Aperitivo Chat: I Broke Up With Instagram.

Breaking up with Instagram

So, what exactly is an aperitivo chat? It’s a chance to have an intimate heart to heart, the kind where you can bare your soul. It’s where we get deep about things that actually matter, like your heart, without fear of doing la brutta figura.

How is your heart? That’s how I wish we greeted each other, instead of the empty “how are you?” To be honest, Instagram was pinching my creativity and self expression, which was making me feel empty. My heart started to hurt. Anytime something makes you feel less than enough, it’s time to pull the plug to come back to yourself.

Before I get into WHY I want to chuck Instagram to the curb, let me make two things clear.

  1. Instagram is not all bad. I have made some wonderful connections on Instagram, and that’s a beautiful thing. I’ll be eternally grateful for Instagram for bringing me together with these people. And I trust that with or without Instagram, these true connections will still be sustained.
  2. I don’t know if this is a forever breakup. I might get back together with Instagram someday. But not today.

So, now the break up. Why?

Perhaps it’s not Instagram, it’s me. Isn’t that always the case?

It’s probably because I am in a bind career-wise at the moment. Yes, I have a job I actually enjoy quite a lot at my alma mater. Is it stable? No. Do I have benefits? No. Do I get paid enough? No. So I have found myself scrambling just to make it. Someday when I’m past this point I will tell you more.

This “not enoughness” has spilled over into other areas of my life. ESPECIALLY Instagram.

I found myself obsessed. All of the social media gurus have a “secret” to hacking the Instagram algorithm. Why were those things that worked for them not working for me? Why does so and so follow them and not me? Why did they follow/unfollow me? Why didn’t this picture get more likes? It’s been 20 minutes, WHY IS NOBODY LIKING MY PICTURE? Is it really that terrible?

I was consumed with figuring out how to get more likes and more followers. All while deep down, that feels wrong to me. Classic cognitive dissonance. I refuse to be fake and do things like comment on 90 of the top posts DAILY that I don’t actually care about just so people might notice me. (That advice actually came from Gary V (seriously, it’s in his video here). I respect and admire Gary immensely, but c’mon Gary, ain’t nobody got time to be a slave to the ‘gram! (Unless, perhaps, you want to be solely an Instagrammer, which I don’t. I want to be primarily a blogger and it’s just me doing everything by myself). He actually says that it’s a “good use of three hours a day” to go on a commenting spree (but only on the POPULAR photos). To me, that’s almost as bad as a bot liking & commenting on random pictures. The goal is the same: for people to notice you. These are the things you need to do (but that I refuse to do) to play the game. I just wanted to share what brought me joy on Instagram. And most of the time that’s some sort of uninstagrammable pasta. Couldn’t I just do that? I could, in theory. But the only thing that feels right in this moment is enjoying my pasta WITHOUT worrying about how to get the perfect Instagram shot and how many people will like it.

I had to let go of Instagram because I could never feel enough. I found myself unable to enjoy it any longer. Something had tipped, and I could no longer cherish those beautiful connections because I was too obsessed with those who didn’t care (even though I didn’t want to feel that way). I even tried a one day hiatus, but that wasn’t enough. In fact, it fanned the flames. And as I’ve found with sugar, sometimes you just need to go cold turkey and cut it out completely so there’s no temptation. It had reached a point where I couldn’t just sit back and say, “oh well, I don’t care about numbers.” The more you try not to want it, the more you do. So, I deleted the Instagram app off my phone (not my account), and now I no longer care about numbers. I’m all about words.

But really, I made a fatal flaw with Instagram. I had my original account, and then I made one for the blog (with the idea that Alberto & I would both post recipes to this account). However, it was impossible to keep up with one account, let alone two (who can post a PERFECT picture and respond to ALL comments every day? Tell me who you are so I can learn your secrets!). I ended up posting mainly travel related pictures on my main account because those were the pictures I had handy, and that turned out to be a BIG mistake. (Especially because I don’t consider myself a travel blogger at all). When I decided to just post from my main account, I combined everything that I love: languages, food & wine. And I believe that may have been part of the problem with my declining interaction. I think it’s rare for people to be uber passionate about all three of those at once. All of the successful accounts that I see focus on ONE category. So maybe I confused people with my content. Or maybe because I’m not in Italy now, I’m boring. Who knows.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit all this….but I think we need more vulnerability in the world. Without vulnerability, we lack humanity…and that’s when things get scary.

So what now?

I am going to focus on things that I’ve been putting on the back burner:

  • Put more time into the blog. I have been trying to post consistently, but I’ve been neglecting it because of my obsession with Instagram.
  • Make local face to face connections. I’ve been wanting to start a local Italian meet up, and connect with local wineries & Italian restaurants.
  • Create my dream language course that I’ve been wanting to make for years.
  • Focus attention on my English/Italian exchange Facebook group and actually improve my Italian.
  • FEEL FUCKING FABULOUS and not worry about making everything “instagrammable.”

So friends, thank you for reading this. Has Instagram ever made you feel bad too? Or do you have some sort of magical power that allows you to give zero fucks? (Excuse my French).

So now I want to ask you the very same question: How is your heart? Whether you actually want to tell me or not, I hope that you eliminate things that make you feel bad. Just let it go. 

 

 

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Ciao, I'm Kelly!

Welcome to my adventures in learning Italian, often while cooking authentic Italian recipes and wine tasting! I love discovering the traditional regional cuisine of Italy and trying to recreate those dishes when I'm back home in the US. I'm also on my way to becoming an Italian citizen through jure sanguinis (by ancestry).

WSET Level 2 Certified Wine Blogger

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Join me for a virtual "aperitivo chat" to get exclusive updates on my Italian progress, dual citizenship journey, plus food & wine adventures in the Bel Paese and beyond!

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Joey Boring
Joey Boring
1 year ago

What a great way to start new relationships after a breakup. “Come sta il tuo cuore!” What a great way to greet someone. I’m excited about the new direction you’re taking. I expect great things from you. Way to go Kelly!!

Christina Conte
Christina Conte
1 year ago

I TOTALLY GET IT! I mean, TOTALLY. I just wrote, “Nooooo” on your IG when I saw your message, but it was simply selfish because I knew I’d miss seeing you there. Cynthia and I talk everyday about what is wrong with us that we go up by 14 and drop 20. It’s beyond frustrating because we know there’s so many accounts out there that are totally filled with fake followers and likes. Good for you doing what you’re doing. If only a big percentage of people did that, it would really make a change in our society.

Thauna
1 year ago

I will miss you on Instagram but I completely understand!!! I get frustrated with the perfection too and I just want to share the things I love even if they are not 100% “on brand.” And I hate the perfectly curated feeds. And the unfollows…but I still love the gram. Even though I’m so far from doing it perfectly. I totally get it. But I will seriously miss you. 😊🤗

daniele foti-cuzzola

Kelly, we will definitely miss you on Instagram, it’s been wonderful keeping up to date with what you’ve been working on and always keeping it real. I’ve enjoyed seeing your photos and loved your commentary on Italy, la dolce vita, languages, food etc. However if you couldn’t find joy out if then I am glad you stopped and wish you all the best with your endeavours. Looking forward to seeing your updates here! A presto

Amy
Amy
1 year ago

This was beautifully written. I agree the Gram can be be a numbers game and it can feel awfully isolating and frustrating. Dropping something is never easy, but hopefully this continues to open more doors for you!

Marzia
Marzia
1 year ago

Awwww Kelly, I feel your pain! I will really miss your authencity on instagram but I will follow your blog so we can stay connect! Baci e abbracci

cookingandcarafes
1 year ago

Oh this makes me sad Instagram has made you feel like this! I mean I love Instagram and I agree with what you’re saying, unless it’s your full time job it’s not sustainable to post every day and comment a million times and you shouldn’t have to. People will follow you because they like your content, so it depends what your goal is. If you want 10k followers fast then you’ll have to go through the motions, if you want to share photos of what’s going on with people who are genuinely interested then forget about the likes, the follows… Read more »

Ana Liliana Marandescu
Ana Liliana Marandescu
1 year ago

Hey Kelly, just saw your story about quitting IG, so came here to know more about it. I definitely agree with you about the whole engagement issue, I am having it also since this year I have been very inconsistent in posting. In my opinion, consistency is a huge part of the game, you have to interract almost non stop to make yourself seen and discovered and it’s nothing wrong with it, in the end IG counts million of users who are struggling to achieve some result. Second of all, IG has become a business and advertisement app which has… Read more »

Questa Dolce Vita (@questadolcevita)

*standing ovation* I’m with you whatever you do!!! And giving zero fucks is my fav motto.

Angela Williams
Angela Williams
1 year ago

I tried doing the Instagram thing. 1 post a day, perfect amount of hashtags, a theme, comments and likes on other peoples photos etc….. Holy guocamole…. NOT my thing at all. I enjoyed making content but became uninspired when I began to assume that people didn’t care once I came back to Australia… My likes became lower, I started losing followers and with it, my interest. I have to say, the freedom that comes with NOT posting is wonderful. I still love Instagram for other people’s content and only post when feeling inspired but TOTALLY understand and can relate to… Read more »

Kamila Tekin (@kamilatekin)

Hi Kelly, I’m so sorry that this happened. I know that many people try to follow the tips of the big gurus like Gary Vee. I think that’s good for some inspiration but in the end it’s better to create your own way, your own path, your own method. What works for the one may not work for someone else. I don’t think you failed at doing what you were doing. Your posts are good but what I noticed from my experience and from conversations with one of my followers who isn’t into Instagram or YouTube but is just following… Read more »

Carmela
1 year ago

Amazing and honest post Kelly! Just so you know, I support you and your goals!

fkasara
1 year ago

I can understand what you mean, Kelly! You know I used to do series like “100 days in Italy” with daily posts, but then I stopped because it was a lot of work and my audience didn’t grow that much. I was expecting changes of algorithm by Instagram (social media are a business after all, we were too naive to think they were all about us and our content), but what made me mad was the fact that even former followers couldn’t find my content anymore! That makes no sense! If I am still on IG is just because among… Read more »

Angela Santareli
1 year ago

I will definitely miss you on IG (even though with my new job commitments I haven’t been able to be as engaged on social media as I was in the past). I am sure you will figure out what your balance is. In the meantime I have signed up for emails so I don’t miss your blog posts! xoxo

Jennifer
Jennifer
1 year ago

Kelly, I applaud your decision! It illustrates a desire for sincerity and a quality that is truly genuine. It represents a step away from a race to superficial validation. Some of social media tools focus on “instant” which seems so fleeting and shallow. I wonder if some of this was at the core of your feelings and the struggle that you wrestled with. It is brave to step away, even temporarily, from something that has the potential to lead to some version of success. However, I sense that you are searching for an alternative definition that will likely bring rewards… Read more »

Sofie
Sofie
1 year ago

Wow. You nailed everything! I agree about Instagram. It’s exhausting and we’re never THAT 100% okay in real life as we want to portray in our feed. Thanks for being real. Somebody had to say it!

Sandy
Sandy
1 year ago

My heart fell this morning when I read your post that said you were breaking up with Instagram. I am a recent follower and totally enjoyed the Italian Lesson stories…they were very helpful to me, as it’s been quite awhile that I’ve been dabbling in learning Italian with not much success. You were giving me hope that I might be able to actually have a conversational chat with Italians when I visit Italy.
I looked for your blog just now and subscribed.

Please feel better about yourself…and soon.

Ziza
1 year ago

Brava to you! This is such a real struggle, and something that’s taken me a long time to come to terms with. Still learning, of course, but following the creativity where you feel it and drawing the boundaries you need to is so, so important. Best of luck to you — and I hope to stay in touch! If you are ever in LA (or ideally Bassano someday), let me know! xo, Ziza

FoodieWineLover - Gina (Martino) Zarcadoolas

I have so many things on my mind dear Kelly, but I think, this feeling you are having is much deeper than Instagram! You need to find a purpose in life, and live it up to the fullest. I think, in my opinion, you are doing quite well on Instagram. You are so fun and vibrant, and your posts and IG stories always catch my attention. I stopped worrying about the “numbers” long ago. It’s more important to have interactions which you have (had) so, I must admit, I was a bit shocked to see you go cold turkey. I… Read more »

FoodieWineLover - Gina (Martino) Zarcadoolas
Reply to  Kelly

I miss you Kelly, but, please know, that I am here in the background if you ever need my support. Much love your way<3

FoodieWineLover - Gina (Martino) Zarcadoolas
Reply to  Kelly

It will be very soon Kelly…<3

passion fruit, paws and peonies

I can feel this way about all of the social media platforms I work on. It’s as if you have to be a guru on each one to get any ‘success’ from it. Twitter is killing me at the moment as they want an original tweet each time – so no resending any! I’m so pleased you have voiced this – because it can feel like you are battling alone sometimes xx

Alice V
1 year ago

OMG, yes!!! I almost got ride of my insta too and then BryonyAnnie said she liked looking at my pics. I had a little over 100 followers and no one new coming in. So I kept it because she said she liked it. Funny huh? I changed my profile to read: “Follow for Follow only” so that people will know that I will totally unfollow them if they try to play that insta-game! I still unfollow the unfollowers as fast as I can give them the middle finger. But I learned that in insta, hashtags are king and if you… Read more »

Rachel
Rachel
1 year ago

Kelly, you are an amazing woman! I fully agree with the instagram trap, never quite understood the follow/unfollow thingy… I look forward to your awesome updates on this blogging platform. Sometimes, it is good to take a break from things that no longer serve you or bring joy. I am proud of you and will have to check out your youtube channel. I too am quite over instagram. I prefer to live life without constantly updating social media. I find it hardwork! Ahahaha… I started to learn more italian in this last week and have decided to read more…so far… Read more »

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