Why Unfollowing Can Still Boost
In January 2017 I wrote one of my most read, shared and engaged with blog posts: 'Why Unfollowing Will Be The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Happiness.' I remember just how nervous I was to share my thoughts on the topic because back then it seemed as though it was such an out of the norm opinion to have, on this thing we had started to call our livelihood.
It's been almost 3 years since I clicked publish on that post and I still receive messages on a monthly basis, telling me that they appreciate my take on what is still seen as a social media taboo. An act so simple yet we worry that one click will cause an IRL argument and may hurt another person's feelings.
So all this time later and do I still feel the same way? Do I still think that unfollowing can really boost your happiness?
The answer quite simply? Yes.
So just incase you didn't catch my older post or you're new around these parts (hello there if you are - welcome!) then here's a little reminder of my views on social media and how we grow over time. My social platforms (and I would expect the majority of other people's platforms too), are curated corners of the internet that we put together for others to enjoy, as well as ourselves. Whether you do this for a living or photography is just a creative hobby, we pick and choose the best bits of our lives, experiences and travels to share online. A highlight reel of the things that have made us happy and brought a smile to our faces, in the hopes they will also do the same for others. A source of happiness, of inspiration and of creativity. Over time our personal style develops, our own morals may change, even our usage of social media itself can alter - so as we grow up, who we feel we want to follow can also begin to deviate.
The downside of these curated corners of the web, is that they don't always help us to feel our best. In a world that seemingly encourages comparison and always needing to 'upgrade' to the next best thing, it can be very easy to no longer feel happy or inspired when scrolling on your phone. The antidote for those negative feelings? Allowing the unfollow button to become a presence in your life and alongside curating your own feed with things that make you happy, curate the accounts that you follow tin the same way too.
Clicking the unfollow button doesn't have to be a vindictive act. It doesn't and shouldn't reflect how you feel about an individual in real life. The long and short of it, is that if you are seeing content on your timeline that doesn't spark joy (Marie Kondo is definitely onto something here), then you have every right to unfollow, to mute, to pause - whichever boosts your happiness more. Your social media, on your phone, on your time, should be allowed to be dictated by you. It should not bring a feeling of dread to your lunch break, your commute or your bathroom break - don't judge I know for a fact we've all done it!
The more important issue however isn't simply happiness, it's caring for yourself more and caring for your mental health more. Social media is of course what you make of it but more that that it can have a far wider reaching impact than we may initially see. Consistently viewing content that makes us feel negatively towards our physical self, content that lowers our self esteem and content that affects our mood badly, is not what our time should be filled with. Life is far too short to feel unhappy because of social media when we could be choosing to follow inspirational, creative, passionate or just downright funny.
So although you may think it's cruel or you may have a pit in your stomach about unfollowing someone, I would love for you to put yourself first in this situation. If that means only having a timeline full of the cutest dogs on the planet rather than jet setting super models, or your favourite rock bands instead of a hoard of fashion influencers, then I promise - that's okay. Personally I would never be offended if someone unfollowed me, even if I know that person in real life. If what I post on Instagram, Twitter or YouTube isn't their cup of tea, then that's their choice to make and one I would commend them for not berate them for.
Take your self care much further than physical health and take a step back to see how much the content you consume on social media, is dictating your mood. If it's bringing you down and especially if it's sticking with you after you've closed that app then the unfollow button might be your new best friend.