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A Calmer Instagram Experience
Some tips for when the app feels overwhelming
Hello Enchanted Folk,
As mentioned in my post last week about social-media overwhelm, here’s what makes Instagram less stressful for me (as both creator and viewer):
· Reducing the amount of content I see. Whenever I’ve been following more than a couple of hundred accounts, my mind becomes overwhelmed with an endless feed. It brings me clarity to go through the accounts I follow and consider how each one makes me feel. Do I truly enjoy their posts and stories? It might sound harsh, but if any evoke apathy, guilt, or feel like a chore to look at, I unfollow or mute them. That way, I’m only viewing content I really value, which makes spending time on Instagram more enjoyable.
· Turning off notifications. This way, I only open the app intentionally, instead of being ‘summoned’ at a random time and ending up distracted.
· Allocating specific time to browse. I’ve found it helps my ability to focus during the day if I don’t look at my phone for the first couple of hours. Then I allocate a particular time to see messages and posts instead of checking every so often and it taking over my whole day. When I do go on Instagram, I focus on connecting and creating, rather than scrolling without intention and ending up in that strange apathetic trance that browsing social media for too long can cause.
· Viewing Instagram as though it were a magazine. When I open Instagram, I like to imagine I’m opening a printed book, or looking at a display board where my favourite creators have pinned their photos and words. Romanticising it a bit, and remembering that it’s a collection of creations made by people, and not only the bots and algorithms that it functions on, helps remind me what I love about the community.
· Saving posts into a folder, then looking through them. This way, I can browse photos that share a similar category in one place without adverts and interruptions! I’ve also been making one for each month, like a highlights folder of my favourite posts I’ve seen (e.g. ‘March inspiration’), to look back on.
· Subscribing to email lists. If an Instagram creator has a website or newsletter I’m interested in, signing up means I can read their content from my inbox without having to always look at Instagram to catch up.
· Focusing on depth, rather than breadth. While I’m by no means well-versed in the mysteries of the algorithm, I find Instagram more rewarding when I focus on supporting the people I follow, content I truly enjoy, and engaging in genuine discussion with others in comments. It allows me to almost forget that the rest of the Instagram world exists, and just focus on that one person, because they are important to me and the community. Depth of connection vs breadth of reach will get my vote every time, and spending time on the app feels more enjoyable when I keep my focus on that.
· Having fun with the creative space. I often have to remind myself how cool it is that I get to have a little corner of the web where I can share my photos and words, and to have people read and appreciate them. Ultimately, it’s a pleasure to do, and I’m grateful for the opportunity!
· Taking time away to connect with the ‘real’ world. Spending time with my family & friends and with my own creative projects, away from the intention to share online, grounds me to what’s most important.
Perhaps you’re already doing many of these, but hopefully they help in some way!
Wishing you a relaxing stroll the next time you venture into the world of social media.
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What is the most stressful aspect of social media for you? What are the ways you’ve found to make Instagram more enjoyable?