If you’re a twenty-something living and breathing in the year 2019, you likely have at least one (or every) social media account known to humankind. We’re all on social these days, from Facebook to Instagram and everything in between. We all tweet, post, share, and comment pretty much everything we do. If you say you don’t, you’re either on a social media cleanse or you’re a terrible liar. Let’s not pretend like social media is not part of your daily lives, because unless you live under a rock, it absolutely is.
I don’t know about you, but I definitely used to fall into the category of social media users who took their pages way too seriously. On Instagram in particular, I used to heavily filter all of my photos, obsess over likes, analyze my number of followers, and spend far too long planning out my feed to give it a cohesive, “on brand” aesthetic.
What was I even obsessing over? I ask myself this quite often these days. I’m not a business owner and I have no “personal brand” to speak of. Also, I am not trying to sell anything, be an influencer, or get thousands of followers for any reason. I used to put way too much energy and time into caring about things like numbers of likes, followers, comments, and retweets. You name it, I worried about it, because social media used to be overly important to me.
What changed? Over a long period of time I began to realize social media wasn’t fun for me anymore. All of the time I spent worrying about being funny or having a cool aesthetic just seemed like a great big waste to me. I wasn’t gaining a crazy following, I wasn’t getting paid to post, and I wasn’t even enjoying it anymore. So, what was the point?
3 Reasons I Decided To Take Social Media Less Seriously (And How)
In short, I decided to quit making such a big deal over my social media usage and instead decided to bring it back to the basics. Social media is about connection and community. Here are a few reasons why I made the change and how I did it:
1. I was obsessed with aesthetic, so I started over.
Like I mentioned earlier, my Instagram feed used to be overly important to me. I would spend hours, sometimes days, obsessing over which photos to post and when so that my page had a cohesive look and feel.
I would take the time to crop photos into perfect white frames and edit a photo to the point that it was overly filtered. It was such a waste of time as I realized posting one highly edited image did not get me anymore likes than a candid did.
So what did I do about it? I deleted all of my pictures and gave myself a blank page.
I decided to focus on posting images that make me happy, without giving a second glance to how my page looks aesthetically. Sure, I do still use filters, but I don’t over-edit anymore. I’ve found that I am much happier with the look and feel of my Instagram now that I am far less obsessive about having an aesthetic.
2. I felt down on myself when looking at other accounts, so I purged who I follow.
Social media can be such a competitive space these days. I’m not sure if it stems from all of the influencers and celebrities out there, but it seems like everyone’s pages are dumped with content like luxurious vacations in Bora Bora and buying Louis Vuitton handbags. Who can even afford these lifestyles?
When I realized just how ridden my feed was with photos and captions like these, I realized I had a problem. I was spending my time scrolling through people’s feeds of unrealistic lifestyles.
Hey, I travel! I love to travel and I’ve definitely been to some cool places. But I have a full-time job and a budget, so it’s not like you’ll see me vacationing in Thailand anytime soon. Not to mention, I can’t afford high end cars, mansions, or what have you. So why follow accounts that promoted these things?
I decided to unfollow so many accounts that made me feel like I didn’t have a luxurious life. And since then? I can honestly say I feel so grateful for all of the things I do have: a fiancé I love, a house I own, my dogs, family, friends, and the ability to travel when my budget allows me to.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with unfollowing accounts that give you unrealistic expectations, whether it’s a certain lifestyle or a certain standard of beauty. Goodbye toxic accounts! Hello accounts that make me feel good about myself!
3. I lost sight of what social media is for, so I reminded myself of its roots.
Social media is for connection and community. Sure, brands will use these platforms to advertise their goods and services to make sales; heck, my job is in digital marketing! I understand these platforms have evolved a great deal since their inception, but I can honestly say I lost sight of why I was even on these channels.
Focusing so much on pretty photos and witty posts is a poor use of my social media consumption. Instead, I want to share the highlights in my life and keep in touch with people. I decided to bring it back to connection and focus on the people I engage with online.
Yes, I follow brands, celebrities, and authors I admire. You won’t see me unfollowing my favorite companies by any means. And I am happy to see the ads they spend money on! But for everything else, I decided to remind myself to use social media for what it’s for: bringing people together. I want to interact with people online by liking their milestone announcements and sharing funny memes. I want it to be more about connection, and less about popularity.
Social media is an integral part of our lives in this digital era we live in.
We all participate in social on some level and it’s probably safe to assume that some (or all) of these challenges affect us in our social media consumption. I got to the point where I decided enough was enough. I love social media and I think it is a fantastic tool in connecting people, but I do see how we can get addicted to it.
As often as I use different platforms in my career and for personal use, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly that comes with being on social. I do feel proud of myself for realizing the negativity and pride myself on making changes to be happier in this space. All in all, I will continue to use social media, but I do see myself using it very differently moving forward.
Are you trying to make changes with the way you use social? Share your stories in the comments!