The average person spends nearly two hours per day on social media—which equates to a whopping 5 years of our lives. Yep, pretty crazy when you put it that way!
Considering how much time we all spend on social media, it’s hardly surprising that what we’re seeing—or not seeing—on our feeds can have a significant impact on our mental health and self-esteem. We’ve all had those times when we finally feel like we’re over that guy who ghosted us, only to stumble across a pic of him and his new girlfriend on Instagram. Or, we’re feeling bangin’ in our new outfit, and then we come across a heavily photoshopped image of an Instagram model and are left feeling a little deflated.
The peeps over at Instagram HQ are acutely aware of the massive influence of their platform—and the fact that this impact isn’t always positive when it comes to the mental health of young women. It’s for this reason that they’ve teamed up with not-for-profit organisation The Butterfly Foundation and fashion retailer Sportsgirl for the Own Your Feed initiative. Launched this month to mark Love Your Body week, the campaign is all about reclaiming your social media feed to make it a positive, inspiring and safe space.
That said, as empowering as detoxing your social media feeds is, we know it isn’t always easy. Nobody wants to deal with that awkward conversation when we run into that old work colleague/school friend/annoying second cousin who posts way too cat videos and they ask “Hey, why did you unfriend me?”
But fear not, we’ve got you covered. Read on for 4 handy tips for detoxing your feed without offending anyone.
1. Use the ‘IRL’ rule
These days, many of the people who we follow on social media aren’t actually our friends, but are influencers, bloggers and other public figures. This can be an awesome way to keep up with what your fave celebs and artists are up to, but it can also result in you following a bunch of random people who make you feel a little ‘bleh’ when you scroll through your Instagram feed. It can also mean that you don’t actually ever see what your real mates are up to on social media (that bloody algorithm!). If this sounds like you, it may be time to do a cull.
We love plus size model and body positivity activist Jessica Vanderlay’s approach: “If I notice spending time online is leading me to feel less positive and full of toxic FOMO, I know it might be time for a shake up and some accounts have gotta get the flick. I’ll ask myself, ‘Does it serve me to see what this person is putting out in the world?’ If I don’t get a clear ‘YASSSS QUEEN!’ then, soz but they’re cut. I’d encourage everyone to do it!”
It’s safe to say that if you don’t actually know the people in real life (and they have over 10,000 followers) they are not going to notice if you unfollow them on social media. So go ahead and get culling, girl.
2. Use the mute feature
Things get a little trickier when it comes to unfollowing or unfriending people you know IRL. You know those people who haven’t actually done anything wrong, but they just annoy you or make you feel bad about yourself? You don’t actually have to go full savage by deleting them on social media. Instagram recently introduced a ‘mute’ feature to prevent people from showing up on your feed, without you actually having them to unfollow them. Similarly, on Facebook you can use the ‘unfollow’ or ‘take a break’ features to opt out of their posts, while they’re none-the-wiser.
3. Start fresh
What often happens to business owners and aspiring influencers is that in an effort to grow their brand, they end up following thousands of people they don’t know, like or care about. The result is a messy social media feed that is far from inspiring. That said, it can really hurt the credibility of your brand if you start mass unfollowing people. In these scenarios, it can be worth starting a new, private account that is only for friends, family and people who make you feel empowered and positive.
Which brings us to our next point! Now that you’ve eliminated the toxic vibes from your social media account (or started a new one!), you’re up to the fun part—filling your feed with kickass, body confident , inspiring women who make you feel great! You can check out some of our fave body confidence bloggers here or keep scrolling for some of the badass babes involved in the Own Your Feed movement.
This alternative fashion and body positivity blogger was a founding member of the online community centred around the hashtag #alternativecurves as well as a frequent user of the hashtag #whatfatgirlsACTUALLYwear.