If you are a frequent user of Instagram and you aren't regularly unfollowing accounts, you need to. Instagram is a visual social media platform and its meteoric rise rivaled Facebook which eventually led to Facebook purchasing Instagram. For years, Instagram stayed static with the chronological feed of photos which was a lot of its appeal - it was the anti-Facebook. Today, it has all but swallowed Snapchat whole "adopting" stories. Instagram has it's own generation of social media influencers. Because it is such a visual platform, we consume perfectly curated snapshots of others lives.
Your feed on Instagram is of your own creation but over time, you'll follow accounts that are unnecessary or even damaging to your mental health. A recent survey ranked Instagram worst for young people's health. Social media may set unrealistic expectations and contribute to feelings of inadequacy. Because Instagram is so visual, with personal photos at the forefront, Instagram can easily affect you and support the idea that you are unable to measure up. Trimming the fat - getting rid of unnecessary accounts will help. You should strive to keep only those accounts that are inspiring and important to you. Cleansing your Instagram feed should be a regular component of social media detox.
I adopted the practice of routinely cleansing my Instagram feed a few years ago upon the suggestion of a fellow Instagrammer. It was an arbitrary number, but he suggested keeping those I follow to under 500. So when I see that number start to creep up again, I start my cleanse. Just before writing this post, I followed 528. After, I was down to 462. Since the number of people that you follow will vary greatly, I would suggest that every time you drop accounts, shoot for dropping 10-20% of your followers. Or, just pick a number to shoot for as a goal.
Ready to get started? Here are some suggestions.
- According to Instagram, 80% of users follow a business. There's that thing on Instagram where you just have to like a photo and follow an account for a chance to win. I won't lie, I do this all the time. The easiest way to trim the fat is to start with the businesses, companies or social media influencers that you don't need to see in your regular feed. Now that Instagram regularly inserts ads, why contribute even more to the clutter by following a dozen businesses?
- Let's get back to social media influencers or bloggers. Sometimes I follow them for their recipes, crafts or style. Sometimes I follow them to see the exotic places they've traveled. But once I start feeling negatively when I see those perfect photos, I know it's time to cut the cord and say goodbye. There is no need for that in my feed.
- Now, what about friends or even family that makes your face go twisty when you see their feed? You know, the one who constantly posts photos of her rock hard abs that she worked hard to get. Or the one who makes yourself ask, who is taking this picture of you acting naturally and perfectly styled with your very clean and well-dressed children? If the account does not bring you joy, stop following it. If they are friends or family, you can most likely catch them on Facebook, or you can just check in on their account once in a while, leave a friendly comment and a heart.
- Another easy way to purge accounts is to unfollow people you don't know personally. If you can't remember how or why you started following them in the first place, it's probably time to say goodbye.
- A super easy way to drop accounts is to unfollow those who haven't posted in 6 months. Obviously, there is discretion in this one but there are a lot of your friends who started on Instagram and you clicked follow. For some, Instagram isn't their thing and they stopped posting or don't even use the app anymore.
Don't feel obligated to follow any account even if they follow you! Leave a comment about how you felt after clearing out your Instagram feed. My guess is that you'll be glad you did it.
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