There’s a saying in internet marketing that social networks are free because you’re the product. Unless you’re using them mindfully, on your own terms, they’re really using you. Instagram, the photo sharing service now owned by Facebook, is arguably one of the most easily wielded social networks. When you use it to expose yourself to insights, inspiration, and alternative points of view, it can really Add To Life.
But first you need to ask yourself, “What messages do I want to see?”
Step One: Who am I following?
It can be easier to start with what you don’t want to see. First, give the list of people you’re following a once over. We follow Instagram accounts for all sorts of reasons: we’re having a love affair with a brand, we’re trying to win something, we’re entertained by a celebrity, or they’re reflective of a lifestyle we’re trying to achieve at that moment. But if you get distracted it can easily get out of control. Go through your list and unfollow the people you’re no longer enthused by: acquaintances, friends of friends, expired accounts. Do you have brands or personalities you follow in other mediums? Do you need to see their messages more than once? Act on your impulse – worst case, you can refollow at a later date.
Step Two: Is this account really adding to my life?
Then, carefully consider what you’re left with. An effective way to do this can be to scroll through your feed and stop when you find a post that makes you feel anything less than adequate. When you find such a post, click on the account and consider its last ten or so updates. Is there anything there that really grabs you, or adds to your life? If not, unfollow.
Step Three: Who can I follow that will make my feed more powerful for me?
Then, once you have a squeaky clean feed filled with inspiration and fresh insight, actively seek out more accounts. Maybe you have entrepreneurial dreams: business media and personalities can be inspiring accounts to follow. Maybe you’re inspired by healthy living: follow different people from all around that sphere. A good way to seek them out is to sneak a peek at the people you’re already following and see who they’re following themselves.
Being selective about the messages you allow into your personal world helps you to figure out where you stand on different issues, and identify what truly makes you heart sing a little louder. Repeat this three step process every couple of months and add a positive and inspirational Instagram feed to your life.