What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? If you are like me, your answer was probably check my Instagram feed. The average time spent on Instagram is 53 minutes per day. Nearly an hour every day is spent scrolling through pictures, leaving comments, and trying to perfect our own photos with filters and edits in hopes of hundreds of likes and thousands of followers.
Instagram has become an addictive part of our everyday life. According to the Business Insider, the reason so many of us are hooked is because it offers instant rewards in the form of likes. We start to measure our worth based on whether or not people like our pictures.
Instagram’s addictive personality
At first, Instagram started as a way to share what is going on in our lives with our friends and family. Yet as its popularity grew, the purpose of it seemed to change. You can spend hours scrolling through these perfect pictures of these perfect people in these perfect places. All of a sudden or picture with 50 likes isn’t good enough, and we feel ourselves striving for perfection.
How many times have traveled to a beautiful place and the first thing you did was take out your phone to get a picture, take a look at it and say it isn’t good enough and then go to take another, and another, and another. You then throw it on Instagram with 10 different filters and all of a sudden that picture has gone from real to “perfect”. Gone are the days where we can actually enjoy the beauty around us without feeling the need to post it online.
It was in this realization that the Women Who Explore team decided that it was time to put the phone down and take a month long time out from Instagram. When asked about the decision, founders Lindsay and Jenny said it was an opportunity to remind everyone that Instagram isn’t everything.
The decision to go #Darkforthirty
“The idea to go dark for a month was born on a road trip. We felt drained lately and consumed by the world of social media. We started calculating how much time we spent on IG and it’s too much. There are important things happening in our personal lives that should be the priority and they weren’t. We realized more than ever before the benefits of getting out and having real face to face time instead of sitting and looking at unrealistic landscapes and comparing ourselves to others.”
Women Who Explore was first started to build communities and create experiences through adventure and exploring and so the decision to go dark for a month was to get back to their roots. While they are thankful for the doors that social media has opened up, but also think it is important to remember social media isn’t everything.
“In the car on that road trip we got very excited to do something bold and to show the world that we are taking a stand against the negative health impacts, body confidence, and unrealistic photos that we and many others compare ourselves to.”
Bold is an understatement. Women Who Explore has built their brand through social media. On Instagram alone, the girls have built a community of more than 500,000 followers. In a day and age where social media seems to be everything, it is a risk for a company like this to take a step back. Will they loose followers? Will they fall behind other social media communities? At the end of the day, Jenny and Lindsay say none of that should be what truly matters in life.
A bold move in a socially obsessed world
“The toughest part of it all was realizing that we are not perfect with our content, and we recognize we need to take a time out and reflect. It is scary to delete our IG because it is letting go of something we love very much but we also see the benefits. We will have more time to connect with women and meet face to face which is so much more powerful than screen time. This month we are going to focus on connecting with the people we love and the people that have come into our lives through WWE.”
They hope that their bold step will encourage others to take a look at their lives and really take a moment to think about what is truly important. They hope that others will be inspired by their decision and feel courages enough to put down the phones and focus on what truly matters in life, real human relationships with your loved ones.
“We have a responsibility to portray positivity and teach women about self esteem and resilience rather than comparing ourselves too others and striving for that perfect photo. Instagram and Apple are coming out with tools to monitor how much time is spent on social media and we encourage people to use them. We want women o be themselves and to not care how silly your hair looks or that you don’t have the perfect shot. “
What they hope to accomplish
They hope that during this month not only will they be able to reconnect with their loved ones and also with themselves and they hope that this will be a wakeup call to everyone. Go out and appreciate the beauty with your own eyes and not through a phone. Meet up for coffee with your friends instead of commenting on their pictures. Take time to focus on what truly matters in your life, which is so much more than how many likes you get on Instagram.
They hope during this month they will encourage women to do what they stood for in the first place, to go outside and to explore.