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.
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!
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.
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.
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.