Earlier this month, I re-downloaded Instagram to upload a video of my daughter. I soon regretted it.
After a few days, I was addicted again. I caught myself twitching for instant gratification, opening the app and scrolling through my feed whenever a free moment arose—just like I used to. I mean, what’s the harm in looking at just a few new photos, anyway?
Then I noticed a new “feature.” Apparently, as you scroll, Instagram will inform you when “you’re all caught up.” So I found myself scrolling even more, because now I had a goal: get caught up!
It wasn’t until this morning, when I deleted the app again, that I realized the absurdity of this notion. The Internet is functionally infinite, and it continues to expand. On Instagram alone, nearly 100,000,000 new photos are uploaded every day, so it’s impossible to “catch up.”
Same goes for YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, and the rest of the World Wide Web. No matter how hard we try, we’ll never reach the end of the Internet. So it’s best to put down our phones, shut our laptops, and embrace the glow of the sun—not the glow of our screens.
The only way to get caught up on the Web is to avoid getting caught up in its web. Only then can we return to our devices and use them, rather than them using us.