I wrote a post on using social media for the positive quite a while back. And I still think social media is a really valuable tool that connects people all over the world. However, over the last few weeks, I found myself pulling away from Instagram in particular because my timeline or news feed was just disheartening me.
Every time I opened the app, I saw happy faces, beautiful bodies, successful models and so much more. And there’s nothing wrong with those people sharing their photos and videos, everyone has free will. But I found that those images going into my brain were only bringing me down. I know Instagram isn’t reality, but seeing the amazing jaw dropping highlights of some lives was just making me feel like my own wasn’t special.
I also noticed I was seeing a lot of stuff I wasn’t really that interested in. I like a little bit of fashion, photography, interiors and a mix of lifestyle but my feed didn’t reflect that. I followed a bunch of celebrities I didn’t even like or respect, and soon realised I need to change my follow list.
One of the reasons for the change was that my attitude toward Instagram has completely changed. I love sharing and creating on the app but I lost interest and once I posted something I just closed it, rather than spent time interacting with more people and their work.
So I decided to start again. I decided to unfollow everyone I didn’t like (stayed following mutual bloggers) and tried all over again. I followed accounts with interesting content, inspiring photos and realistic lives. I know that bloggers have to spice things up for the gram every now and then but I don’t want to see it every day.
I started to follow the accounts that are interesting to me, not just random fashion accounts I felt like I needed to follow because I’m a blogger and it will look cooler if I followed them. I unfollowed brands that don’t have the same values as me, and started following the ones that don’t just post photos of the same model over and over.
Most importantly, I started following people who look like me. Black girls, curvy girls, tall girls. People that are rocking outfits and looking fabulous but also look like someone I can relate to.
Already there’s such a difference in my attitude to Instagram and my overall mood. I guess this highlights the importance of representation. Rather than follow accounts I feel obliged to keep up with, I’m following whatever I like and it’s made me feel so much better. I look forward to opening Instagram and it’s become a place of inspiration again, rather than a dark hole of self-doubt and hatred.
Social media is powerful, and it has the power to completely transform the way you think about others and yourself. That’s why it’s so important to keep on top of what you follow and why, and change something if you don’t like it.
I’m taking more steps in life to build my self-confidence and be sure of the person I am. Following supermodels with phenomenal figures who I can’t relate to doesn’t really do much for me. It’s wonderful for them, but my feed is personal.
It’s not wrong to unfollow someone if they make you feel down, or anxious or self-conscious. It is okay to unfollow an account because you’re no longer interested or their content doesn’t sit right with you.
My thoughts going into Instagram in the future are to focus on the reason I use it (to connect, to share, to learn, to stalk and to be inspired) and realise that anything that doesn’t fit into that reason doesn’t really need to be on my timeline.