let’s have a heart to heart about instagram

So far this year I’ve unfollowed just about 700 accounts on Instagram.

You read that right: SEVEN HUNDRED.

I now follow 391 which means that at the start of 2018, I was following over 1,000.

I shouldn’t tell you this because it might encourage you to go unfollow a bunch of accounts and that might mean you’ll unfollow me and that would make me sad and filled with angst and stressed out about people not liking me.

But I actually think it might be the best advice I could offer when it comes to Instagram.

If it doesn’t make your life – and more importantly – your soul better, let it go. Unfollow. Turn off notifications. Maybe even delete the whole thing from your phone for a few days (or forever. Whatever works.).

I started using Instagram because it was new and fun (the filters! The rounded corners! The behind-the-scenes peeks!) and continue all these years later because it is still fun and feels important for this online business I run. I try to find that balance between posting photos that are pretty to get likes and comments and shares and ultimately grow my following and posting photos that are pretty just because I like to.

(Side note: quite honestly, I’m not sure there is a huge correlation between my number of Instagram followers and business success as we’ve gone about blogging/business a little differently. But I continue anyway).

At the same time, I’m an Instagram user and it can feel so pointless and shallow and not life-giving for me to spend time every single day scrolling and scrolling and scrolling through images of strangers’ lives and homes and kids.

Tell me I’m not alone in this … it is weird, right?!

I’m trying not to be cynical because that doesn’t really get us anywhere. I’m just in this place of deeply paying attention to what I do and how it makes me feel. Instagram is one of those things I haven’t quite sorted out.

Do I love it?

Instagram is full of beautiful photos and visually inspiring ideas. It is a way to connect with friends and family and celebrities and influencers that we don’t get to hang out with on a day-to-day basis (or ever). It has become a quick micro-blogging platform for those who don’t have the time or another place to write. It becomes a digital scrapbook, or even better, an actual scrapbook if you get your pictures turned into books. It has grown businesses and offered opportunity, a sense of community and humor and brought awareness to important issues.

Or maybe do I hate it?

With Instagram, we get lost in someone else’s life, someone else’s travels, someone else’s fitness/style/food/decorating/parenting journey while we stare at our phones and ignore our own. It so easily stirs up a sense of comparison and discontent. It gives us an incomplete snapshot of whoever we’re following which leads us to believe we’re somehow worse off or less-than or missing out. It creates a sense of community that makes us forget how important real-life friendships are. It lures us in with its likes and followers and analytics that feel life-giving when they’re going up and crushing when they fall. It pressures us with the hope that if we post the best photos from the best angles with the best lighting and cleverest captions we’ll get noticed and liked and make it big.

See what I mean? It’s great and not great at the same time.

The good thing is, we get to choose.

We get to choose who we follow, how it makes us feel, how often we scroll and for how long. We get to decide if we post or not post and let Instagram serve us instead of the other way around.

Which is why I deleted 700 follows.

I stopped following a bunch of accounts not because any of them were bad or not inspiring or posted by someone who is probably a wonderful person in real life. But rather, I stopped following for one of three reasons:

  1. If every time I saw a post and it made me feel all compare-y and unsettled – like I wasn’t keeping up or measuring up – I stopped following. I just don’t want to do that to myself anymore. There were not too many like this, but there were a few and it felt good to just let them go.
  2. If I was following someone whom I didn’t know and never would know, I figured I didn’t really need to see what they were doing every day. This eliminated pretty much every celebrity I was following. Except for @kensingtonroyal because I really like the British royal family.
  3. If I couldn’t remember why I started following to begin with and wasn’t super excited about any of the most recent photos, I unfollowed.

Just like that, 700 down.

At the same time, I also removed Instagram notifications from my phone. I no longer get a message when someone leaves a comment which means I pick up my phone and open Instagram one hundred less times per day. It also meant getting used to not having that regular affirmation in the form of Instagram comments popping up on my phone throughout the day. I’m embarrassed to say that it took some getting used to.

So that’s where I am right now. I still like Instagram. I still post and comment and scroll almost every day. I’m being much pickier about what I post – I don’t want to just throw a photo up for the sake of staying on top of the algorithm and keep followers. My goal with everything I do online is to make a space where when you leave you feel better, not worse, about your life. I want you to feel less alone, more normal, encouraged to see beauty in the every day and inspired to do something creative in your home or with your hands.

I still hate it a little, too. I wish that darn followers number didn’t captivate me like it does and make me feel better or worse about myself.

I’d love to know where you’re at with Instagram. Do you love it? Not love it? Do you have any tricks or boundaries you’ve set to make it work for your life? Let’s have a heart to heart about Instagram …

99 Responses to let’s have a heart to heart about instagram

  1. Maureen March 29, 2018 at 6:39 pm #

    I’m late to this party but, I love Instagram but only for my kids, husband and brother and one close friend. I follow 7 persons. I ignore all requests and check it usually, once a day. I don’t even follow my best friend. I love getting to see what my kids and family post but I need boundaries and made them tight from the beginning. For me, this is a perfect balance of seeing what is important to me and having lots of peace in my life.

  2. Shannon Y. March 26, 2018 at 7:57 am #

    Thank you! I immediately unfollowed 5-10 accounts and am happy I did so. It’s easy to keep going back a million times a day when there’s something to go to. Considering I don’t follow as many accounts now, they’re not updated as often, which means I don’t have anything new to see. I’m hoping that will discourage me from getting on as often. The beauty of IG (after disowning Facebook) was that I didn’t feel any obligation to follow or friend anyone. It’s good to remind myself of that!

  3. Meghan March 24, 2018 at 9:18 pm #

    This is such a real post, Emily. I love your honesty. I gave up FB years ago when I realized I was more preoccupied looking at the lives of my friends with their young children than my own children sitting right in front of me. Ugh. I hate even typing that. Years later I became a huge fan of IG and followed many just for inspiration… mainly home decor and fashion. But as I was out on maternity leave last year with our third and most likely final baby, I decided to say good-bye to IG as well. I continually attempted to draw lines for myself: only scroll when my kids weren’t present, never stare at my phone while my husband and I finally had alone time at the end of the long day… but time and time again, I reverted back to poor habits. I felt like my face was buried in my phone while my precious little ones were growing right in front of me.
    I never could imagine cutting ties with social media completely. But I must say, it has been so uplifting and refreshing. 8 months later and I truly don’t miss it a bit.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this matter. I think many of us are right there with you.

  4. Emily March 24, 2018 at 8:16 pm #

    Thank you for this, emily! I gave up Instagram and Facebook for Lent … as you said, I’m embarrassed how much getting used to it took, especially Instagram. But I have felt lighter and less jittery if that even makes sense. And it’s made enough of an impact that I’m having to really prayerfully consider how I am going to transition back into them. Your words articulated (much better than I could) a lot of what I’ve been feeling – thank you! I think a few keys for my transition plan :) are definitely going to include unfollowing non-inspiring people, turning off notifications, leaving my phone downstairs at night (I bought a real alarm clock), and finding ways to limit my time on it. Again, thank you for your wise words!!

    • emily March 26, 2018 at 9:59 am #

      I need to adopt the real alarm clock …

      • Aimee April 3, 2018 at 5:39 pm #

        an alternative is if you wear a Fitbit, you can use it as a gentle alarm on your arm and keep your phone far away in another room :)

  5. Janel March 23, 2018 at 8:49 am #

    I have to keep reminding myself that my phone (and thus, IG), is just a piece a plastic and glass. It does not control my life and I am in charge of how much of my time I devote to that little gizmo. I don’t want to get to the end of my days here on earth and look back thinking, “I wish I would have looked up more often and paid attention to my family right in front of me versus other people’s life on a screen.” Currently I take Sundays and Wednesdays completely off social media, or drastically reduce my time spent there, and it helps keep things in perspective.

    • emily March 23, 2018 at 12:48 pm #

      So true. And I like your idea of taking whole days off.

  6. Robin March 22, 2018 at 10:11 pm #

    I like it but only follow accounts that inspire me to be healthy in all aspects of my life and also close family. It helps me feel a tiny bit closer to the ones I don’t get to see very often.

    I can see why it could be a serious problem… especially for my young kids as they grow through teenage years.

    Side note… I wish Instagram knew that just because I like to be inspired by healthy food options does NOT MEAN I want to see girls naked BEHINDS! I HATE seeing girls butts on my feed. I wish girls would have more self respect. I would love to never see a naked booty on insta again.

    Woh…. that went south fast. Anyway… I get what you are saying.

  7. Elizabeth March 22, 2018 at 7:38 am #

    I got off Facebook over one year ago for Lent. I never got back on and haven’t missed it a bit. I didn’t spend a ton of time checking it, but I was always so angry when I would. That is not good for my soul. In short, I highly dislike social media. It takes me away from the real life that I have. It makes me want things that I don’t really need. It makes me feel things I don’t want to feel. It makes me feel like I don’t measure up. I will be 50 in a year and a half. I’ve been reflecting on the materialism in my life as, realistically, my life is more than half over. I can’t take it with me. I want my two kids to reflect back when I am gone and remember me as someone who gave of myself to others, not as a mom who kept a beautiful house. I am a work in progress. I slip back into my old thinking everyday and have to remind myself of my life’s goal – heaven. Thank you, Emily, for your honesty.

  8. Stephanie March 22, 2018 at 5:56 am #

    I completely agree with this post- I’ve been slowly cutting down and am now sitting at about 585 but I’d really like to get it closer to 100-200. I also deleted my Twitter, and I think I’m going to delete my Snapchat too. I just don’t need them, and I don’t care, and people who need me have my number. :)

  9. Kathy@WyldeMagnolia March 21, 2018 at 5:33 pm #

    I too love/hate IG sometimes my feed can be so interesting to look at and then other times, I think what am I looking at? Since reading this post the other day I am started to edit what I see. Sometimes it can be addicting, like falling down the rabbit hole. I have never turned the alerts on so that was never an issue for me.

  10. Ashley March 21, 2018 at 6:29 am #

    I have two IG accounts for a lot of the reasons you listed. One with only family and friends who are family :) — about 20ish people. And another for fun inspiration, friends I want to keep up with and accounts that are positive for me, make me laugh — about 150ish — regularly remove some. Great to be reflective about it all and take control. You’d love the Next Best Thing podcast. One of the first episodes was about this very thing

  11. lissa March 20, 2018 at 6:35 pm #

    oh man do i get this in every way. love this. thanks for being real. xoxo

    • emily March 20, 2018 at 10:47 pm #

      Always and forever :)

  12. Pam M March 20, 2018 at 5:08 pm #

    I actually love Instagram. It’s so much nicer than FB – not so negative. However, I only follow about 200ish accounts and they are pictures or people that inspire me. It has become a little bright spot that I can peek at occasionally throughout the day for a guilt-free pick me up. This is because I’m very particular about who I follow. Although, I doubt we’ll ever meet in real life – your IG posts inspire me, even if you’re posting about your family, trips, or making places pretty.

    • emily March 20, 2018 at 10:47 pm #

      Thanks, Pam. I think limiting it is such a good way to go about it. Just keep to the accounts that make you happy and inspired.

  13. Beth March 20, 2018 at 4:22 pm #

    Every few months I purge who I follow for this same reason! But mainly because I just spent way too much time scrolling to see who I actually wanted to see. Also, I can only follow so adorable companies that make baby bows and clothes etc! I love it all… I just don’t need so much! I do follow quiet a few bloggers/ people I would probably never meet that really inspire me and that I’ve followed for a long time :)

  14. Catherine March 20, 2018 at 9:39 am #

    I check FB only periodically. I keep a profile so I can check in on something “just in case.” I had to leave when it became too political and filled with ads. IMO, they’ve ruined FB. Used to love Pinterest. They’ve ruined it, too. Now I pin to my account and use it as a reference to keep me on track if I have a project. I refuse to scroll through ads. I NEVER allow notifications, on any site, EVER. I’m irritated by all of the junk out there on social media that so captivates our young people. And I worry that they won’t know how to sift through the noise to find the real story / news / culture / beauty / nature. And I worry about how they (all of us, really) are comparing ourselves to every perfect image pinned /
    posted / grammed, etc.

    • emily March 20, 2018 at 10:40 pm #

      Yes, yes and yes.

  15. Shelley March 20, 2018 at 9:23 am #

    Love this post. I have turned ALL notifications off for social media, except a emails for a select few favorite blogs. Totally stopped Facebook because it became way too political, and obnoxious. I also regularly scroll through who I am following on Insta, Pinterest, etc and unfollow things that no longer inspire me, or make feel bad about myself. If I have a few extra minutes to spend on social media, I want to leave feeling like I either learned something, or someone spoke something into my life that I needed. I think it’s a personal thing, and you have to find the right balance for who you are and where you are. And that changes too. Great job Emily!

  16. Pamela March 20, 2018 at 9:12 am #

    Not a fan of Instagram. It is overwhelming and boring to me at the same time. I also don’t do Face Book. But I’m sure it has it benefits for family groups or young mom’s. I read blogs for design and decorating inspiration and listen to faith based podcasts if I’m working on a project that doesn’t require a lot of focus. Honestly I mostly like to just think and all the social media stuff feels very noisy and distracting to me. Give me a magazine or book, glass of wine and tub full of bubbles anytime.

    • emily March 20, 2018 at 10:41 pm #

      That sounds lovely :)

  17. Esther March 20, 2018 at 7:10 am #

    Hi Emily,
    I have never really followed much on Instagram. I guess because of my age (close to sixty) it was too much to try to master another social media platform. I’ve been on FB for years and like many others started limiting my time because it was taking me away from “real life”. It did nothing to nurture me. Unfortunately many of my friends and family are active on FB. In the course of the last 2 years, I missed a party and a funeral,(yes, someone actually posted funeral information only on FB), so I’ve decided to check my feed about once a week. What’s really disturbing is that both my children who are young adults are totally consumed with social media. It worries me that it will have a negative effect on their future. As a parent, as a society, I feel we really need to raise the chatter about the negative effects of social media on mental health and socialization skills. So thank you for using your influence as a blogger to help make us all more aware and in tune to how all this posting and scrolling can affect us.

    • emily March 20, 2018 at 10:44 pm #

      Thank you for your wisdom, Esther. It is interesting how social media is going to impact (and already is!) the next generation. I was just talking with my mom today about how even dating is so different for teenagers now than it was when I was in high school. Instead of having one house phone to share amongst my two sisters and parents (without call waiting or caller id!) my kids will have their own phones with so many different ways of communicating. It all feels so urgent and immediate. I just wonder if all this connection is really what we need … I don’t know. Still working out how we deal with technology as adults and how to raise our kids to have balance as well.

  18. Nancy Mchale March 20, 2018 at 5:25 am #

    Thank you for food for thought! I love following you and have for a long time!
    The essentials are in all of my girls homes!
    Instagram really is starting to get to me! Way too much time wasted!
    I agree with everything you have said. I’m getting on the unfollow train this am!

  19. Jessica March 20, 2018 at 4:05 am #

    I found I was struggling with contentment and time management when I had any kind of social media. I deleted Facebook over 2 years ago, and other social media at the same time. My husband did the same about a year ago, and we are so much more present with our kids. It is kind of isolating though because society as a whole communicates via social media. So sometimes we miss out on things, but I do think as a whole we are happier and making more real connections even if it is more difficult. For example, so many organizations only communicate on Facebook or via Facebook groups. Slowly though I think groups are moving to apps like GroupMe and Remind. Hopefully that’s a trend that keeps shifting.

  20. Stephanie C March 20, 2018 at 3:26 am #

    No FB, Twitter etc. for me, only Pinterest and I limit my time on that. Call me boring but my life is rich and full in so many other ways. Reading a book, writing a letter, sewing, gardening, holding my grandbabies and spending time with my family. It makes me sad to see so many adults with their face in a screen instead of spending time with family.

  21. Ingrid March 19, 2018 at 9:46 pm #

    Thanks so much for this! You inspired me to unfollow about 100 accounts that I don’t really pay attention to anyway. I feel strangely lighter. Thanks for inspiring and being real! 💖

    • emily March 20, 2018 at 10:46 pm #

      Yay for lightness. It’s crazy the things we allow to weigh us down without us even realizing it.

  22. Alison March 19, 2018 at 7:57 pm #

    That was so honest and beautifully written. And THAT is why I follow you, your posts always make me smile! I feel so many of those same things about IG, and it’s nice to know I’m not the only one! I gave it up for lent and it has been FREEING! Thank you for sharing your heart!

    • emily March 20, 2018 at 10:45 pm #

      Thank you, Alison!

  23. Amy King March 19, 2018 at 7:45 pm #

    I 100% agree with every word you said. Thank you for inspiring me to go delete several IG accounts that were clogging up my feed. Life is short and lets make it count! Thanks for always being real and true to your beliefs.

    • emily March 20, 2018 at 10:46 pm #

      Thanks Amy!

  24. Stacy March 19, 2018 at 6:03 pm #

    This is so true! Perfect use of words and thoughts! Thank you for sharing!

  25. Debbis March 19, 2018 at 5:40 pm #

    I get it. Keep on keeping on, Emily. I love your genuineness…is that a word?

  26. Lacey March 19, 2018 at 4:13 pm #

    I actually feel this exact same way about Facebook! I totally get what you mean about the comparison thing too. I love looking at the “fashion” Instagram accounts for ideas & inspiration but I can’t help but wonder how these people have a new $3,000 bag every week. It can tend to make you feel a little…bad I guess. That being said I do still like to use Instagram for creative inspiration. Maybe it’s time for me to unfollow a few accounts too. I’m glad you posted this!

  27. Lizzy March 19, 2018 at 4:12 pm #

    Ditto! Lately I’ve been cleaning up too…for many of the same reasons. But I’ve found if I’m “on the fence” about continuing to follow an account, I’ll check how many followers they have…if it’s more that 5,000, I’ll unfollow but if it’s less, especially a lot less, I’ll keep following to encourage them even if I’m a little “on the fence”. And it’s usually only a difference of style, not anything good/bad that puts me on the fence.

    But no matter how many followers you get, I’ll always be one of them. You were one of the 1st bloggers I ever read and have been an acolyte ever since!

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 6:38 pm #

      That is very thoughtful. I know it is so discouraging to lose followers and encouraging smaller accounts is so kind. I like that idea.

  28. Vonda Laffey March 19, 2018 at 3:57 pm #

    Good for you, Emily! I recently tried to unfollow some accounts, too. Instead I got a notice that my activity was suspicious (or something to that effect).

    Did you unfollow just a few at a time?

    Thanks for sharing this.

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 6:39 pm #

      I unfollowed a bunch at a time. That’s a weird message … hmm.

  29. Jan Schiffman March 19, 2018 at 3:50 pm #

    I just did the same thing! Also, I hid the app in a folder and instead of just seeing the icon and distinctively just opening it, I don’t! And it’s Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeing. No comparing my holiday traditions, my wardrobe, my house (which is super cute, and I love it), or my kids (which are even cuter ☺️). I’m more present and feel better about me, and I’m getting more done. I won’t unfollow you BTW. I’ve been subscribed for years and I feel like we’re soul sistas 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼

  30. Jennifer March 19, 2018 at 3:34 pm #

    Amen sister!

    I’ve dropped FB and altogether avoided IG and Linked In and everything in between. In addition to comparing and getting down on myself, I don’t entirely trust my own underlying motivations when I post. I only know that when I connect authentically in small settings, I feel my soul being fed knowing that someone else was seen and heard too.

  31. Meg C March 19, 2018 at 2:15 pm #

    I gave up FB completely 3 years ago. While extremely challenging at times due to missing invites to events or sometimes missing the information about a death/birth, I do not regret it at all.
    I could not filter the fake/engineered lives people were posting and it took me to a very begative space within myself. Since giving it up, my mental/emotional health has been positive and stable compared with when I was active on FB.

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 2:42 pm #

      Isn’t that crazy what social media can do to our souls?! So glad you found a solution that works for you.

  32. Andrea March 19, 2018 at 2:06 pm #

    This is a timely post as last week I removed both Instagram and Facebook from my phone. The comparison and addicting qualities were just too much! I didn’t even want to read books anymore, which is so sad. I’m a blessed person with a beautiful life and children and I need to focus on that instead of everyone else’s beautiful life. There are a lot of things that I like about social media but probably more that I hate. I also wanted to do this as an example to my own sons that technology can be addicting!

  33. Meredith March 19, 2018 at 1:22 pm #

    I hear you 100%! I never really got too attached to instagram, but Facebook was a weakness. Hours and hours wasted just scrolling. I would get so frustrated with myself and try to set parameters, but would still stay up later than I wanted just looking at one more person’s page. I was afraid I’d miss out on friend’s and family’s lives and knew that some really wanted to know what was happening in ours. I made a plan to get off Facebook but send quarterly email updates with pictures. My hope is that this will open the door to lots of great back and forth conversation with those friends and family members that we don’t get to see and talk to frequently. It’s been a good month or so since I said bye to FB and it has been soooo soul freeing. For me, that was what needed to happen.

    PS. I used to also read soooo many blogs. Not anymore…only yours. So thank you for so many wonderful, life giving, and every day kind of posts. Love it!

    • Sheri McGill March 19, 2018 at 1:52 pm #

      Where you just say it Emily! I think more more people are going to do just what you did. I can’t say I follow that many people but I also don’t have a business ha ha. But I think subtly technology is taking us away from those that are most important. The Lord, our family, our children and like you said our own souls. Thanks again for reminding us that it is our choice and by deleting a lot of things out of our life it really allows us to have more room for our souls To wander to the places that we were created to wander… People face-to-face and heart-to-heart.

  34. Leslie March 19, 2018 at 1:09 pm #

    Our pastor actually preached on this yesterday and I was so convicted and encouraged! Trying to walk in my own calling today and be content with my own blessings! ❤️

    • Sheri McGill March 19, 2018 at 2:00 pm #

      I used Siri to dictate the above…. sorry so many misspelled words, or the words written are not what I said😳
      Way to say it Emily! I think more and more people are going to do what you did.

  35. LeAnne Martin March 19, 2018 at 1:07 pm #

    Good for you! I still love IG because of the beauty, but it hasn’t done much for building my audience.

    Every few weeks I find myself asking: who is this person again? And why am I interested in his/her life? And what should I/could I be doing in my own life instead?

    Thank you for your honesty, Emily. This has been helpful.

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 1:10 pm #

      Ha! So true.

  36. Rebecca | Seven2Seven8 March 19, 2018 at 1:00 pm #

    So I gave up FB/Twitter for Lent (and am not missing much of either, thanks to the algorithms) and as a result, I’ve kept and have paid more attention to IG for the first time in ages (I post there and interact with my posts, but seldom felt compelled to scroll through more than a few posts at a time otherwise). Without other platforms to distract me, I have had the opportunity to re-engage and while I continue to love the beautiful images and (general) brevity of interaction, it feels like such a big ad lately. I love seeing what my favorite bloggers are up to, but I don’t understand stories, I feel like I’m getting incomplete pictures without watching stories AND following the IG AND following the whole blog and it’s too much investment, and everything feels like a link to buy something (and now we can buy fashion secondhand, which I’ve done and love-hate because it’s all really-really driven by fear of scarcity….)

    I love the idea of unfollowing and will implement post haste.

  37. Brenda March 19, 2018 at 12:44 pm #

    All I have to say…. ditto!

  38. Candice Hope March 19, 2018 at 12:25 pm #

    I am with you 100% on this topic. I too fall into the comparison trap. I turned off the notifications for all of my social media a while back and it has been freeing for me. I have been wanting to trim my follows for a while now and you have just given me that extra nudge. I am also getting ready to lead a small group through a study called “Why her” a study on comparison by Nicki Koziarz. Looking forward to more freedom in this area, comparison is such a mind and soul trap. Thanks for being real and posting on this, it was refreshing and validating to read.

  39. Christy March 19, 2018 at 12:21 pm #

    I did that last year because Instagram is addicting for me and I don’t like wasting my time looking at it and realized some of the posts don’t interest me anymore so I unfollowing several. I feel so much better and less my time so I can focus on other thing (like read book). I didn’t unfollow you because I love your posts and Washington state is only place I miss most that’s why I love your posts and your decorating is lovely too. :)

  40. Elizabeth March 19, 2018 at 12:10 pm #

    My husband and I have been struggling to get pregnant for several years, and many times when I saw a pregnancy announcement on instagram or pictures of friends’ babies, I would get so sad/mad/jealous/all the yucky feels. So finally I just deleted it off of my phone. It has been so freeing! But God has also opened my eyes recently to some of the sin that was behind my hurt. I wasn’t rejoicing with those who were rejoicing. Instead I was making it all about me. So for me, at this time in my life, it is SO much better for me to just not be on instagram. But I’m also praying for a heart that is more you-centered than me-centered. Emily, I love that your thinking deeply about your life and how you’re spending your time. Thanks for the challenge!

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 1:13 pm #

      This is so good. That comparison we feel has a root and it always goes back to our identity. As I am growing more confidently in who God made me to be, it feels so freeing to see little victories in the comparison arena. I’m clearly not there, but it is a process. I love that you are taking the time to focus on your heart during this time. xoxo.

  41. Karen March 19, 2018 at 11:37 am #

    I love Instagram as I’m very visually driven. I post from my blog on Instagram. But, I follow too many people to keep up with and need to cull the list some. But, I rarely check it anyway. Once they took away the ability to see posts chronologically I was done. I don’t want to see a post from 6 days ago, then 4 minutes ago, then 2 days ago. Especially if they are from the same person. I want to see it chronologically. Most recent first. Or at least have ability to filter the way I want to filter it not how they tell me to filter. So, I just don’t go on as often.

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 1:13 pm #

      That’s so true.

  42. Courtney J March 19, 2018 at 11:34 am #

    I have been having the Instagram discussion with a friend lately. We have the same love/hate relationship with it. The book Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman has been really convicting. Also, before posting ivecrrakjy been convicted to look at my motives for posting. Before logging onto Instagram I look at my motives for hopping on to IG. It’s been an enlightening process, and I think the fact that so many of us are aware of the issues social media like Facebook and Instagram create, by checking our hearts and our minds it’s a good starting point. 😊 Thanks for your openness and honesty Emily

  43. Jossie March 19, 2018 at 11:24 am #

    Wow what a great topic of conversation! I’m in a love hate relationship with it too!

    I use to post pictures of whatever I wanted to and now I’m like is this picture like worthy- so dumb!

  44. TinaD March 19, 2018 at 11:10 am #

    My IG footprint is so small as to be nonexistent. I started it when I was made redundant a year ago; I posted picture of things I did/made so the time didn’t feel wasted and to keep from falling into the bottomless well of anxiety that is an all-day every-day job search. I still post “bright spots” in my life, when my roses or orchids bloom or I bake something successful, but I don’t use it to promote a “personal brand” (twitch), nor do I turn myself inside out to get “high quality” photos—my life shouldn’t need staging. I follow a couple of dozen accounts from across the globe of people who do things that interest me, and unfollow whenever I get bored.

  45. Laura Brownstein March 19, 2018 at 11:02 am #

    Besides the fact that we both have the exact same birth date, have four children, and a daughter named Audrey, this is another area where we are the same.
    I have had to take Instagram completely off my phone. I only put it on when I want to post a photo for one of my family member’s birthdays or other major milestone (like our anniversary today).
    I also feel comparison creep up after only looking at a hand full of photos and then I just feel yucky. I also notice that I am not living life while I am staring at other’s lives being lived. So weird.
    Thank you for posting this and for your transparency!

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 11:26 am #

      Twinsies. Yes, yes and yes.

  46. Nikki March 19, 2018 at 10:57 am #

    Oh Emily, this is perfect. It’s like you saw what was in my head literally 20 minutes ago and put it to words. I’ve made it a habit to consistently go through the accounts I follow and unfollow the ones that really don’t catch me. I’m down to under 200 and it feels so good! I want to see REAL people, not perfectly planned out photos with the same succulent, notebook, and Mac (I’m guilty of posting those too only a few months ago, but lately I’ve just been trying to show what’s REALLY going on in my life – if the lighting looks great, double bonus. ;)) I was just looking through the accounts that Instagram suggests I follow, and there were hardly any accounts that had depth. Cheers to you, girl!

  47. Debbie March 19, 2018 at 10:57 am #

    I hit this point with Facebook several years ago and have never been able to get back into it. Instagram I still like….but I hate it. I hate that they started having advertising, and the same with Pinterest. These used to be my two places to go and just look at pretty pictures and nothing else. No drama, no shopping… Now every third image is an ad. So I’m looking for an alternative, but so far there really isn’t one.

    That said, I hope you never stop posting on Instagram. Yours is one of the few I follow, and I do find it inspiring, encouraging and you always give me a little boost to want to try harder in my own home.

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 11:25 am #

      Thank you, Debbie. It is always good to hear positive feedback!

  48. Richella Parham March 19, 2018 at 10:52 am #

    I love that you’re speaking so candidly about this! Like just about anything else in our lives, Instagram can be a blessing or a bane. I’m so glad to hear someone say that they’ve taken back control over it.

    And to be honest, I am glad to see that I’m not the only one who struggles with comparison, because I’m writing a book about it. Really and truly–I’m under contract with InterVarsity Press to write a book called Mythical Me: Escaping the Trap of Comparison. I’ve struggled with this issue for many years. I wish I could say that I just grew out of it, but that wasn’t the case for me–I’ll be 55 this year. But God has finally taught me some things that are helping me to get away from the tendency to compare. I’m so grateful!

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 11:25 am #

      How exciting. I’m sure your book will resonate with many of us women!

  49. Kelly G March 19, 2018 at 10:27 am #

    You go woman! Seriously have been doing this the past year. I just want to live my life and no one else’s! I have the same feelings you have….not sure if it’s a “I’m IN my 40’s” thing or if it’s just a “don’t want to feel compelled to live someone else’s life thing, either way, it’s my thing now. And yours too! I’m keeping myself and feelings in check on FB and Insta and feeling more like ME. At times I “fall off the wagon” and go on a FB or Insta binge it’s much easier to spot it and just stop….that’s what works for me at least ;)

    Good for you!

  50. Amanda Henninger March 19, 2018 at 10:16 am #

    I love hearing your challenges with IG and suggestions for it. I think unfollowing anyone that causes you to make you feel bad about yourself is key! When I first started Instagram I followed lots of designers and home bloggers for inspiration. But in this last year I’ve turned it into a space to connect with other homeschool moms (since I don’t have a lot of local homeschool moms to spend time with). So I think that is a huge benefit…being able to connect with people all over the globe in your “niche” area, especially if you don’t feel that in your local community. I’ve since unfollowed a lot of home bloggers/designers that often feel a little “fake” or too focused on their homes only. But I LOVE following you! You present an excellent mix of making your home beautiful and comfortable and inviting for your friends and family but showing that your family is number one and they’re the reason you do all of this. So thank you…please keep blogging and posting on IG. It’s encouraging to so many of us!

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 10:26 am #

      Thank you Amanda! It is great to connect with others who do the same things as you, so I’m glad you’ve found your homeschool niche. And, yes, I’ll keep posting. Just still refining what exactly I’m about … things got pretty house heavy last year and I feel like that isn’t a true picture of what I am about or even what Jones Design Company is about. Rethinking that and wanting to keep focused on creativity, family, regular life. If I can find a balance between posting perfectly styled photos and normal, everyday life, I’ll be happy :)

  51. Donna G March 19, 2018 at 10:11 am #

    Instagram was one of the first social media things I got. The other was Pinterest. I just recently got Facebook. I’m very intentional about who or what I follow, because GIGO! And I follow you, because your posts make me happy. I follow my nieces, because I don’t see them enough as they are getting older. And I post pictures of my dog, and other things that make me smile.

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 10:26 am #

      Perfect. Whatever makes you smile!

  52. Kelly Davis March 19, 2018 at 10:10 am #

    I don’t get caught up in the comparison so much, but I find my mind was exhausted from the constant scrolling. I personally needed a break from all social media… too many “voices” from too many directions.

    Thanks for sharing this post, I think it is always helpful to hear others views and help define our own :-)

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 10:27 am #

      Totally. I have had moments lately where I just get this sense that I need to quiet all the noise around me – the things I allow into my life that clutter up my brain. I think I’m getting old :)

  53. Tami March 19, 2018 at 10:05 am #

    Welcome to your 40s!! Every year will become more and more freeing.

    Suggestion: Turn off ALL phone notifications. The only time my phone makes noise is if a text comes through. And the important people have a separate tone so I know i should look ASAP. My phone does not even ring (rarely an issue unless the school is calling because someone is sick oops) ….

    I just went to Instagram and was able to delete about 100 accounts …. I know a lot of them were probably even suggestions from you so i felt bad. Question – did you suggest Nikki Grandy? For some reason I thought she was a friend of a friend of mine so I was shocked at one point to see she had so many followers and I was like “how did I get here?” And for the life of me I cannot remember how or why i found her! Lol. But I love following her.

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 10:29 am #

      Yay for 40’s! I’m not quiiiiite there, but very close :) And so far, I am loving the lead-up.

      I don’t remember suggesting Nikki Grandy, but her name is familiar. That’s the great thing … if you love following, keep it going!

  54. jaclyn Levy March 19, 2018 at 9:59 am #

    I love your candidness on this important topic. I’ve been struggling with the ‘gram. I have a fitness-related account and follow a lot of fitness pages. Although most of the ones I follow are feminist, empowering, body positive, full of strong women doing strong things. but I’ve noticed that lately I feel fat- all the time- and I can’t help but wonder if it’s related to what I view on the gram. But I do feel guilty if I unfollow pages, like it reflects poorly on me for not being able to handle it. Sigh. As they say, the struggle is real!

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 10:32 am #

      Oh my goodness, I totally get it. Shouldn’t I be confident enough to not compare?! I remember in high school being so into fashion magazines and obsessed with supermodels. At one point I remember just feeling so bad about myself that I decided to cut fashion magazines from my life. I literally have not bought or even read one in over 20 years. And I’m okay with it! We all have our weaknesses and while I’m doing what I can to grow in confidence and my identity, I also know there are things that trip me up and it’s okay to remove those. So I say, unfollow. It does not make you weak, it shows you are taking care of yourself.

  55. Pam March 19, 2018 at 9:58 am #

    I’m with Rachel! It’s beautiful and inspiring. I was beta with Instagram so I’ve been there from the beginning. My numbers are small small followers small following. My photos are well great. I know this because of the people I’ve attracted, I feel like the best kept secret :). I use it to catch up with family on the other coast. I’ve made friendships from Instagram. Now I’ve got a second account for my new brick and mortar store I’m using it to help grow my business. I can give it 30 min a day over coffee and move on with my day

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 10:33 am #

      I want in on your best kept secret! What is your account?

      • Sheila Pearson March 19, 2018 at 11:15 am #

        Hey, me too. 😊

  56. Betsy W. March 19, 2018 at 9:51 am #

    Great thoughts, Emily! I tell my friends that I’m a bit of an Instagram snob, because when I joined a little later than others, I decided to be pretty limited in who I follow. Two of my friends frequently enter giveaways, which require them to tag friends and follow new accounts. They are very “in the know,” and I am not. I’ve followed a few new businesses in this way, but I’ve found it has cluttered my feed more than I would like. I don’t regret keeping it clean! I’m also a fan of not allowing notifications for anything. There’s no reason why I need to be a slave to my various accounts. I can choose to check them when I want to. I’m glad you’ve found a good system that works for you. 😊

  57. Carolyn March 19, 2018 at 9:43 am #

    I have been on Instagram for several years and currently only follow 329 accounts. They are mostly about things or people outside of my personal circle that interest me, whether it’s art, the travel, cooking, or dogs. I follow for the quality of the photography or for the message. Rarely do I have personal friends’ accounts on IG (isn’t that what Facebook is for?) so those photos don’t clog up what I am seeing on IG. Thanks for letting me share. Love your style (yes, I follow you!).

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 10:33 am #

      I like your system. And thanks for following :)

  58. Donnie March 19, 2018 at 9:40 am #

    I took your advice several weeks ago and turned off the notifications for messenger – oh – such peace! I check it a couple tomes a day. Can’t say I’ve missed anything earth shattering because I’m not obsessively looking at my phone every time it makes s noise. I don’t use Instagram much, so have not formed a lot of bad habits.

    I find I can easily get obsessive about some of there “helps” and social media sites.

    Thanks for the great advice for me, looks like you know what you need to do for yourself!

    Appreciate you.

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 10:34 am #

      Thanks, Donnie.

  59. Elizabeth March 19, 2018 at 9:38 am #

    My sister found herself doing this same thing- getting lost in the feeds just scrolling scrolling scrolling so now she lets herself have it just once a week and gets caught up on everyones pictures during that time. She actually deletes/redownloads the app every week lol.

    • Debbie March 19, 2018 at 11:03 am #

      Wow! That’s a pretty radical way to handle a social medium! I may think about that for myself….

  60. Trista Dunbat March 19, 2018 at 9:36 am #

    Thank you for this. It was a needed heart to heart for me also. I am actually super new to Instagram and am using it to further my lettering but am feeling so much of what you are saying. I am glad to know I am human and others have similiar as struggles and feelings. Loved this!

  61. Danielle Hart March 19, 2018 at 9:35 am #

    I’ve never tried Instagram and I waited for years to try Pinterest and hated it at first (the boards felt so cluttered!) I feel like what you’re saying hear could be applied to my experiences with Pinterest and to some extent Facebook. I love how Pinterest helps me find tutorials or recipes for my specific dietary restrictions. But Pinterest and Facebook (and really any social media) can be quite the rabbit hole. I try to limit my time and frequency on these accounts so that I can recognize my reality for what it is, celebrating life’s highlights and improving the things I don’t like. Once Pinterest and Facebook no longer support me in doing so, they’ll be deleted from my life.

    Thanks for all the great ideas Emily Jones and for a place to share my five cents!

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 10:35 am #

      You’re welcome! Let’s have the tools serve us, rather than us feeling like we ‘need’ them in our lives :)

  62. Rachel Schindler March 19, 2018 at 9:20 am #

    I love love love instagram. I don’t get the, I feel so bad when I see someone’s post and it makes me feel inadequate. Before social media, there was Martha Stewart and a bunch of magazines I would watch and read religiously. I never once thought, I would stop watching Martha (the old Martha) because she was amazing and made me feel inadequate. She was inspirational and made me motivated to create beautiful parties, etc. Even if my parties, didn’t equal to or go beyond what she did, it was fun creating my own party with using some of her ideas. And magazines, oh dear, I have binders full of stuff I would tear out, to recreate or dream about doing some of these things that I loved that they had put in the pages for me to drool over. I follow and unfollow accounts all the time. It’s my perogative and has nothing to do with that person at the other end. Just like blogs, magazines, instagram, or Martha Stewart, they motivate me to create a beautiful life.

    • emily March 19, 2018 at 9:33 am #

      I love this perspective. Sometimes I think I take things too seriously that are just meant to be fun :)

    • Debbie March 19, 2018 at 11:06 am #

      Same. Any Instagram account I follow is always on probation. I unfollow liberally.

  63. Jen March 19, 2018 at 5:22 am #

    This! I did the same thing in January. I went a little further and deleted my account; for all the reasons you mentioned. I had the same feelings and I didn’t like it, plus I was just scrolling, scrolling…

    I’ve since returned to insta (after 3 mos off) and really think about the accounts I choose to follow, but also keep my feelings in check regarding content.

    On side note, if me a woman in her 40’s can still feel this way-what does it do to our kids? Mine don’t have it yet, but I know they will want it soon enough.

  64. Cindy B March 19, 2018 at 5:22 am #

    So, I’m relatively new to IG (don’t even have a photo of myself, and have only posted a few times, as I don’t need it for business/work). In this case, I’m a follower! I do follow several celebs – generally people whose posts make me laugh or smile, bloggers I read regularly, and friends/family/former exchange students and internationals we’ve hosted. In reality, I’m using IG to replace FB, which I had to leave when the political discourse got too ugly. That doesn’t seem to have happened on IG, at least not in the spaces I inhabit. But I think any online time, like life, is about intentionality – what am I here to do? Do I want to connect, laugh, be inspired? And I never use alerts – too distracting! But again, I don’t need to post for my job, and don’t need the numbers!

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