Over the past few years, social media has taken over everything. From Instagram to Snapchat, there isn’t a platform that hasn’t been taken over by money-making schemers using these channels to get people to buy into materialistic lifestyles and dream of lives that aren’t as real as they appear on screen. Somehow, these platforms just don’t seem real. That’s probably because they aren’t.
While I do enjoy a scroll through Instagram and like to post imagery that I feel expresses a feeling or represents a moment in time, I often find that my feed is full of over-edited, unauthentic content that, while I imagine it isn’t designed to do so, makes me feel flat or comes across as stale.
Maybe it’s their morals, over-saturation of gloating posts (whether they mean it to come across like that or not), or that they make you feel like you’re not trying hard enough. When you hit that stage of not wanting to see their posts, or not liking their ideas, it’s okay to unfollow. Unfollowing is something that I do all the time, and it’s surprisingly cleansing. Whether they don’t post that much, or I can’t agree with the morals they display in their captions or I simply just don’t like their content, I am always happily unfollowing accounts, and my feeds are much better for it.
Another issue I find people concerning themselves with is the likes. I find it strange that people consume hours of their time with creating the perfect shot, #hashtagging everything they can think of, crafting the perfect caption and working out the prime time to post to rake in as many likes as possible. Does it really matter what a faceless user on Instagram thinks of your post? No. Is your worth as a human dependent on how many likes and comments your selfie gets? Absolutely not.
I used to get caught up in that cycle; if I hit 50 likes on a selfie I decided I was “officially pretty” that day. Social media is an amazing tool – I use it to document where I went and when I went there – but you can’t get plan your life around getting brunch at the most Instagrammable spot, or hiking a mountain just to tweet to say you reached the summit. Doing these things should be the reward in themselves, not how many people liked your picture.
If you are going to dedicate time to working on your social media profiles (beyond a retweet here and a post there), then use those platforms to say something. Create a story. Share your opinions. Engage in the world and inform people of what’s going on around you and your perspective on it. People will want to hear what you have to say. Whether it’s politics, life, travel or beauty, expressing an interest in a cause that matters to you on your social media accounts will open you up to ideas that you never thought would be possible.
My social media motto for this year is: if it doesn’t say something and it doesn’t spark joy, don’t post it. Say something with meaning.
So, unfollow any profile that doesn’t spark inspiration or joy, forget about the likes and post things that matter to you. Social media should never be the end of the line. It’s just pictures on a screen, 160-character posts, or a handful of likes. It doesn’t make you who you are.
Cover Image: The Continental Club, Austin, TX. I took it because I thought it would look good on Instagram.