Cleaning Out my Follow List on Instagram for More Conscious Consumption

Do you guys ever find yourself just mindlessly swiping, swiping, swiping through Instagram? Or Facebook, or Twitter?

This is exactly what I noticed myself doing the last couple weeks. There was just so much content in front of me that it was all blurring and I wasn't truly reading or consuming any of it, even the good stuff.

When I started my journey to more conscious consumption, social media came up OF COURSE, but I decided not to focus on it right away. We all spend so much of our lives on social media, and while I don't think I'm as bad as some people, I do spend a fair amount of time on these silly little apps.

So when I decided to start changing some of the social media habits, Instagram seemed like an obvious first choice to me. It's my favorite social media platform, and I've actually been spending LESS time on it lately than I'd like to, but that time is not productive. That time feels wasted because quite a bit of what I'm scrolling through does not interest me.

Once I finally considered this, I realized that my biggest issue was that I was following SO MANY PEOPLE. My feed was all over the place. It became harder and harder to see the people that I really DID want to see. Instead, I was scrolling past a thousand posts that I didn't care about at all.

And so I began UNFOLLOWING ALL THE PEOPLE.

When I opened Instagram to take a look, I was following 1,219 people. When I finished, I was down to 524.

Over half of the profiles I was following didn't interest me!

How does this affect my consumption, you ask? Well, if I was spending 10 minutes scrolling through Instagram, I think it's safe to say that more than 5 of those minutes are wasted scrolling past people I don't care about. That's a savings of at least 5 minutes to get the same amount of content that I truly care about!

The first part of my unfollowing process was figuring out WHO to unfollow. And so I came up with a list of profiles that I was getting rid of:

  • People who only post pics of their kids

  • Artists whose subjects just don't interest me

  • People who only post selfies

  • People I don't even know

  • People who post things I'm just not interested in

  • People who post primarily in industries or hobbies that I used to be involved in

  • Athletes that I saw compete in the Olympics once

  • People I used to be friends with

  • People I was only following so I could get some gossip about the drama in their lives

  • Accounts that are overly political (in any direction)

  • People who post primarily negative things

  • People whose values that directly go against my own

  • Spammers and scammers

  • Stores, shops, and businesses who sell things I don't actually need, and I will probably never buy from

  • Entrepreneurs who only sell, sell, sell, but never actually share anything

  • Family that I'm more likely to see on FB

  • Anyone who hasn't posted in 6+ months

  • Celebrities that I was following only because they're famous

I would say that the most profiles came from one category: people who post primarily in industries or hobbies that I used to be involved in. Specifically, I no longer want to see as many trucks on my feed (though I did choose to leave anyone in that industry that I actually created a friendship with), and I cut a ton of graphic designers that I used to follow very carefully. As my career has pivoted, I no longer need (or want) to see as many designers. Plus, most designers don't actually post their work, but rather their lives--which I don't care about.

But while I was unfollowing all of these people and profiles, I also created a list of the types of profiles I wanted to continue following:

Maybe it's silly to make a list of who I do want to follow, or maybe it's sort of like having a list of values. The people I'm following reflect my values, goals, and dreams. By seeing more positivity in my feed, I think I'll be more creative, have better ideas, and just feel happier overall.

I encourage all of you to take a close look at who you're following, and to really consider WHY you're following them. With a few unfollow clicks, you may find yourself more mindfully consuming Instagram posts in no time.