How it’s like being a Gen Z with no social media

I first set my foot into the whole other world of social media at age 13. It all began with a YouTuber, Bethany Mota, that my friends and I were fangirling over.

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Photo Credits YouTuber Bethany Mota

We loved her aesthetically pleasing videos, fun and bright energy and her content about party ideas, make-up, healthy food and everything in between.

We also subscribed to other YouTubers like Tess Christine. I first watched her videos when she was 23 and now she’s 30, already married to her then-boyfriend and expecting a baby! (wow time passes…)

Her video in 2014
Her video in 2021

By the time I was 13, Instagram had been around for 3 years and it was hard to find my peers who weren’t already actively using Instagram. Fascinated by the idea of joining a platform through which celebrities like Bethany Mota shared their personal lives, photos and video clips, I first created an Instagram account at age 14- and after nearly six years of using it, stopped using it a few weeks ago.

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Photo Credits. Of course, can’t miss out on Zoella!

It’s honestly been a fun six years with Instagram. My feed, and then my Insta story (there used to be an era long ago pre-Insta story) contained snippets of my graduation days, fun outings with friends and family, warm home-cooked food by my parents and new countries I visited over holidays.

It was especially great getting in touch with friends from elementary school and middle school I’ve lost contact with through Instagram’s helpful “suggestions” function.

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on

As cliche as this may sound, like how many others who went on “Insta detox” or deleted Insta like I did, I began to feel like Instagram was occupying too much of a space in my life. It had become almost an obligation, a “have-to” feeling to post the moments of going out with friends and eating out with family- all of these happy, golden moments- on social media.

It had started with just having fun posting photos and exchanging comments with friends on Insta, and grown into a habit that was hard to shake off. Even though I wasn’t one to frequently post on Insta, I realized that I was already under some sort of a compulsion to post, on any small or big occasion.

Photo by jasmin chew on

I was spending time uploading photos- for whom? Simply for my Insta followers who were no longer even part of my life, whom I haven’t seen for long, or were simply anonymous acquaintances?

The first one or two days without Instagram felt odd, and somewhat empty. It was like a big part of what had been my routine for six years was suddenly gone. I was concerned that I was no longer a member of this unseen but large community of Insta users that all of my friends were part of.

Photo by Helena Lopes on

But a few weeks without Instagram and as expected, I’m doing fine. Instead of scrolling through my Instagram feed I scroll through the news more frequently. I’m out of the Insta community but my relationships with all my family and friends who actually matter to me, are, as expected, doing all good.

I’m not on any social media, just using Telegram and Whatsapp for uni, family and friends. It honestly still feels weird being a soon-to-be 21 year old without Instagram, but I’m liking this Insta-less state.

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