One of the habits I track is my daily use of Instagram. My current target is to spend less than 10 minutes on it each day. I am considering dropping that number down to 5 minutes soon.

So why not get rid of Instagram altogether? It’s easy to waste time on it. It’s optimized to be addicting. Quitting altogether would take away the loops that make my subconscious want to stay engaged.

I tried this last year and the results surprised me. It was not difficult to quit. I deleted the app from my phone and went a few months without it. There were some positives, such as fewer urges to grab my phone and more free time. The surprising negative was how life felt a little more lonely.

All of my friendships extend into the digital spectrum. The amount varies - some are almost completely digital, while others are only a small amount. Since Instagram is the primary social network for my demographic, quitting was alienating. It was not extreme, but I did feel a bit out of touch with my friends.

You could argue that we should be seeing each other more in person, but the economics are a lot more challenging. Digital interactions can be an intermittent moment. Scheduling an in-person interaction will need at least 20 minutes for coffee.

Thinking about digital interactions as extensions of relationships, I want to stay connected in moderation. Instagram can be a valuable tool for extending your social reach, but it is a slippery slope. It is optimized to hook your subconscious to increase eyeball time and ad revenue.

I choose to accept this tool in my life, but it’s a constant effort to moderate it to the extent of its usefulness. With my habit tracker, I have proven that I can maintain a proper balance, so, for now, I will keep Instagram.