Intentionally "Influencing" My Instagram
Maybe around a month ago, I realize just how exhausted I was about the mindless scrolling on Instagram. For years, I admired the influencer lifestyle. The ones I was drawn to the most were jet setting around the world and I was yet to own a passport. They had perfectly styled homes and meticulous wardrobes, come to think of it, it was rare when I would see an outfit repeater (Lizzie McGuire, anyone?). And you know what, I was over it. I was tired of consuming what I “should” have versus what I did have. I was drained of my same wardrobe, day after day not being satisfying. I was weary of not being good enough in the eyes of an influencer. And I was so darn tired of those “perfectly emotional” posts: the long drawn out caption about their vulnerabilities and insecurities telling me that their accounts are highlight reels and really they love eating a good greasy pizza while wearing stained sweats and baggy tees. Show, don’t tell, sweetie.
Then, the Raw Sugar “movement” happened. Almost every influencer I was following posted about how they love natural products and being green because our environment needs it. When I saw those brightly lit products in pristine white bathrooms, I was done. I unfollowed all of the influencers that I could. I went through their accounts and looked at who I was following that was an influencer connection of theirs and unfollowed those accounts as well. It’s still a process. But I defined how I wanted to minimize my Instagram feed. I don’t want to feel like I’m being sold to and if I don’t feel like we can grab a tea and honestly connect, then I don’t want to follow your influencer account.
I’m not sure if you remember, but in the Jennifer Garner movie “13 Going on 30,” there’s this poignant scene where she pitches authenticity to a big time magazine. She wanted to see real teen girls having fun in the magazine’s images and I wanted the authenticity of my Instagram account to return back to that. I wanted to see my friends post their travel excursions that they worked hard to be able to afford. I wanted to see my friend test yet another brand of natural deodorant because let us be honest, that is a journey in and of itself.
We understand that these are highlight reels, but by steering my account to not only reflect authenticity, I was also seeing that reflected back at me. I’ve been more engaged in “the scroll.” I can see a friend post about her mental health struggle now and I can reach out to her to check in and see how she’s doing. I can immediately stumble upon a motivational quote that whispers the affirmations my heart has so desperately been needing. Heck, I can remember when it’s another full moon so I can work on releasing what no longer serves me.
Through intentional social media use, I’ve made two quality internet best friends. One lives in New Jersey and we are digital pen pals of the utmost quality. Another lives in Texas and we’ve definitely considered starting a movement based around her awesome son. I’ve also made countless friends: one who gave birth to a baby this past spring/early summer, another who is a light in my life and lives a few hours away from me, and another is expecting her first baby this month and she’s shared the intimate details of her journey. I’ve joined a tribe of magickal women that are just as creative, just as introverted, just as much heart as I am. Why would I cloud my account in such a way that these people are pushed out?
I’m in the process of developing a community. I’m practicing my writing more because I’m inspired by other women who are in the writing field. When I reach out to them, they connect with me and we give each other tips. I discovered the most phenomenal business coach that cheers me on when I forget to be my own cheerleader. This intentionalism has changed my outlook on life to a more humanistic one. We need to see more good people doing good things. We need to see more authentic people sharing authentically. Social media is a huge platform, but by removing the influencers as much as I possibly could, I’ve been able to be more of myself. When I share a product, my friends and followers know it’s coming from a good place. When I share an outfit of the day, it’s because that brand fits my wardrobe checklist (small business, sustainably/ethically made, quality fabric, built to last, etc.).
I promise you, your mood will be different by doing something similar. I want to include quality in my life: people, clothing, products, and opinions. Now, why would I take into consideration somebody that gets paid to tell me this is their “favorite body wash” by seven different companies? Why should I be sold on visiting New Zealand because an airline and hotel paid you to do their advertising for them? Honestly, that was done by Peter Jackson for me (if you know, you know). The point is, I’ve grown to actually have lunch with my loved ones instead of scrolling my phone and inundating myself with mindless consumption. My boyfriend and I can watch a movie and actually cuddle, just the two of us. I don’t stress about the perfect caption, I just write what I feel. I’m not so set on growing my following as much as I used to be, I just want to be me, online and in real life.