What Is It to Be on Instagram Every Day?

Shan Shen
4 min readMar 4, 2018
Instagram life - post, browse and shop

Instagram is addictive. I check my Instagram at least three times a day.

In the morning, as soon as I opened my eyes, I blindly reached out to grab my phone. Time check first. Still early. I scanned through the latest emails and messages I missed from last night. I hopped on Instagram. Fifteen minutes later, after dropping the phone twice on my face, I got up. It’s a typical morning wakeup call for me.

After the lunch break, food coma kicked in. I got my second coffee in the day. No one is back to their desk yet. I rechecked my Instagram wondering if any of my friends posted their work-day lunch.

12:30 at midnight. I forced myself to close the YouTube video I was watching, and I doubled checked the wake-up clock set for the second day. I should sleep now. My thumb slipped to Instagram again. A few new pictures and video stories got posted by my friends who are traveling. That’s great! I tapped like for all of them, and then I finally passed out.

My one day on Instagram

The snippet above is just my daily routine on Instagram. There are many reasons I like checking Instagram all the time:

  • All you need to do is scrolling. Scrolling makes it easy to browse imagery content on Instagram infinitely. It is so sweet to keep scrolling without the need to tap on anything.
  • View friends’ posts first before subscription content. It is the main reason that I’m more active on Instagram than on Facebook. I care more about what my friends are doing up to the moment than internet news and buzz feeds. What they eat and cook every day, and where they are traveling to give me guidance on what I can try next.
  • Auto-played video content without any sound. I like watching TasteMade recipe videos on Instagram when I’m working out on an elliptical. I watch cute cat videos because they make me grin. I follow makeup artists to see them test latest products since I don’t have a perfect skin condition to try new things. Those videos are super short and well-edited. They successfully keep me trapped in the fractional moments of my life. When I get bored on train commutes or get stuck in the waiting line to use cafe bathrooms, I’m on Instagram.

I didn’t realize how addicted I am to Instagram until one day I checked my cellular data usage after I paid off my phone bill.

I watched a lot of videos on Instagram

I was shocked. Then I checked my system settings. Instagram is one of the most used apps on my phone as well.

Okay. I use Instagram too much in my life. I asked myself, what is it that keeps bringing me back to Instagram? Those damn pretty photos and videos that pictured a perfect lifestyle I desire.

My favorite clothing brand just posted the spring collection. I can remix this striped T-shirt with many of my outfits. Tap, view, and purchase. It’s less than five minutes.

Those recipes are interesting. I don’t have the cooking tools yet. I’ll bookmark them and find the tools later in Target.

I save recipes on Instagram

They are my daily monologues when I browse my Instagram. To me, the images and videos matter not only because they’re pretty or funny, but they reveal the potentials of the lifestyle I’m hoping to have one day in my future. I appreciate the location tags along with the food posts my friends added, and I check brand tags on the Youtubers’ posts I’m following. The posts motivate me to work hard and afford the beautiful things in my bookmarks.

However, I wonder, are those people I follow on Instagram real? If each of their posts inherently leads to buying, is buying representing the ultimate value of sharing moments of our life? Does an Instagram lifestyle make me happy?

As I write down the questions, I’m sipping on a cup of latte for $3.45 in a cafe. I get to stay here for free Wi-Fi, AC, and background music for the rest of my day. And I’m happy at the moment while writing something. It’s not Instagramable because it’s less likely to get likes for a coffee post. But it makes me feel good.

I guess my closing thought would become:

Not everything matters can be Instagrammed, and not everything on Instagram matters.

Leave me a comment if you have ideas to share! 🙂

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Shan Shen

Principal product designer at Custom Ink. I lead digital experiences in tech to empower communities and lifelong relationships. shanshenux.com