I've had an Instagram cull. I started yesterday following 703 accounts and I'm on a cool 438. Yes I unfollowed 265 people in one (v long v boring) sitting.
I also did this with Twitter the previous day, unfollowing people who didn't follow me unless I loved their feed and also people that I generally think are a bit of a dick. Soz. I feel like there's a lot to be said on Twitter unfollowing, people accept it as cleansing your feed and making it a generally nicer and happier place to be. But Instagram? Not so much wording.
The algorithm is so shite we don't want to do anything to upset it more? We want all the followers we can, we follow EVERYONE in the hope they'll follow us back and we might actually hit our next 100 goal. Unfollowing people literally goes against the grain.
On Twitter, people can be shit, they can be negative, they can be bitchy, we easily unfollow or mute to get them off our feed and stop making us feel like poo. But on Instagram what's the worst people do to us? Troll us? Leave us nasty comments? We probably aren't following those people anyway. So what? A poorly lit image of a lipstick? I don't know about you but very little (read, none) of my Instagram feed morally offends me.
So why did I unfollow over 200 accounts?
I just didn't like them anymore. I started by unfollowing all the brands I didn't care about anymore and all the groups I didn't like (bloggershub anyone?) and all the accounts that hadn't been active since like Christmas. And then I went back through the list and unfollowed all the big bloggers. I'm sorry but they just do nothing for me, Wish Wish Wish, Freddy Cousin Brown, Lily Pebbles.....all amazingly successful girl bosses but their content just ain't my ting. And thennnnn finally I went back again and searched through all the names I didn't know off the top of my head, the handles I don't immediately associate with someone I chat to on Twitter. I looked at the first 6 photos on all of their accounts and if I didn't love them I unfollowed.
It's a really crass and harsh way to look at it but with the algorithm these days it's getting harder and harder to see the content I actually want to keep up with. Now my feed is full of people I love and want to support and like every single bloody photo they upload and I'm v much happier with it.
And I noticed a real trend with the accounts I unfollowed and I think it's been hinted to in a lot of blog posts I've been seeing lately. There's been a bout of 'how to beat the algorithm' and 'when will Instagram stop' posts doing the round basically saying we can't go on like this and something will have to change to make a difference and the general consensus is less flatlays, less bleached white and pink feeds and less generic posts. How many accounts do you know that fit into that criteria? I can name millions and I think some are really working still (hi LzyThoughts flatlays) and some are becoming a carbon copy of an account who's been doing it longer.
I unfollowed a massive amount of accounts that only posted beauty product flatlays, accounts that were bleached to the eyeballs with white background, accounts with primarily selfies and a heck of a lot of fashion blogger accounts too. And what was I left with? What were the ones I looked at and though "oh yes, this is what I want to see more of". It was the accounts that have something a bit different, the accounts that focus on grey tones or blacks. The accounts that have a lot of nature or the seaside or family life or the ones that write interesting captions or micro blog - the ones with more personality.
So what did I learn from my mass Instagram cull? I learnt that I love my feed more and it's a v healthy thing to do once every 6 months or so. And I also learnt that people know what you've done. Since my unfollowing spree yesterday I have so far lost 36 followers and it's only rising. And not the kinda 'gained 20 followers lost 36" like the algorithm does on the daily. That's been happening too, no, this feels real, this feels permanent. The people know.
And I can't even whine about it. Why should I expect them to keep following me when I don't want to do the same for them? As long as we're not playing the follow unfollow game (I see you boo) then having a cleanse of your following list is a good thing, it gives you the chance to see what you want to see - but don't expect people to keep following you if you do.