There is a divine beauty in letting things go.. Detachment is a healthy process that I feel we must implement in our lives in order to free ourselves from the things (feelings, tasks, or habits) that drain us of our vitality. For me, that task happened to be Instagram. If you haven’t already noticed, I cleared out my ENTIRE Instagram over the weekend. And let me just start by saying that it felt amazing!!
For months I’ve tossed the idea of deleting my Instagram back and forth, and in the process, I became less and less active there. A few times a week turned into once a month, and once a month turned into once every two months.
I had completely lost interest in Instagram.
Of all the platforms I use (i’m talkin’ to you pinterest and tumblr!), Instagram felt more like a pretentious, competitive app, and less of a place to be inspired. It seems most are willing to do just about anything these days (for the gram), and every day I’m followed just to be unfollowed by people trying to build their “social media empire”. Can we all agree that this trendy obsession with ingenuine popularity on Instagram is a bit daft?
And, let’s be honest, Instagram’s algorithm stunt is a major turn off. Basically, you’ve no other choice than to flow with however they think they can best serve you (read: how they can make more $ from you). I can understand the technology of it within the search feature, but on my feed? No thank you. I prefer to see things as they are posted, in real time. Not what the technology thinks I want to see, 5 days later.
So over the last few months, I decided to take the time I was once investing into Instagram, and spend it elsewhere. Somewhere that inspired me to be more creative. Inspired me to be a better version of myself. Somewhere that made me feel good.
That somewhere was Pinterest, and boy has it made a difference. I went from a few thousand monthly views to 450,000+ monthly views (and growing). But most importantly, I was seeing more real engagement.. It has connected me with some of the most amazing people + I feel more creatively inspired and motivated than ever.
Clearly, there are more productive ways I could spend my time than on Instagram. But, after evaluating my Instagram account, I found some changes that I could make to (possibly) improve my experience with the app. So, I’ve decided to give it a second chance. If it works out and Instagram becomes a place of inspiration and enjoyment, I’ll stick around. If I lose interest again, I’ll more than likely (unapologetically) pull the plug.
I’m going to take a wild guess and say that I’m not the only one that feels this way. Right? Surely there is someone else out there feeling the same. So I want to share with you why I think I lost interest and what I’m doing to refresh my interest. And maybe (i hope) this post will inspire someone out there in some kind of way.. Or maybe it’s just destined to be a rant : )
IF IT DOESN’T INSPIRE YOU, REMOVE IT.
As a creative, even the simplest things can cause a creative block, and I’ve learned that the quickest way to work through a block is to get to the root of the issue and eliminate it. I’ve also learned that true freedom and expression is on the other side of fear, and on the other side of attachment. So, because I felt that cleansing my Instagram would remove the block, and I feared the thought of doing so, at the same time, I knew that it was essential for me to grow and evolve as a creative.
I realized that I disliked almost all of my grid. Of course, I must have liked what I was publishing at the time, otherwise I wouldn’t have published it (obviously). However, looking back, those posts no longer served a purpose. They didn’t align with my bigger picture, and they no longer inspired me. As humans, our taste and style evolve. It happens. We can either refresh our visual world to follow suit, or we can learn to coexist with it. We all have different perspectives, different goals, and different needs. Whatever works best for you is what you should do. But I knew that I needed a visual refresh.
So, I removed all of my photos. Every, single, photo.
One of the benefits of deleting all of my photos from Instagram is that it gave me an invaluable opportunity to step back and evaluate each photo. Which ones do I connect with? Which ones no longer serve a purpose? And most importantly, why?
Your why is where it’s at.
Tip: If you decide to do this, don’t forget to back up your photos! There are a number of tools out there, but I used an app called iDrive. I created an account, clicked “social data backup” > “instagram backup”. It asked me to log in using my Instagram account, and then proceeded to back up every photo. Once complete, they emailed me a link to download all my photos as a zip file. Easy peasy.
And remember, you can always repost certain photos if you feel they align with your refresh (and inspire you). Moving forward I plan to re-upload some old photos, but only the ones that are truly special and follow suit.
REFRESH YOUR FOLLOWING
This one right here is where the magic really starts to happen. It made a huge difference + made my feed SO much prettier to look at. I was following hundreds of brands and celebrities for the sake of following them. So, I cleansed myself of about 400 accounts, only keeping family, friends, clients, and people that I feel are genuine and create beautiful content that actually interests me.
Tip: If you’re going to unfollow a bunch of accounts, I highly recommend starting out by simply scrolling your feed. So basically what I did was just scroll down my feed and if I saw an image that completely turned me off, made me cringe, or didn’t inspire, I just unfollowed them. No second guessing my instinct here. I refreshed my feed and did that quite a few times and then I went to my following, found any remaining accounts that didn’t make me feel good, and removed them too.
I can say with confidence that unfollowing that many accounts allowed my feed to BREATHE. My feed is already more inspirational and enjoyable, and I’m starting to see more recent posts than 5 day old posts. I think this is one of those obvious things that you don’t really think about until you think about it.. (did that even make sense?)
Don’t publish because you feel that you need to in order to “keep up”. Publish to inspire yourself. Publish to inspire others. Publish to connect with like-minded people. Publish with purpose and intention.
AND REMEMBER THAT INSTAGRAM IS NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL
Always remember, Instagram really isn’t that big of a deal. At the end of the day, it’s just an app.. A little tiny thumbnail on your iPhone. It’s really not the end of the world if you go a few days or (gasp) a few weeks without sharing a photo on Instagram! Your account will more than likely still be there, and so will your people. And if someone unfollows you because you didn’t post for a few weeks, well, they’re not your people!
That said, here’s to an exciting (and freeing) refresh! If you’d like to share any other ways to improve your experience with Instagram, be sure to leave a comment below! : )