Social media, as we know and have heard before, can be a very toxic environment for us to spend a lot of time on. The “fitspo” culture is something we get sucked into and sometimes it can make us feel even worse about ourselves. Being off social media completely, not allowing these fitspo images to flood the content we consume, is the most extreme way to ensure you’re not influenced by these influencers. A more practical way is to be intentional about the type of content you allow on your feed, which is a direct reflection of those you follow, and the algorithm that the social media platform has put forth. The things we see on social media are the highlights of other people’s lives. We are lucky when people we follow have vulnerable moments and actually share their struggles, but those people are hard to come by. Sometimes, people on social media try too hard to be authentic, that they end up seeming fake, and even more often, people try to act authentic and are actually being fake. “Manufactured Authenticity,” is a thing and it is used by social media influencers to seem more relatable to their audience. “Look at me! I’m just like you!” Unless you’re Rachel Hollis on Tik Tok stating, with a demented look in your eye that you’re “unrelatable,” I’d be willing to bet that influencers actually do want to relate to their audience. So how can you do a newsfeed makeover in order to see content that is more inspiring to you? Here a just a few actions to take:
Perform a social media audit.
Scroll through your newsfeed, and take notes about how certain content makes you feel. Do you feel empowered or enlightened when interacting with content? Does this piece make you feel upset or down on yourself? This should be a good indicator of why you enjoy this content, or why it doesn’t make you feel so hot. Knowing the difference between what brings you joy, and what makes you feel gross is key to having a successful audit.
Unfollow those who give you negative feelings.
This can look a lot of different ways. Maybe a person just posts gym selfies, and does not provide any helpful information with it, leaving you staring at yet another mirror pic. If these pictures make you roll your eyes every time, unfollow them. Maybe there is this really fit influencer, and everyday you dream that you looked like that. You even start to feel bad because you don’t look that way. Just unfollow them. Social media should not be a pain point in your life. It should be a place of a community. A place where you can draw inspiration from.
Seek out content that brings you joy.
In the first step, you did an audit of your social media feed. Look through the content or pages that you follow that you really enjoy. See if there are other people/pages like them. You could search the hashtags that brand is using, or find others that are liking the content that they are putting out. Searching hashtags of topics you like, can bring you to more content around that certain subject easily. On Instagram, you even have the option to follow hashtags. When someone uses that hashtag, it will show up in your newsfeed. This is an easy way to introduce yourself to new influencers, brands, and people to follow.
Look for people who are not the same as you.
Finding people who can educate you by simply sharing their own experiences are very important people to follow. Social media makes the world seem a lot smaller than it really is, leaving you many opportunities to learn about cultures, experiences, and lifestyles that are not yours. In our digital world, there is no reason to be ignorant of a subject. If you have a smartphone, you have all of the information you need at your fingertips. Spending time on social media can be a learning experience.
Speaking from personal experience, when I feel one glimmer of annoyance, I unfollow people. This may be harsh sounding, but it is true. Social media, for me, is a place to enjoy. I don’t want to get bogged down in the news of the world or the political climate. I’m sure that is a controversial statement, but it's just not how I roll. News comes from news outlets. I look up the news everyday rather than scrolling through content that is usually misinformed. I follow people that teach me something, entertain me, or post pictures of dogs. Simple.
Don’t let what others are posting affect your self esteem. What you see is a very edited version of the lives of those you follow. Some of them have photographers, editors, and a whole team that curates their content. Don’t compare yourself to this. It’s not real. Forgetting this simple fact can lead us into a spiral. The comparison game is a losing one. Where you’re at in your life is not comparable to others. There aren’t guidelines to how you should be living, like society makes us think. Be a good person, and do your best. If you nail those things, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
To you, my Maiden Friend!
- Coach CoJo