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My Resolution To Repair My Relationship With Social Media

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

I went years without posting on social media. Thinking about what other people could think of me consumed me. Pictures I liked or was proud of never got shared because, hypothetically, what if that one girl from middle school who I never talked to thought it was weird? Or, I’d stare at the picture long enough that I’d find some imperfection in my body.

The Resolution

Since I hadn’t posted on social media since I was a freshman in high school, my friends began joking that I needed to make posting on Instagram my New Year’s resolution. My friends didn’t point out my lack of posting in a critical way, rather a “Hey, since we don’t get to see each other often now that we’re in college and you decided to move to the other side of the country, I’d love to see what you’re up to.” I mentioned my idea of monthly posts as a New Year’s resolution to enough people that by the time January rolled around I couldn’t back out. The rules I gave myself to follow for the year were pretty simple:

1. Unfollow/remove as a follower anyone that made social media a negative space for me. (Yes, this includes the random girl from middle school.)

2. Once a month I had to post on Instagram.

3. The picture(s) had to be from the previous month. (This could be anything: a picture of myself, my dogs, a sunset, a black screen… literally anything.)

4. Turn off the like count on all posts.

For me, the goal of the resolution was to challenge myself to document my life better, let go of how I thought people would perceive my life or appearance, and to keep friends and family who I don’t see on a regular basis updated on my life.

The Start

As soon as January 2023 hit I realized I really had set myself up for quite the challenge. My year started with a family trip to Hawaii. As an only child, there’s no siblings to take pictures of me on vacation, that responsibility defaults to my parents — humbling. Once I explained to my parents that I wanted them to take pictures for memories rather than an aspiring influencer career, they were on board. My need for pictures quickly turned into an inside joke, they’d take a picture (a few genuine candids even) and then jokingly ask, “Is that going to make the photo dump?” Over the course of the year, this joke became a reoccurrence in my life from both friends and family. 

January through July 2023 posts went up more or less without a hitch. They began to become very @Alisha inspired photo dumps with some posed pictures, some random pictures from my camera roll, and some just sheer chaos. Friends who knew about the resolution began to make witty comments, others were surprised by my social media appearance (shoutout to my friend who commented “I didn’t have Abby posting on social media on my 2023 Bingo board.”) But somehow throughout the month I acquired enough content to create a post that lived up to my standards, although I’d be lying if I said there weren’t moments where I debated posting over an ‘imperfection’ in my body or wondering what others would think about how I was living my life.

Struggle Months

August through October truly challenged every “rule” I had made up in my head about social media. In August, I spent most of the month working, so when August 31 rolled around I had exactly zero pictures of myself. My only content I had of myself is a video where I jokingly gave my parents an OOTD of my first day of school. The rest of the month is pictures of sunsets, horses, and one of my coloring book. Posting this photo dump without a picture of me as the cover photo felt wildly uncomfortable, and after seeing an Instagram Reel that night of a girl talking about how “she wishes she could have the confidence of the girlies who post Instagram pictures of the landscape,” I was feeling anything but confident.

Instagram Post
Original photo by Abby Boyer

Admittedly, I gave up on the resolution in September 2023. I got too uncomfortable with my August post and deleted it. When I went to compile my September post, again, found that I did not have any “viable” cover photos. October 1st rolled around and I got multiple texts from friends asking where my September post was, and realized I couldn’t give up. “Septober,” my combination of “September” and “October,” brought a new challenge as when I got to October 31, I realized the only pictures I had from the previous two months were pictures of me horseback riding and a mirror selfie: two things I previously would have never posted. I’ve always been hyper aware of people’s negative perception of me as a “horse girl” and, per articles portraying social media in a negative light, mirror selfies were equated with narcissism. Nevertheless, only with an adequate amount of good peer pressure, the post went up.

Back on Track

November and December 2023 posts went up, giving similar vibes to January through July of some pictures of myself that I’ve deemed social media worthy, and a few others that I’ve taken in my day-to-day life. Then when January 2024 rolled around I decided to continue posting. The posts serve as a digital journal for me where I’m able to go back and see what I did over the course of the year.

My Recap of the year

Instagram Feed
Original photo by Abby Boyer

My resolution to post on Instagram every month served as a reminder to should use social media how I want, not how society wants me to. Prior to my resolution, I had naïvely convinced myself that my relationship with social media was healthy in order to justify my use of it. While it might not be the solution for everyone, rather than deleting the app, I embraced it. In some twisted way forcing myself to post monthly is healing that relationship. Posting different parts of my life proved to me that Instagram does not just have to showcase the idyllic, it can show the reality. There’s no doubt that Instagram still is, and will always be, a highlight reel.  But my monthly posts are my corner of the internet where I can connect with friends and look back on my life.

Abby is a junior at the University of Connecticut majoring in American Studies and English with a concentration in anti-racism and social justice. Abby enjoys writing about music, sports, and her personal experiences. On campus, she is the co-captain of the equestrian team and a mentor for undecided students. Abby also works as a campus tour guide for visiting high school students. In her free time, Abby enjoys going for walks at sunset, listening to music - especially Taylor Swift, and watching dating shows with friends.