Spring Cleaning: A Social Media Declutter

I don’t like to think that I’m addicted to social media. But, when I was challenged by fellow HCBU gals to declutter my social media, I realized just how attached to it I really am.

My social media use is pretty much restricted to just Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter, and for this article, I really focused on Instagram. According to my phone statistics Instagram is one of my most used apps and I spend a lot, a lot of time on it; more than I’d care to admit. Just as some people use Facebook to stay updated, I scroll through my Insta feed to see what my friends are doing and to see what makeup and clothing launches are happening soon. So, when I set out to declutter my Instagram account, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

Unfollowing

First thing I tackled was the lengthy list of who I was following. I started this challenge by following approximately 1,037 or so accounts. That’s a heckin’ lot of accounts. Some of them I didn’t even like following anymore, but I was just too lazy to go through and unfollow them. Pathetic, I know.

So, one-day last week I sat down and scrolled, hitting unfollow, and scrolling some more. Once I finished and reloaded the page, I was now following 850 accounts. I was shocked!

When I was unfollowing people, I asked myself whether I really liked the content they were posting and if I would miss it if I didn’t have it. For the majority of the accounts, I didn’t care, and that’s when I knew to hit that unfollow button.

Several days later, I did another comb through of my “following” and deleted even more. I’m now only following 802 accounts, and I couldn’t be more excited about it!

 

Archiving

I also decided that I would edit the actual content on my Instagram and archive a bunch of posts. I chose pictures that I didn’t think were relevant anymore, or that didn’t fit with my current vibe. Basically, I archived most of those photos I posted in seventh grade when I was obsessed with Iron Man. I’m still obsessed, but not everyone needs to know that.

Screen Time

Another step I took in order to spring clean my social media was to decrease my usage overall. I was so unaware of how much time I was spending on social apps like Insta, Snap, and Facebook, so I used the screen time feature on my phone to set a limit on those applications. I set the time for 1 hour and 15 minutes to spend on social media. I thought that was reasonable, but little did I know that even that would seem like too little. After spending so much time on those apps, limiting myself was really difficult in the beginning. However, I eventually got used to it and accepted that after a certain point (usually around 2-3 pm) that I would be done checking my social media for the day.

The Effects

After about a week of less screen time and a lower ‘following’ count, I feel a lot better about my social media usage. Now, when I scroll through my feed, it’s not an endless stream of posts. After about a minute, I see the notification that I’m “all caught up;” a phrase I never saw before I unfollowed over 200 people. I also had quite a bit of FOMO, because I felt that I wasn’t in the know about what all my friends were up to. But, the biggest thing that I realized, was that those Insta stories don’t really matter. If I want to know what my closest friends are up to, I don’t need a post on social media; I can just shoot them a text and ask them. I discovered how reliant we are on social media for information, and how it decreases our actual connections. Sending someone a text, or calling them, is so much more meaningful than just watching their story.

Decluttering my social media wasn’t easy at first, and it took a lot of getting used to, but I learned a lot about myself, and about how social apps like Instagram affect our daily lives. I’d encourage all of you to challenge yourself, as I did, and unfollow, archive, and decrease your social media usage to see what happens. You might find that you are more productive and have deeper connections with those around you, you never know!

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