Why I Only Follow 100 People on Instagram
(+ Why You Should Too!)
Instagram is by far my favorite social media platform, for several reasons. One major reason is that you have much better control over what Instagram can and can't show you, versus Facebook or YouTube for example. With Instagram, you're less likely to be as bombarded with ads (all selling something you were just talking about), + you're more likely to see content you truly care about. That being said, despite Instagram being my favorite social media platform, I've had to set some boundaries throughout the years in order to make sure my usage of the app remains healthy + productive.
One of those boundaries has been a 100 person following count. In other words, I don't allow myself to follow more than 100 people at a time. Anytime I get close to that 100 number (or cross it), I take a few minutes to go through the list of people/brands I'm following and have a good old-fashioned purge.
I'm going to share how I go about determining who I follow + who I don't in a moment, but first I want to share why I limit myself to following only 100 accounts...
01 | Less content equals less distractions.
My main reason is as simple as that--I want to be as productive with my time as possible, and the less new content there is every time I open my app, the less likely I am to be distracted. By keeping a cap on how much content I generally allow being pushed at me, I'm able to have a better handle on my productivity + ability to fight distractions.
02 | Nip comparison in the bud.
It's no secret that social media can fuel comparison in a very unhealthy way, + I am in no way immune to this. I am susceptible to comparison just as much as the next person! Knowing this, I've chosen to be very selective over who I follow. I don't want to follow anyone who I know will fuel this comparison game within myself. I know most people never mean to put out content that will lead a follower to compare--I know I never want my content to do that to someone--but I'd hope that if my content did end up becoming a comparison stumbling block for someone, that they'd help themselves by no longer following my content. Rather than opening the door to comparison, if I know I'm likely to fall down that path whenever someone posts, I simply don't follow them.
03 | To keep my mind healthy + positive.
I struggle enough as it is to remain positive on a regular basis. I can easily become a "glass is half empty" kind of person if I'm not mindful of my attitude. I certainly don't need to be following anyone who isn't going to help me do that! Therefore, if someone starts becoming to negative or pessimistic in their posting, I simply stop following them. I may care about the individual, but I need to look after my mental health first, + positivity is a huge part of that. If anything becomes too negative, it's not worth following.
Now let's talk about how I decide who I'm going to continue following, + who I'm going to unfollow...
When I'm going through a following purge, it's usually fueled by one of three instances:
- I'm getting close to 100 accounts I'm following...
- I'm now following more than 100 accounts...
- I find that I'm no longer feeling encouraged or inspired every time I go onto the app...
If any of these instances happen, I know it's time to do a following purge. This is as simple as going to my account, clicking on my "following" number, + then going down through the list + unfollowing anyone I find I need to.
For me to continue following someone, they need to fit within a certain criteria...
01 | If they're an individual (not a business), I must know them personally.
If you go through the list of people I'm following, you'll find most of them are individuals. These are people with whom I have a personal connection + want to genuinely stay in touch with! I don't follow people simply for curiosities sake or to "keep tabs" on them. I don't use Instagram for "social stalking". Instagram is my safe place, + I only follow people who I personally know + genuinely want to see content from.
02 | If they're a business, I must have a direct connection with them.
For example, there are a handful of other wedding photographers or artists that I do follow on Instagram. Most of these accounts are run by friends of mine, or for some photographers they're people I will be working with in the future or have worked with in the past. I don't just follow random individuals or businesses! If I want to see what they're up to, I can always just look up their account.
03 | They don't bring me anxiety or stress.
This goes without much explanation, but they must be a positive + encouraging presence on Instagram or else I will unfollow. Sometimes I've had a situation where an individual might be super encouraging + positive, but yet I feel overwhelmed or pressured anytime I see a post from them. There are a LOT of people I look up to + respect in the online world that I don't let myself follow for this reason! If their posts regularly bring me any anxiety or stress, then it's a sign I should unfollow.
04 | I don't follow social figures.
This is a hard rule for me to follow, but oh-so important. I don't let myself follow social figures or influencers on Instagram. I'll be honest, every now + then I'll slip up + say "oh, I can follow her. I want to support her!". But NO. I can't. I've learned that it's too easy for me to slip into the comparison game when I follow social figures, + so this is a hard line I've had to draw in the sand.
A majority of the time, when I decide to unfollow someone it isn't because they did anything "wrong". Instead, it's to honor a boundary I have set in order to protect myself + my mental health.
I would encourage you, if you go onto Instagram and ever feel negative, discouraged, distracted, or comparison sneaking into your head...consider doing a following purge! At the very least, look at the app objectively + try to determine where exactly those feelings are coming from, + how you can prevent, prepare, +battle them in the future. For me, this means a strict check on who I'm following online. This might look different for you, but I'd be willing to bet that a following binge could benefit anyone.
If you end up doing a following binge, shoot me a dm on Instagram (@katiegraham.photography) + let me know how it went! This should go without saying, but I don't want any of you following me unless my content genuinely benefits you. If my content opens any cans of worms in your mind, simply unfollow me. I don't take it personally.
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Happy Monday, friend!