7 types of people to unfollow on Instagram

I regularly update who I follow on Instagram. I do this because I understand that even if it is only in a small way, who I follow impacts me. Social media can have you invested in the lives of strangers, influence you to waste money on things you don’t really want and serve as an unhelpful comparison to judge your life against.

Here are some ideas for who you might want to unfollow on Instagram:

People you don’t know

Following people you’ve never met can lead to learning or even friendship. However it can also result in you being over invested in total strangers. You wonder if something is wrong when they don’t post for a day and keep up with their life with great eagerness but perhaps that time could be better spent doing something else.

People you don’t personally interact with

If you don’t watch their stories and you don’t like or comment on their posts then maybe you don’t need to be following them?

People that constantly want to sell you something

I recently unfollowed a bunch of fashion/lifestyle content creators. I enjoy their content but everyday I was being recommended this amazing product that was equally as good as the one they recommend the day before. And I understand that it’s part of how they make a living, I just realised it wasn’t something I wanted to see so often.

People whose content you don’t find interesting

Sometimes I come across an account that I like the images of and decide to follow. But a few months later if I’m not interested in the content or interacting with it then there’s no keep following the person.

People who make you feel bad

This may be people with more money than you, people that constantly post upsetting content or who post things you can’t afford to buy and places you can’t afford to go. They might not necessarily make you feel bad but if the people you follow don’t make you feel good, then what’s the point? Obviously there is a case for learning to not be impacted by things but the chances are whatever is on social media isn’t important enough to be the thing that teaches you that lesson.

People whose lives you’re not interested in keeping up with

Maybe there is a person you went to school with but haven’t spoken to in 5-10 years. You probably don’t interact with what they post and you have no intentions of rekindling any sort of relationship with them. Keeping up with their life is totally unnecessary because you don’t actually care.

People you don’t agree with

As much as it is good to take in views or opinions that differ from your own, you don’t need to do that on Instagram or social media in general, especially when it’s coming from strangers. You can have conversations in person, watch shows, listen to podcasts or read articles to hear other peoples views.

When free is better than cheap

Most people that sell things that are ‘expensive’ also give things away for free.

Maybe you do some sort of one on one coaching but you also do a free weekly podcast or YouTube video. Doing so allows you to make a living from what you do whilst also ensuring that those that can’t afford your services still have access to your work.

Free stuff also allows potential customers/clients to consume your work before deciding whether they consider your product or services to be worth spending money on.

On the other hand you could have it so that nothing is free but instead is either cheap or expensive. However, I’ve found that overtime free stuff can help build trust. Whether it’s buying a book written by someone who has a free podcast or paying for a membership on a site run by someone who regularly shares useful information on social media.

When the stuff is free you take what applies or works for you and pass on the rest whereas if you pay, even if it’s a small amount you’re likely to be much more critical and judgemental.

The thing that has made me buy what a person is selling is when I’ve gotten great value from what stuff I haven’t even paid for. I’d have been much less likely to buy the more expensive stuff if I was already paying for the podcast, blog posts or newsletter etc.

Creators and consumers

One thing I have observed over the years is that there is a very clear difference between being a creator and being a consumer in the online space.

It is first worth noting that all creators consume and all consumers create. However, the title you choose or align with most is based around what you do the most but also how you do it.

Secondly, you don’t have to have a big number of followers, make money or work with brands to be considered a creator, it’s more about the intention behind what you put out.

It could be someone with 237 followers sharing photos of what they eat at home each day, where they spend time and care on the presentation of each meal, in order for it to look visually appealing. It could also be someone with 52,375 subscribers making fashion videos that give their audience outfit inspiration.

For creators, I think it is important that you are creating more than you consume otherwise you end up getting swept up and spending your time in a way that does not benefit you.

The problem with trying to be relatable

A lot of people build personal brands around ‘the struggle’, being relatable and essentially saying that they are ‘just like you’ (but a little more visible).

People are often drawn to things that they can relate to. It’s comforting to see someone also going after the thing that they are working towards. But if their interest in you is because they feel like they’re like you (often including financially), of course how they feel towards you will change when they can no longer relate.

If you spend time growing a personal brand and a big part of that is you saying you’re just like the people watching, listening to and supporting you, if you’re now regularly shopping from luxury brands, mingling with celebrities, attending events and you’ve bumped yourself up a few tax brackets then you’re clearly not ‘just like everyone else’, your life is now different.

There’s nothing wrong with that at all, I think the issue comes when people try to deny that their life has changed much in order to still be relatable. We’re all aware that a persons financial situation doesn’t mean they don’t go through some of the same things as the average person but it’s okay to acknowledge the other parts of your life too.

With influencers the need to be relatable comes from the fact that it’s easier to sell to people when they feel like you’re just like them rather than when you show up as a millionaire that you are. It’s really just a marketing tactic which I don’t think it necessarily a bad thing. However, it shifts influencers away from being the relatable stranger online who recommends things they’ve used or clothes they’ve worn to instead being just another sales person trying to get you to buy something.

Disagreements aren’t a bad thing

It seems sometimes that we shy away from being in conversation or an environment with people that we disagree with.

I’ve previously written that I think it’s worth unfollowing people on social media that you disagree with. The reason for this is that on social media it’s rare that people with differing opinions have a back and forth that benefits either of them.

However, I don’t think we should seek to create a life that is simply an echo chamber of our own thoughts and beliefs.

It’s a great thing to be able to engage with people that have different opinions to you. I think the problem arises when we forget that we have the option to accept someone else’s opinion and understand that they see things differently without having to prove your point or change someone’s mind.

3 small ways to change the way you use social media

Social media plays a significant role in many peoples lives. However, when used in certain ways it can come with negative implications such as wasting time, unnecessary feelings of jealousy and distracting you from what you really care about.

Here are 3 small ways to avoid or at least reduce those negative implications whilst still using social media:

Set a timer for how much you can use it
It could be 1 hour a day or it could be 15 minutes. If your aim is to regain more time try and figure out how much time you spend on the app before it begins to take you away from things you’d be better off doing.

Regularly update who you
Every few months I update who I’m following and unfollow the accounts I’m no longer interested in seeing. It could be a content creator who shares amazing photos but is always trying to sell me something, someone I went to school with 10+ years ago who I haven’t spoken to since and rarely interact with or someone I came across a few months ago whose images don’t interest me as much as I thought they would.

Use your phone to post and your desktop to browse and interact
I’ve found that I spend much less time browsing on Instagram and twitter when I’m on my laptop compared to my phone. And so if you’re able to, try just using your phone for posting and do everything else from the big screen.

Stripped back

When your life gets overwhelming and everything feels like too much, you might need to strip things back for a little while.

When you remove things from your life it makes you realise whether you really want or even need them.

You could log out of your social media accounts (or at least mute everyone you follow) and then see how much you miss it. It’s not about quitting altogether but more that perhaps you’ll miss catching up on tidbits of your long distance friends lives but are no longer interested in following your favourite clothing brands. You might also find that you’re not so fussed to go back to following a bunch of strangers who rarely go a day without telling you to buy something.

You could create a capsule wardrobe and see how it feels to get ready with less choice. You might find that you miss having the variety of items and the fun of choosing what to wear. But on the flipside you might become aware of how much time you used to waste finding the right outfit because your closet was full of clothes you didn’t really like.

Lastly, you could strip back your social life. Instead of catching up over dinner and drinks or going dancing, go for lunch alone, get a juice alone and focus on spending time with yourself.

Doing this reminds you of the people you enjoy spending time with the most but also reminds you what you enjoy spending your time doing. You might realise you don’t normally make enough time to do things alone or that you prefer your own company to the company of certain people you’ve gotten into the habit of spending time with.

The content and the audience

I recently read an article about how much various influencers get paid. The majority of the people were twenty something but the numbers of followers ranged from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand.

What I’ve found to be interesting is that when paying an influencer to create content you’re paying for 2 things: the content and the audience.

In my opinion, even if you don’t have a high following the money you get paid to create content should make sense. If you’re spending hours to come up with a concept, style the shoot, take the photos and edit them, what you earn should sufficiently compensate that plus more for your audience.

And with that in mind it makes it a little bit easier to figure out how much you should ask for and what to say no to.

Why are you online?

There was once a time where we would tune out of ‘real life’ and go online. These days many of us live online and tune out to experience ‘real life’.

We go from Instagram to Twitter to YouTube to Amazon to clothes shopping to reading articles to watching webinars. Not necessarily in that order and many of us frequently going back to social media throughout the day.

In the past we would go online with a purpose and once that purpose was complete we would log out and get back to our lives. Perhaps it was to play games, chat with friends or watch a show. But once you logged out you couldn’t access those things until you logged in again.

We had reasons to go online but these days online has expanded so much that we often struggle to find a reason to go offline.

I think it’s important, even though we’re online so much more than we used to be to still give yourself a purpose. Get out of the habit of simply going online just to be online especially when you become aware that it’s distracting you from your real life.

What’s in a (brand) name?

Clubhouse.io (a project management platform) recently announced that they would soon be changing their name to Shortcut.

I think a big reason for this was to not be confused with the audio based social media app also called Clubhouse.

My initial thought was that changing the name was risky because even if nothing else changes, it will still feel like something new.

But, I also understand that nobody wants to have their brand or service confused with something else. And the social media app Clubhouse has become pretty dominant. I guess the choice was to either stick with the name and hope to not be overshadowed by the audio app or redefine themselves with a new name.

After reading the article and giving it some thought I realised that it actually doesn’t matter as much it might seem. After all, a name is just a name. The name of a brand isn’t more important than what it’s about or what the services they provide, sometimes we just fall into thinking that it does.