Putting Instagram to sleep.

Yann was brushing the snow off our car when a passerby stopped to wish him good luck with backing the car out of its spot. When Yann responded, “I’m not worried,” the man caught Yann’s Quebecois accent, and changed his mind, “You’ll be fine! You’ll be just fine!”

Yann is a parking legend, remember?

I was not there for the interaction, so this is based on a true story. I’m blogging for two now! I’ve suggested that Yann start a blog, but he insisted that people should not make their presence felt on the internet if they have nothing unique to add. However, I have successfully convinced a friend–who I first got to know through the early 2000s blogging platform, LiveJournal–to resurrect her blog.

Zoée has made her thoughts and feelings public again: visit her on babyfang.ca. I think she meets Yann’s criteria for having a blog, as she’s had a memoir-worthy life thus far. Zoée was one of the three roommates I’ve had who I first met through their blog, which gives you an idea of how social blogging platforms used to be! Now, it doesn’t provide the instant gratification most social media users are chasing.

Based on the average view count of my least popular posts, I have about forty regular readers, most of whom do it in secret (Why? You think I’m going to laugh at you for reading my blog?). My Instagram is far more popular, and I do considerably more interacting there. When someone likes a post of mine on Instagram, it means they paid 0.5 seconds of attention to me. In-between my witty caption-laden posts and Zoée’s pictures of her rooftop lake, Instagram suggests stuff for you to buy.

Instagram is convinced that I need a new mattress. It doesn’t matter that our Ikea mattress is not even a year old: I must replace it with an Endy.

Advertising is a necessity for these platforms to exist, but I was getting sick of endless mattress ads. So, I blocked Endy.

Instagram: “Ok, no more Endy mattresses for you. But, how about a Douglas?”

I blocked this other peddler of sleep time pads, Douglas, too.

Instagram: “We won’t show you ads for Endy or Douglas again, but here’s an ad for a retailer that sells both Endy and Douglas.”

Fuck. I smashed that block button.

Then… Oh, you think I’m exaggerating, don’t you?

On December 30th:

Screenshot of an Instagram ad for Brunswick Beds. A white lady reads a card in bed while her adoring husband and two children watch her read. The time stamp says 8:59pm.

Fortunately, I don’t have a family who crowds my bed first thing in the morning to pressure me into opening a card they got for me.

December 31st:

An Instagram ad for Vern Magazine. The ad shows three differen boxes containing rolled-up mattresses from the brands Casper, Endy, and Douglas. The time stamp is 8:42am.

Those fuckers at Endy and Douglas found a loophole! What the devil, Vern Magazine, people are barely interested in my blog, why would they want to read an article on mattresses?

January 1st:

An instagram ad for Juno mattresses. A bare mattress is shown on a basic wooden bedframe. A grassy plant appears in a pot on the night stand next to the bed. The time stamp reads 10:58am.

Wow, the market for mattresses is robust. Everybody sleeps, I guess?

I do appreciate a good mattress: I am sitting on my HAUGSVÄR mattress as I write this. Again, Instagram, I already have a mattress.

Juno got blocked too. Whatever. I didn’t like the movie either.

January 3rd:

Instagram ad for Brunswick Beds. The still shows the ad fading in to a man wearing jeans and a white t-shirt with his back to the camera. In the background, the backs of two long-haired children are visible.

It looks like I had forgotten to block Brunswick Beds! Kudos to Instagram for managing to hold back on the mattress adverts for one day.

Here’s a tip from someone with a critical eye: dressing the entire family in white gives your ads an artificial feel. All-white bedding is too hotel-y for my taste.

January 3rd. Again.:

An Instagram ad for Casper. After the Casper logo, reads

I don’t know if I’m abnormal or what, but I do not have a favourite box: I love all my boxes equally. It appears that Instagram felt remorse for not having shown me a mattress ad on January 2nd and doubled up for January 3rd.

January 4th-now: nothing.

I did it! I managed to block all mattress-related ads on Instagram! All these mattresses probably come from the same factory anyway!

It did seem like there was an uptick in sponsored posts during Boxing Week. My feed has returned to mostly photos of people I know in Vancouver and Victoria losing their shit over the snow. Each of them has captured a fraction of my attention. For the posts that made my eyes linger for 0.5 seconds longer, I have awarded a heart emoji.

2009 was when I first deactivated my Facebook account. I had broken up with someone who, I had found out via Facebook, was cheating on me. I figured this out when I read a post somebody had left on his wall that said something like, “It was great seeing you and meeting your new lady last night,” when I had spent the previous night at home alone. Seconds later, the comment vanished, making it obvious what was going on.

Even though those who we knew mutually probably didn’t realize there was drama brewing, I felt shameful for having allowed a social media site to toy with my emotions.

When I reactivated Facebook in 2016, I found that people were no longer making personal posts, and were instead bombarding each other’s feeds with memes. Only the most softhearted had the gall to share an earnest comic about mental health struggles, suggesting that they were hurting inside. Or something.

Mostly, it was variations of Nusret Gökçe sprinkling.

A man in dark sunglasses and wearing a white low-cut t-shirt sprinkles salt from his index finger and thumb pinched together. He is known as the meme

I was salty: the content my friends had curated on Facebook wasn’t good enough for me to forgive the barrage of ads, so I re-deactivated my Facebook account.

In 2009, it was uncommon to meet someone who was not on Facebook. Now, I’m no longer a radical for not being among the 2.45 billion who have a Facebook account.

Instagram, with its obsessive drive to get me to buy a mattress online, is owned by Facebook. It reminds me of this fact every time I open Instagram, which is far too many times in one day. You can see evidence of this in the above screenshots: 8:59pm, 8:42am, 10:58am, 8:41am, and 8:43am.

I will be deactivating my Instagram soon, meaning that this blog will be your only source for Laura-related content. This may not be permanent, but it’s the first step towards using the internet in more meaningful ways, such as reading this article on an overdressed Kate Middleton making milkshakes.

A smiling Kate Middleton is seen with her hands under a pair of glass lids. To her right is her husband, Prince William. They're both dressed formally, while polo shirt-wearing plebs stand in the background.

I know this article is going to get far more hits than any of my posts ever have, which, if I’m honest, hurts. I’m no more special than those red polo shirt and cap-wearing plebs standing behind the Duchess of Cambridge.

Can anybody recommend blogs for me to follow? Nothing mattress-related, please.

18 thoughts on “Putting Instagram to sleep.

  1. I miss the golden age of blogs! Livejournal and spinoffs were so key. Most of the blogs that I used to read have turned into reviews of subscription boxes filled with junk that they “didn’t know they wanted” which sounds to me like stuff they don’t need in their life.

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    1. Yes! Companies have taken over our personal social media accounts.

      My old job begged their employees to use a hashtag they had created, so I did. But, because I didn’t use it exactly the way they had intended, I got into so much shit for my post even though I said nothing offensive.

      I had to choose between my job or removing the post. I chose the latter, but I obviously have no intention of using any of my personal social media accounts to promote my workplace–for free!!!–ever again.

      Let me know when you get your own blog!

      Like

  2. Not one but TWO mentions of me in this post!?! I’m honoured.

    I think of livejournal often – I miss it a lot. I really hope one day we find a similar blog platform. I also think a part of it is that people aren’t as hungry to share their lives with everyone anymore. The internet culture has changed – the shorter & faster, the better. Not always of course but… it certainly seems that way. Also not only that – our ability to comment to each other has decreased greatly. Back then – we all wanted to root each other on and contribute to the discussion. Nowadays it’s hard enough to even just press the “like” button. A part of it though is that I think we all are exhausted in one way or another and probably a bit depressed. Ha.

    I have no blog recommendations but share yours with me! My reader page is a sad sight.

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    1. I wanted to link to your rooftop lake too, but realized your Insta is friends-only.

      People do still want to share their lives, they just want it to seem like they have non-stop adventures. If people genuinely didn’t want to share, they wouldn’t bother with social media altogether.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t fault you for wanting to spend your time in more meaningful ways! For tweaking the annoying Instagram ad algo, have you tried letting the app know that the ads you are seeing are “not relevant” rather than blocking the advertiser’s account? I think the way it works is that your profile, based on largely your age, gender, location, and past interacted-with content, has a list of AdWords that the algorithm has built up. I would not be surprised if yours had “mattresses” and “sleep” high up on the list. Try clicking on the “…” button on those ads selecting “not relevant”. It may help. But that won’t stop the ads from coming, just tweaks the content and products.
    It also may be tied into your Facebook account (which is why it’s a good idea to have two separate emails). A neat trick if you have a Gmail account is adding dots to random places of your email when you sign up for accounts. To Google, this.email@gmail.com is the same as t.h.i.s.email@gmail.com is the same as thisemail@gmail.com (dots don’t matter). So it kind of helps to separate your accounts this way with Facebook and IG (and other large silicon valley companies) in order to reduce their ability to track you from app to app.
    Farewell, Instagram pal. I will miss your chonky kitty content.

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    1. Thanks for the tips! My FacePlant has been re-deactivated for about 3 years now, although they probably gathered data from my WhatsCrapp too.

      Chonky Kitty Kontent will now be exclusive to squaremeat.com!

      Like

  4. I miss the days of blogging. I used to have a Livejournal and wrote about mundane things. Then university happened and I stopped writing. And sadly years of blogging got deleted when I let my account laspe.

    I’ve thought about picking up blogging again but I dont know who still reads blogs or if there is a community out there.

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    1. You sure those posts are gone? LiveJournal is still there. I have several friends-only posts under mine, as my blog was on the now domain parked lkvy.com. I used LiveJournal primarily to follow my friends’ (and internet strangers’) posts.

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  5. I like all of this. I am also concerned about missing my weekly dose of Enfoiré cuteness though! Can we be WhatsApp friends?????? 😀

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  6. I personally think everyone has something unique to share since we are all different people & that anyone can have a blog! I love that you got your old friend back into it, I’ll def check her blog out at a later date– thanks for sharing! & that’s amazing how close you guys got back in the old blogging days. I have met two fellow bloggers through this platform, too, I just love it. ♡

    After I bought a mattress topper off Amazon once, I kept getting those freakin’ bed ads, too. How does that even make sense? Shouldn’t they know I *just purchased one since they’re so nosy?! Lol can’t believe how much they bombarded you feed! That’s insane. I only use Instagram to look at new food places that open up around here & I scroll through the memes on Facebook for a laugh once in awhile & only have my family as friends on there. Mostly, WordPress is my only online presence, too.

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  7. I don’t have a blog (although I used to have an LJ). But I can recommend that you follow The Bloggess. She’s freaking hilarious. I think you will like her sense of humor.

    If you already follow her, then never mind.

    Like

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