it is moving to more and more videos and less photo sharing. You can still share photos, but they aren't encouraged or pushed through to your followers like videos.


I recently uploaded a video of a peaceful stream to my feed and Instagram was like, "Wait! Don't you want to share that as a reel instead of a post?!"


No.


No Instagram.


I do not want to share this as a reel.


Thank you very much.


I'm feeling very stubborn about these changes.


Yes, change is inevitable. But not all change is good for everyone.


I come to Instagram for inspiration and calming & encouraging content, and scrolling through a feed filled with video after video of someone pointing to words and dancing to the same song over and over again is not floating my boat. We have TikTok for that, yes? And I love a good TikTok video of a talking dog when the mood strikes. And go to TikTok for that, or maybe my Instagram stories.


I love stories (and reels) for video and in my Gen X opinion that's where they should stay.


Perhaps we need a new version of Instagram for Generation X? Or we could just remember we have TikTok and stop this video nonsense. You do not have to be all things to all people, Instagram.


My remedy for this has been doing some paring down of who I follow, which has been very freeing. Do you remember who you followed almost 10 years ago? I found that there were so many accounts I couldn't even remember I was following or why. But there are also the people and accounts I followed back in 2012 that reminded me why I love Instagram so much in the first place.


This moment for me is all about finding the balance between remembering and starting fresh.


Keeping what works and discarding the rest. Or at least applying the mute button liberally for the time being.


And now maybe I'll go do some scrapbooking and a DIY project or two. Don't forget that Nashville filter!



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