Who You Should Mute and Unfollow on Social Media

Maybe you've been debating whether or not to mute that one person for a while and just need a sign: well, this is your sign! You can blame it on me, it's okay.

Nobody ever taught us the process of cleaning up our feed so here are 5 steps I've designed to make it something you could do in your sleep.


  1. 1. Get Real With Yourself

    two phones lying flat and plugged in

    There is a lot of unsaid etiquettes that come with social media and sometimes it makes us think way too hard about limiting the space someone takes up in our feed. It's time to admit the ugly truth: social media plays a bigger role in our lives than we'd like it to. So, being picky about whose curated life you look at every day while putting off homework assignments isn't ridiculous. In fact, it's necessary.   

    Social media can affect how lonely we feel, how self-conscious we are about our appearance and even how we grieve. If you find yourself looking at someone's follower count and feeling a little weird about it, that doesn't mean you're superficial, it means you're human. So, yeah, filtering out which accounts you follow isn't petty, it's self-care. 

  2. 2. Start Easy and Build Up From There

    Deciding to mute or unfollow someone can be hard. You might have some people that you just haven't made your mind up about. Sure, every time you look at that one girl's profile you find yourself wanting a nose job but she was so nice that one time you posted a selfie. For the record, one comment with three heart-eye emojis isn't enough to keep someone on your daily feed. Don't worry, we'll come back to that one later.

    Don't start with people like this. Open your following tab and scroll down. Look for the people you started following when you were 13 or the friends of friends of friends. You know, the people you know you don't really care about and probably don't care about you either. If you know they'd be hurt to see you unfollowed them, just mute them. If you know they wouldn't care, unfollow them. If you don't know them well enough to even answer that question then yeah, unfollow. 

  3. 3. Decide What You Want Your Social Media Experience To Be

    Taili Samson

    Different people want different things, and I'm not going to pretend I know you (you know, like you pretend you know those friends of friends of friends). So this is the choose-your-own-adventure part of the list. Ask yourself exactly what kind of social media experience you want. Do you just want an easy, casual way to check up on friends? Or do you want a social media experience that goes beyond that?

    If you're hoping for just a mild decluttering of your daily feed, mute the people who's posts you only glance at for half a millisecond before scrolling past. There's no bad blood, you have nothing against them except that their 50th post about their #couplegoals is in the way of you seeing the posts your close friends are making. If there were more than 24 hours in a day and you had no bills to pay or classes to get to, you'd totally look at every post they put on your feed. You totally care that today's their monthly anniversary. Totally.

    If you're looking to make your social media experience one that's actively positive, the bar is a little higher. In order to stay unmuted, accounts are going to have to contribute something. Their contribution can be anything, so long as you actively enjoy it when you see them on your feed. Yep, that's right, we're employing the KonMari method to your social media following tab. That's how important I think you are.

    That means you're going to look at the accounts you're not sure about muting and ask yourself if they spark joy. I had the most success by visiting one of my favorite accounts first. Sure, not everyone can live up to your favorite influencer, but it's more about reminding yourself that following the right accounts can really make your day a little bit better. With this in mind, you can go about deciding which ones you'll mute. 

  4. 4. Tackle The Hard Part

    Remember how I said that one comment with three heart-eye emojis isn't enough to keep that girl unmuted? Yep, we're circling back to that now. Now that you've either weeded out your feed so it's prioritizing the people you have unmuted, or curated your feed to be full of accounts that brighten your day, it's time for the hard part. Reflecting on the accounts that don't make you feel so good.

    Let me start by saying that for this step, your only option is to mute the account. It's not someone's fault that they're impacting your self-esteem or mood. A lot of the time, the person who's making you consider that nose job would hate that they're affecting you that way. To double-check that an account is one you should mute, go back to their account and look through their posts. Do you find yourself playing the comparison game? Or is it maybe a situation where you find their content annoying and seeing their posts every day is making you start to resent them personally? If you feel some type of negative emotion (remember, these are accounts that you don't just feel 'meh' about) almost every time after you see one of their posts the mute function is needed.

    But the beauty of the mute function is that it's temporary. If you find yourself playing the comparison game with someone, mute them, diversify your feed and then maybe revisit in the future. Diversifying your feed is crucial. Sometimes we think one person or account is to blame for how we feel when we see their posts, but oftentimes the real culprit is the fact that we're seeing the same kind of thing over and over. Try identifying what exactly you're insecure about, then follow some new accounts with the intention of normalizing this aspect you're self-conscious about. When I tried this strategy, I found that I was way less sensitive to seeing thinner bodies on my feed once I'd made sure to incorporate some body-diverse accounts.

  5. 5. Keep It Up

    White smartphone with hearts

    Make your social media experience mindful by checking in with yourself every few months to make sure it's still something you're enjoying. Following these steps through once is great, but making the process a habit is way better.

You do probably spend too much time on social media but I'm not your Dad. I'm not going to shame you about it; I'm guilty, too. I will shame you for not muting accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, though.