Delete Your Friends
Updated: Apr 18, 2019
Consider this a Marie Kondo'ing of social media because right now, I want you to go to your Instagram, click on your followers list, and start removing each and every account that isn't sparking joy. I'm talking about the Instagram models, wannabe rappers, spam accounts, businesses that you have no interest in, useless men, inactive accounts, etc.
If the thought of suddenly having hundreds, even thousands, fewer followers makes your chest tight - don't worry, you aren't alone in that. We've all been programmed to base a little bit of our self-worth on the amount of followers we have or the number of likes we get on a photo. We're a generation enslaved by algorithms, insights, and external validation.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
Several weeks ago, after seemingly spontaneously quitting my job, I was riding a "new beginnings" high. Tidying up my social media accounts had been a task on my to do list and in my new state of unemployment, I had the time. I started the task of combing through my list of followers and removing the aforementioned types of accounts. I expected to clear out around 500, but after a ruthless two-hour cleaning session, I clicked back to my page and refreshed. I had actually eliminated a little over three times that amount.
Seeing that I had 1,800 less followers made my stomach drop for a split second, but after the dust had settled, I looked down at my still breathing body. Losing a significant sum of followers hadn't killed me - imagine that. If anything, it may have actually made me feel more alive because suddenly I had reigned in just a little bit more control over social media and the way I allowed it to make me feel.
Since then, I'm learning to share, more so, for myself without worrying about performance. I'm working on fostering real world relationships. I don't feel inclined to stop what I'm doing to post at peak times. I don't feel "less than" someone with more followers than me (because chances are, they have a lot of fake friends too). Instagram has suddenly become a visual, social outlet and is no longer an algorithm game -not because that's what Instagram actually is anymore, but because that's what I choose for it to be.
Admittedly, I still spend more time scrolling than I’d like and I DO get a dopamine rush when someone double taps on a photo of mine (hello, I’m human!) – I’ve learned that not getting caught up in the positive reinforcement trap of followers and engagement is just as important as not allowing social media to make you feel like you aren’t good enough.
So, if you're like the rest of us millennial's with a self-perception that's tangled up in how many followers you have or whether or not people "like" you then do yourself favor and delete your "friends."