I Deleted All My Instagram Photos and Restarted & Here's What Happened

At the end of the year, I spent a lot of time reflecting, as most people do. But, what I found myself doing was going through my Instagram to look at how much I had changed over the years. I wasn’t “on trend” with everyone else because I still had over 500+ photos all the way back to middle school, so there was a lot to feel nostalgic about. I found that I wasn’t necessarily reflecting on the memories though, but with how I looked and how much my body had changed over time.

Social media is, out of all things, a crutch that we all lean on - to stay up to date with one another, to find inspiration and to compare ourselves to one another. For a million reasons it’s great; however, if you’re trying to stay present yet relevant, it can be difficult finding a balance of having that perfect aesthetic, caption, ratio of followers, etc. and actually being present in real life.

I was sitting in my kitchen, planning to leave for my trip to Mexico when a revelation hit me - I should archive all of my Instagram photos and start completely fresh. So many of us are always saying new year, new me, so why not have a new Instagram to go with it? If I really wanted to make some changes this year, I may as well change the perception of me that people see online too.

So I did exactly that, and here’s what I found:

1. A Strange Amount of People Noticed When I Hit my Restart

I was honestly shook at the amount of people that texted me asking what happened to my Instagram. One of my friends texted me “Tf is this nonsense” and others asked if I had been hacked. It made me realize how many people actually creeped on my page too. It brought more attention to my page, which was the exact opposite of what I expected to happen. It felt weirdly validating to know so many people checked on my posts. 

2. I Lost Followers

While it did bring me more attention, the counterpart to that was that people who went to my page and found no photos tended to click the unfollow button. As much as I hate to admit it, I do care about having a strong following. But I knew that the facelift that I was giving my page, would eventually make for me having more followers. Au Revoir old followers, bonjour to the new ones to come. 

3. I was More Present

I had deleted my photos a week before my vacation and vowed to not post again until after the new year. I found myself leaving my phone for, sometimes an entire day, up in the room while I laid on the beach. I wasn’t worried about being in the perfect instagrammable pose for the optimal picture or anything like that. I was the most present that I had been all year, just enjoying the time I had to relax in a new place with my best friends.

4. I had Time to Contemplate my Next Move

I spent a solid month deciding what my new Instagram should look like once I finally started to post. I creeped on some of my favorite pages, to get inspiration, but ultimately decided that I couldn’t copy someone else's because I live a totally different life than them.

What I ended up choosing to do was a 3 photo aesthetic series. If a big event happens or I have a memorable weekend, I edit 3 photos with a similar theme and post them throughout the day. I usually post one in the morning, one around 5 p.m. and the last one around midnight, so people see it in the morning.

Instead of spending forever trying to figure out the wittiest caption, I now just caption my photos with part 1-part 3. It also keeps people waiting to see each part, so more people will visit my page.

5. Perception Isn't Always Everything 

When I was thinking about the types of photos I wanted to start posting, I began to overthink about how I want people to perceive me. Do I want them to think I travel a lot, write a lot or go out a lot? What image of myself do I want to give off? Then I realized that what people think of me online isn't everything and the content that I put out there should just accurately represent how I feel during that time period. In the coming posts, I want to try and be more transparent with my life and not overanalyze the types of photos that I put out there. 

This also made me think about how I do not need to post everything. I started to notice that most of the time we, myself included, are always looking at life through our phones and are not necessarily focused on what we are actually doing. Every moment doesn't have to be captured, and if it is, it doesn't always need to be shared through Instagram either. 

5. Tools I Use to Keep the Aesthetic

I still am focusing on being more present, but at time I also slightly obsess over how well my 3 photos will fit together. Some apps that help me do that are:

  • Facetune 2 (to whiten my backgrounds)

  • Canva (to create graphics for highlights)

  • Vsco (because their new filters are magic)

  • Pinterest (for quotes of encouragement and inspiration) 

So far, starting over has been very refreshing. It's a first step in completing a list of resolutions for the year that all focus on revamping and empowering myself. Deleting my photos reaped a lot of benefits that I wasn't expecting and I would recommend it for anyone needing a little bit of a restart. 

Image Credit: GIF1, GIF2