Ever since Snapchat ruined my life by ‘updating’ their app and Facebook sold off my privacy, I have been spending a lot more time on Instagram and Twitter. Twitter is my go to for on-demand interaction and good laughs with Mindy Kailing, but I have to admit that Instagram is where it’s at. In fact, Instagram is my new favorite source of food porn, workout ideas, and decor inspiration. I find myself opening their app all the time and digging myself into a deep hole of “stalking.”
While this may not seem like the most productive use of my time, I find that Instagram has allowed me to connect with people on social media more than any other platform I have used. I actually have people who I interact with all the time with whom I have never met. I like their photos and they like mine, we DM here and there and I have even saved a bunch of content from various fitness people which I will whip out for some extra motivation at the gym.
The more time I spend on Instagram the more I have noticed a shift in my perception of both myself and others. I guess the term ‘influencer’ is appropriate, huh? While I am not the type of person to let social media dictate my life or opinion of myself in any way, I will admit that I have felt the effects of scrolling through someone’s perfectly filtered life and comparing it to that of my own. Can I decipher reality from a strongly edited piece of content? Yes. However, that does not take away the natural emotion of envy when I scroll through a blogger’s 10th trip to the Maldives. The other day I decided to go through the hundreds of people I follow and make a conscious assessment of how I felt when looking at the person’s feed. In taking a more mindful approach, I realized there were people I followed on Instagram who I don’t even like (when I say like I mean it in the sense that their content does nothing for me. Most people I follow I do not know personally and cannot hold a genuine opinion on.) Why was I following them? I also found a number of people who, when paging through their feed, made me feel less than about myself and my life. There were the beauty gurus who oozed perfection in a way that made me sure I would never be pretty enough. The travel accounts that flashed high end resorts in my face which guarenteed me that my level of traveling was barely mediocre. Oh, and don’t forget the lavish lives of people who seems to rolling in money, cars, clothes, and everything else they can buy, but who don’t seem to actually be employed in any way. Those people just make me question where I went so wrong in life. As I paged through these accounts I realized that I was subjecting myself to content that I thought I enjoyed, but really only created a self-doubt about who I am and the way I live.
This is what started the purge. A two-hour event that removed over 200 pages from my ‘Following’ tab. I can’t lie; at first I felt a little guilty about unfollowing some of the accounts. Was I going to miss something awesome that they might post? I decided it didn’t matter. I went through every account (and I follow a lot of them) and if I felt shitty in any way while browsing their content, I immediately unfollowed them. I have to admit guys, it felt pretty damn amazing when I was done! Gone were the days of immersing myself into the flawless life of others. It was time to start creating a positive and creative social media feed; one that would motivate me to be the best me I could.
I want to be sure that I address the fact that majority of the people I ended up unfollowing do not intentionally post content that makes people feel like shit. In fact, some of those people have loyal followers who get a lot from their feeds. It really is just a matter perception and what each on of us takes from the flow of content that we have in front of us. Do I still follow travel accounts that make me want to live a life of vacation status? Yes! Do I keep up with women in fitness who have bodies I will forever envy? Yup! The difference is I have found a nice balance of those travel accounts that share some magical places which I promise myself I will get to. Those fitness girls…they share some incredible education on both food and exercise that help me in my own fitness journey. Not all ‘perfect’ accounts are bad for you. In fact, there is a good chance that one account which turns me off, is a source of motivation for you. That’s the great thing about social media; there is something for everyone. Just make sure that the ones for you, are actually nice to you!