• Sandy Reynolds

Why I deleted 1500 posts on Instagram

I've lost any remaining enthusiasm for social media these past few months. I've been on Instagram for over a decade now. I’ve experienced how the platform has grown and changed.

Like many people, I think about how I participate on these platforms. I used IG under a different name and had a private account initially. It was a friend and family kind of place. At some point, I decided to use Instagram as a business account. I closed my private account and started the current one I have - a public access account. I’ve promoted my work and my blog there. It is where many of you discovered me. I’ve made friends with people I would never know outside of social media. And then there are all those military men with zero followers who follow me and tell me I'm beautiful. Would I miss that attention? (JOKING!!)

There is a downside to all the scrolling. The algorithms determine what posts I see. And then there are way too many advertisements for things I want but don’t need.

Instagram has also become much more negative these past few years. And I do not imagine it. Author Johann Hari writes in-depth about this in his book Stolen Focus. He explains, “The algorithm is neutral about the questions of whether it wants you to be calm or angry. That’s not its concern. It only cares about one thing: Will you keep scrolling? Unfortunately, there’s a quirk of human behaviour. On average, we will stare at something negative and outrageous for longer than we will stare at something positive and calm.”

The result is that we are fed more and more negativity every day on social media. It’s known as negativity bias. If you spend time on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or any other platform, you will be fed more and more content designed to make you angry.

I think I’ve already mentioned the Netflix show, The Social Dilemma. It addresses many of the issues and the impacts these platforms are having.

I keep asking myself ‘Why am I on social media?”

It is often said that we know people by what we do, not by what we say. So I decided to look for clues in my posts. What am I doing on Instagram? I knew that would be the most accurate answer to the question.

I scrolled for a long time through 1500 posts deleting them as I went and read through my history. I post a lot of pictures of nature pictures. Most images include hiking, trees, trails, rivers, lakes, oceans, and flowers. I post quotes I like. I write about my work. Occasionally I post selfies - if I am having a good hair day and the lighting is perfect. I post pictures of fun times spent with friends. (Rarely grandchildren since my daughter has strong feelings about me posting their photos.) I want you to know that I love being outdoors, look attractive on occasion and like having fun. There you have it!

If I’m honest, I post for two reasons, first, to promote myself and my work and second, to offer some wisdom or perspective. I respond to any DM’s. I scroll through my feed and like posts I enjoy. I would say that the majority of my time is superficial. There is the occasional conversation that is deep and meaningful. There is a sense of being connected to people through their updates.

But when I started deleting photos, I kept going down memory lane, aware that no one else would scroll through years on my feed. I think I have about seven posts left. I’m also thinking much more about how I want to show up on Instagram or any other place I post. I’m not going to stop posting. I plan to post less and more about the things I think are important for us all to be thinking about in our lives.

Deleting all those photos felt like a fresh start. I feel like I am more clear on what I'm doing.

It's a new season in so many ways.

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