Does It Spark Joy?: The Importance of Unfollowing Toxic Social Media Accounts
Feature Image: Priscilla Du Preez
I believe it was Shakespeare who said, “to unfollow or not to unfollow, that is the question.”
Yeah, that sounds about right.
Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and found yourself huffing and puffing or rolling your eyes at certain posts? Do you see a bikini clad influencer and then automatically go to your mirror to pinch your thighs or suck in your stomach?
For me, Instagram has mainly been a resource used to gain inspiration—whether it’s for my wardrobe, my next travel destination, or content for my brand. However, there have been moments when scrolling through one perfectly curated account after another, leaves me feeling—deflated. How do I handle this deflation? Simply click “unfollow.”
We’re familiar with Marie Kondo’s method of getting rid of the things in our home that no longer “spark joy.” What if you used the same method on your social media? It’s important to be selective about the people you surround yourself with in real life and on social media.
Unfollowing and even blocking (no matter how dramatic it may sound) is a great way to give yourself a clean break from accounts that make you feel burnt out and awful. This isn’t always easy! We often feel slightly guilty if we unfollow someone, especially an old friend or someone you know.
Why is that?
Jaclyn Moloney, visiting assistant professor of psychology at the College of William and Mary whose research deals with the shame and guilt in close relationships, says that guilt comes from people’s poor perception of us.
“Most people like to have a positive self-image in general, and I think that applies to their social media presence as well," she says. "It almost seems like you’re sort of rejecting someone if you unfollow them." And naturally, it feels worse when we're unfollowing people we used to know in real life.”
Remember this—unfollowing doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that they are a bad person. Their content is just no longer serving you in a way that is positive. You’ll notice that unfollowing in the name of self-care will not only make you feel better but you’ll have a more positive experience on social media overall. We often start and end our days looking at our phones, why not make it something that makes you feel great?
What methods do you use to put your mental health first on social media?