As a social media strategist, I spend countless hours a day on Instagram. When I’m managing my clients’ accounts, it’s quick and easy and doesn’t effect me personally. However, when I start scrolling on my personal account, and setting my posting schedule, that’s when I get sucked down that deep, dark IG hole. It’s safe to say when that happens, I come out feeling like a lesser human. Like many of you, I begin to feel the effects of seeing others picture-perfect lives, and it takes a toll on my self-esteem.
I think sometimes we all get so caught up in capturing that perfect shot, sharing the most beautiful version of our days, that we forget to actually enjoy our lives. I’ve been making a conscious effort to acknowledge when I’m approaching the negative effects of Instagram and trying out different ways to combat them, and I’d like to share them with you, too.
Close the app – it’s really that simple. If you’re feeling carpel tunnel in your scrolling thumb, you’re scrolling too much. If you’re phone suggests opening Instagram based on your location, you’re on it too much. Don’t schedule it, but choose a couple of times a day that you allow yourself to catch up with your social, and the rest of the time, try to stay offline.
Take weekends off – if you can’t control yourself, delete the app on weekends. Anything you were going to post Saturday can wait till Monday. And, anything you do Saturday will be more fun without worrying about how to share it. Unlike OG-Snapchat, Instagram Stories can be uploaded from your phone’s photo bank – you don’t need to post live.
This last one is the best tip I can offer, and it comes with a lot of value:
Be social, share later – the people who you spend time with are your true audience. There is absolutely no need to be more interested in your digital audience when you’re out with real people – daytime or nighttime. Pretend your phone is an old-school digital camera if you’re inclined to document your time, but do so sparingly, and wait until you’re back home and share it later.
If you share in the moment, you’re more inclined to share everything. When you wait, you’re more conscious about what you’re putting out in the world.
Your account will be filled with things you actually want to share, and you’ll scroll on your own page and see fond memories, versus photos that are there just because.
As far as Stories go, the best ones are literally stories. A couple of posts in a row about the same thing instead of random snaps. Posting later rather than during allows you to maximize your story game.
Once you limit your relationship with Instagram, you can have fun with it again. You can find joy in seeing other people’s posts, and hopefully in seeing your own, too. If you’ve found anything else to work, leave a comment that way we all have more tools to try!