Nowadays, social media has more power and impact on our culture than we realize, and it goes further than just funny phrases and videos we quote and send to our friends. While scrolling through apps like Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook, we are subconsciously instilling in our brains what is and is not acceptable by societal standards. They’re telling us what to buy, how to dress, how to eat, exercise, and essentially how to live. While these platforms have brought connection and inspiration to our lives, it has also generated a culture of overconsumption and materialism. Lately, users have caught on and a new trend has emerged called deinfluencing, which is encouraging people to be more mindful of their purchases instead.
The constant advertisements through social media aim to make you feel like you are missing out on life-altering products that’ll make you look or feel like your favorite influencers. Social media personalities have been sharing their honest thoughts on these products that popular influencers (who were compensated to endorse said products) had been raving about and urging their followers to buy. To keep up with all the trends that are constantly changing, people look up to influencers for ways to feel adequate in a world where unrealistic expectations are put online for so many to see. These people are showcasing extravagant vacations, houses, and designer jewelry, which only results in the viewer feeling more inadequate, rather than inspired. Now, I’m not declaring a war on influencers, because sometimes I even enjoy their content and can find inspiration and entertainment while scrolling. The goal here is to create more mindfulness and awareness of the fact that we should not take these people’s word verbatim; most likely they’re benefiting financially by selling you these products, because after all…. it’s a business deal. While your favorite influencers benefit from the culture of overconsumption and impulsive buying, the average viewer/consumer is left with financial stress and a cluttered life.
Deinfluencing is a conscious choice to unfollow the trends and detach from the consumerist culture perpetuated by social media. It’s about taking control of our own choices and opting for a simpler, more intentional way of living. In the following paragraph, we’ll introduce some guidelines and tips on how to make this change in a way that doesn’t totally ruin the fun, because shopping and trends can be fun while being self-serving at the same time.
Focusing on mindful consumption is to reflect on how this item that you’re considering purchasing is going to impact your life, and if it’s going to make it better in a broader capacity. Ask yourself if it aligns with your priorities and your goals, or is it just going to be a momentary satisfaction that will not benefit you in the long run. When buying pieces for your wardrobe, opt for quality over quantity. Good and versatile pieces that will last you a lifetime are a great investment of your money. Meanwhile, microtrends that will be over before you get to wear that piece twice are generally not worth it. You’ll also be thankful when your closet has space for you to browse through and get creative while styling your looks. Less clutter also means that you’ll feel clearer-minded, and contrary to what most people think, you will end up using fewer pieces to create more outfits. Say goodbye to canceling plans because “you don’t have anything to wear”. Since purchases will be more intentional, now you will get to enjoy your money elsewhere. Whether this be for traveling, investments, education, or savings, your life will be richer than if you were splurging on impulsive purchases. Redirect intention and focus on community as well, this can be online with people that align with your values or lifestyle, and provide insight or inspiration that will serve you towards your goals. Community is also found around you if you take the time to look. There are so many clubs and groups of people searching for like-minded individuals to connect with, for you, it can also mean spending time with your loved ones. At any capacity in which you find connection, I’m sure you’ll find it more gratifying than the fleeting joy from materialistic things.
Deinfluencing is not about turning your back on social media or consumerism in its entirety, it’s about becoming a more conscious consumer. Purchase only what aligns with your lifestyle and things you resonate with. I am not exhorting you to live an extremist lifestyle, but encouraging you to find a balance between finding inspiration and connection through social media, while not falling victim to its treacherous ways.