With over half a million active users daily and a bucketload of features, Instagram is undoubtedly an incredible social media platform. No arguments on that. An ideal platform to express yourself and connect with your circle of friends.
But the current Instagram system has faltered. The healthy relationships and the mental health of users are at stake because of the numerous fake news floating around, commercialization of the platform, and sensationalized posts prioritizing money over genuine connections.
More users are taking a break from social media platforms, especially Instagram. But if you are a creator on the platform or someone who uses it daily hoping to consume valuable content, a detox might not be feasible. But! There are some ways that can help you ensure a less toxic experience on the gram.
Tailoring Your Explore Section
The Instagram algorithm works in a way that it identifies your interests and tailors the explore section accordingly. It curates content based on your previous browsing history. If you are someone wondering why your explore page looks like your backyard dump, trust me, you are not alone. About a year back, my explore section was filled with irrelevant content from various accounts. It was not satisfying whenever I popped up the explore feed.
The workaround is simple. Make sure you engage (liking or sharing) only with content that truly appeals to you. Do it more often to trigger the Instagram AI to understand your new preferences. You’ll start noticing the difference in the explore section in no time.
Reel Life. Not Real Life
I cannot stress enough how important it is to differentiate between reel life and real life. Not everything you see on Instagram is the reality. Period. The photos that your friends upload are just moments in their lives. It does not reflect in any way their real-life situation. You do not have to compare yourself with others on Instagram. When you start with the comparison, insecurities creep in, which can alter your mental state for the worse. Have a broad mind and be smart about what you see.
Taking It On A Lighter Note
You are scrolling through Instagram, and you come across memes that tickle your funny bone, you come across inspirational posts and wholesome content that makes you blissed out. Suddenly, you come across a post that you might consider offensive.
The post changes your impression of whoever had posted it and emotions flare up, making you leave a nasty comment under the post.
You could just scroll past, not take it too seriously because most of the content out there can be laughed off or ignored. In case, if the content is highly inappropriate, report it. If you think it is necessary to leave feedback, you can probably send the person a constructive message. Keep things straightforward.
The Fake Warriors
You may have guessed it. I am referring to the keyboard warriors found in abundance on Instagram. As stated online, a keyboard warrior likes to abuse and express aggression against others on the internet, typically concealing their identity. Firstly, it is not wise to jump in and give your opinions every single time because hardly healthy discussions take place on Instagram. On top of that, when you know you are involved in a heated debate with a keyboard warrior, end it before it gets more ugly. The keyboard warriors are looking for their few seconds of fame. Should you be contributing as well?
Keep scrolling through, enjoy the comments, and maybe drop a like on one. If you really want to leave your 2 cents, stick to the facts and control your emotions.
Pages That Add Value
It’s crucial to ensure that your feed is filled with positive content only. Check the pages you are following on Instagram. Are there pages that only post depressing content and spread only negativity? Are there pages that provide no value and are least motivating?
Unfollow. Keep unfollowing and clean out your feed as much as possible. Allow me to emphasize this. Follow pages that share common interests with you, making you feel good when you go through their content. Anything less is not worth your time.
The So-Called Influencers
Influencers’ lives are all glitz and glam to the outside world. Their lives appear to be perfect.
Once you realize that they make a living off Instagram promoting various brands and live a normal life just like we all do behind the screen, there is no problem. But if their inaccurate depiction of reality brings in self-doubt and anxiety, then things start heading south.
Back in the days, the whole concept of influencers struck only a positive impression. Right now, the scenario is different. We have fashion influencers who have horrible fashion sense, fitness influencers consuming steroids to build that god-like physique, and “make more money” influencers who claim to help you make a million within a matter of a few weeks.
Now don’t get me wrong. Not all influencers are phoney. Like two sides to a coin, there are amazing influencers too striking a positive impact on the users’ lives. You must differentiate between the real and the fake influencers because the sooner you do, the better your Instagram experience would be.
The Golden Mute Feature
Instagram introduced the mute feature back in 2018. To be frank, I never realized the true potential of this feature until recently. For those who don’t know about this feature, it lets you mute your IG friends’ stories or posts without you having to unfollow them. This is a boon when you want to mute people who shitpost every day or infuse toxicity into your feed. You don’t necessarily have to unfollow them because you might want to get in touch with them in the future.
Curbing False Information
Instagram has become a hotbed of fake news. We all have experienced that at some point in time. One reason in particular why fake news is being circulated widely is because users fail to cross-check the authenticity of the content before re-sharing.
We think that because our friend shared a post; it is bound to be the truth. Whether there is any genuineness to the content is of secondary priority.
You could do two things to identify fake news and possibly curb the spread. You could scroll through the comments of the post to check the authenticity. Alternatively, you could fact check the context via reliable sources.
Disinformation, hoaxes, and fake news create unnecessary outrage taking a toll on our mental health.
Reducing Instagram toxicity requires a careful and conscious effort. We might slip away from time to time, but slowly we can bring about a change. It is time to take care of our mental sanity. We are all in this together. We got this.