Summer is my favorite time to reset and recharge. There’s plenty of time to rest and change things you aren’t loving about your life. This weekend after listening to my first episode of the Him & Her podcast, (hosted by The Skinny Confidential AKA Lauryn Evarts Bostick and her husband Michael Bostick) I was inspired by some of the ideas they brought up involving how they consume social media.
Something Lauryn said that really stood out to me in this particular episode is that she only allows herself to view five Instagram stories a day! Can you even imagine? (The amount of self-control!) How much more time in the day would I have if I stopped watching the Instagram stories of anyone I find remotely interesting? She even said she doesn’t scroll through her Twitter timeline!
This got me thinking. Although I have done a social media detox in the past where I go offline for a couple of weeks (which I highly recommend), I don’t want to do that this time. It’s summertime and I love seeing what my college friends and favorite bloggers are up to. I don’t want to go off of Instagram or Twitter right now but could benefit from Marie Kondo-ing my feeds so that I only see content from accounts I really care about.
After considering all of this, I sat down and spent about an hour listening to a podcast episode (can you see a pattern here?) and unfollowing a bunch of accounts on Instagram, as well as on Twitter! I’m reading this over again and it all sounds pretty drastic. This is not something to be done out of pettiness or to @ anyone. So let’s talk about this.
Why bother cleansing your timelines?
Well for one thing, by purging your social media timelines you’re saving your own time later on down the line. You’re ensuring that what appears on your timelines is what matters to you and serves you best.
Choosing to unfollow people you’re no longer connected to or accounts that no longer bring you joy can be a form of self-care. You only have so much time in a day. And if you’re like most people, you’re probably not going to log off of Instagram for the next month to give yourself a break from the nonstop stream of content.
By unfollowing accounts and making your timeline only what you care about, you make it right for you. What do you wanna see when you log on? I want to see my best friends (the ones I either see in real life or like to keep in touch with), my favorite bloggers, some accounts about my city, and even some accounts about positivity. This is my preference, and I encourage you to consider what your ideal social media timeline looks like.
I used to get somewhat offended when people I perceived to be close to me unfollowed me. Now I understand that a follow on social media really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. People follow and unfollow accounts every day, so an unfollow is likely not intended to be a personal attack. Often, this action is meant to be personal at all.
When you realize someone has unfollowed you, stop and consider possible reasons behind this action. Maybe they want to follow fewer accounts and are doing a social media purge of their own. Perhaps the two of you have lost touch over the years, and the pictures you post with your new friends (to them, complete strangers) are now irrelevant. On the other hand, you may unfollow someone for the reasons listed above, or simply because you find their posts annoying and don’t want to keep seeing them on your feed. (Okay, that last one’s a bit harsh, but it’s important to remember that it’s valid to cut out accounts that trigger negative, unhealthy emotions.)
So Now What?
I’m challenging (and encouraging!) you to set aside some time this week to do a social media purge of own. Although it may sound like a chore, this is an exercise to help yourself. The more accounts I unfollowed, the more cathartic the experience felt. With each account I unfollowed I felt one step closer to a more concise feed.
Allow me to remind you once again, you need to take care of you! And taking care of yourself is something which takes many different forms- sometimes even getting your social media under control.
One way I do this when I’m going down the list and choosing what accounts to unfollow, I sometimes look to see who is not following me back.
This is NOT out of pettiness or frustration.
I repeat this is not meant to be personal or dramatic. I find it helps me to see this sometimes because I’ve realized often most of these people and I either a) have not met in real life or b) have grown apart or not spoken in over a year.
I don’t always automatically unfollow people who have unfollowed me. That’s kind of uncool if you ask me. But when I look and realize someone who I have a mutual friend with, have never met, and doesn’t post more than about once every 3-6 months has unfollowed me, I may just unfollow them. If you don’t know someone IRL and don’t feel connected to them or their posts then you should not feel bad if you decide to unfollow!
When I'm going through this process I ask myself these three questions...
1. Why am I following them?
If I'm not actually friends with someone and I don't find their content really cute or enlightening or valuable, then this may be a sign it's time to unfollow!
2. Do I still keep in touch with them?
Sometimes social media apps can be a helpful way to stay connected to friends who live far away or people we only see a few times a year. However, if I find myself following people I am not actively trying to have a friendship or relationship with then I might choose to unfollow.
3. Do I want to keep up with their life and/or account?
This question is everything. I continue to follow the accounts of some people I don't know because I love their posts. I enjoy their content! Sometimes when people have really cool aesthetics or cute outfits I want to see that on my feed! But if I find myself not wanting to keep up with a certain account it is totally acceptable to unfollow.
With all this in mind, best of luck and happy scrolling!