When social media stops sparking joy – why it’s ok to unfollow on Instagram

Written by Jenny Wu
Jenny Wu

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  1. Maria says:

    I haven’t done this to my IG account, but I completely quit my FB page because I couldn’t stand all the drama. I’ve been so much happier ever since I quit FB for good. I only interact with friends and family in real life, not onFB. I completely relate to your post :)

    • Jenny says:

      Same here, I feel like none of my friends are even on Facebook anymore, so I don’t bother with mine except for a few shopping groups I’m in where people share their finds from Costco/Trader Joe’s, haha

  2. Especially in the golden age of content, I think it’s so important that we not try to consume everything, but to instead be very intentional about what we consume, for the sake of our time and for the sake of our mental health!

    I’ve blocked a few accounts that Instagram always pushes on my Explore page; they’re usually huge accounts though, so I make peace with the fact that it’s barely a loss for them. Instagram seems to think that I want to see more of the same thing, but that is the complete opposite of what I want! I want to see different things that inspire me in new ways! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    • Jenny says:

      Absolutely! I feel like Instagram keeps pushing the same accounts on my explore page as well, some I’m genuinely interested in, but others not so much, which is why I don’t even bother looking there anymore. Like you, I’d love to see more variety and new accounts instead!

  3. I am in love with this article. I would have never been able to write and express myself so well regarding this topic. :)

  4. Allie Mackin says:

    I both agree and disagree with this. I feel like I would need an example of how an account is toxic. Not sure about the whole bringing joy trip I don’t take it THAT seriously. It is a job in a sense–maintaining it that is. Going to the beach brings me joy or spending time with friends not IG.

    That said, what is worse honesty is all the faking and the exploitation and gaming that goes on. And the habit of people who follow someone just to unfollow them a few days later after they had the courtesy of following them back and sadly it is almost always female fashion and beauty influencers that do this. Though now everyone is doing it. This alone has driven down engagement as everyone is aware of it and now no one trusts anyone–there is no community only competition.

    I actually keep a running list of people who I follow back. And in many cases after a week or so they unfollow sometimes even sooner in a day or two I know as I check.

    But this has much to do with IG’s opaque mean girls burn book approach keeping everything hidden. Though having to do what I do is time consuming so it keeps you on the platform longer which like FB is the goal.

    I only block ghost accounts which follow me as we all know IG algorithm only shows your posts to %20 of you followers (so if a chunk of them are ghost followers that me means even less) until you prove that it should be shown to more then %20 which of course keeps you on the platform longer. Which like you said is for another post…

    Allie of

    • Jenny says:

      I think the idea of toxic is different for everyone, the same with what sparks joy. It’s not so much that IG has to make me happier, but i want it to be an enjoyable activity.

      For me personally I want to feel inspired and uplifted when I’m scrolling through my feed, but certain accounts just don’t do that, and again this is all subjective and it’s not to say those accounts are awful, but I just don’t like their content and realized I was following them because it was the polite thing to do.

      I do agree with you on the follow unfollow, I’ve had accounts do that to me multiple times that I’ve blocked them as well. At this point I don’t bother following anyone back unless I genuinely enjoy their content and can tell they feel the same way.

      Thank you for the thorough feedback, it’s really eye opening (and disappointing) to see how Instagram went from a simple photo sharing app to a platform with so much scheming and mistrust.

  5. Jessica says:

    This is so on point dear, and I couldn’t agree more. We gotta know when to breakaway from things that don’t do good in our state of mind.

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

  6. Radi says:

    So true in the end of the day is all about doing what makes you happy!


  7. Gabrielle says:

    I really love some of the points you’ve brought up in this post! Social media, after all, is supposed to be a happy part of life and so anything that takes away from that needs to… simply put… go! Wise words, girl :)

    aglassofice.com x

  8. Jessica says:

    I totally understand where you’re coming from. It feels good to only follow accounts that you love! I wish I could unfollow a lot of accounts…lol. But I tend to be more on the side of trying to support other bloggers in my niche for the sake of community- even if I don’t totally love their content. BUT I definitely don’t follow accounts that make me feel bad about myself. I use the “mute” option on Instagram for when I get tired of seeing someone’s content but don’t necessarily want to unfollow.

  9. Thank you for this! I’m still fairly new to instagram but I can totally understand what you’re saying because I’m experiencing the same thing right now. It’s hard because I want community but I don’t know where to find a genuine one in such a saturated field. I’m still trying to figure things out so it’s reassuring to know I’m not alone in this feeling!


  10. Mariya says:

    You know what? I’ve felt like this many times but how do you unfollow toxic people that you know you’re going to see somewhere? It’s so awkward when you see eachother and they know you’ve unfollowed them… I just can’t bring myself to do it, so I just mute their posts and stories! :(

    Mariya | http://www.brunetteondemand.com/burberry-scarf-replicas/

  11. Interesting post. It’s a good move to unfollow people that don’t spark joy – both in social media and in real life. I always like the idea of keeping my circle small. Thanks for sharing this insightful post.

    xx Sheryl | http://www.SeguraAndCo.com

  12. Elisa says:

    I really enjoyed this post and I totally agree with you, it is totally unnecessary to follow people who don’t spread joy or positive vibes (or who simply are not doing anything interesting to us).
    Thank you for the read!
    xx Elisa

  13. Gemma Etc. says:

    Such a great post! People take it so personally when someone unfollows them, but it doesn’t make sense to follow people just for the sake of it xx


  14. I understand how you feel – th need to “support” other creators in the same niche even though their content just makes you sigh and get stressed out is real. I try not to follow for mere “support” in the first place, but get sucked in over and over again. I guess I need to spring clean my following too.

  15. Rowena says:

    I guess that PS article resonated with you as much as it did with me Jenny! With such an oversaturation, social media burn out and exhaustion just seems inevitable these days. I’m glad to hear that you took action and that it has made you feel better. I cut down on social media as well as did a mass unfollowing across the board a few years ago and it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I can go for hours without looking at my phone and that’s a very liberating thing ;)

  16. Mai says:

    I completely agree! Recently I read Make Time: How to Focus on What Really Matters Every Day and for a week, I turned off all the notifications on my phone and dramatically reduced my screen time. I felt a lot freer and less stressed being so dependent on my phone. After a week, I still kept my notifications off but went through my Instagram and started unfollowing and muting a ton of people.

  17. Olga says:

    I do unfollow people a lot and I don’t really feel guilty about it. It doesn’t mean that I have any negative feelings towards those people, I just simply don’t enjoy their content. Mari Kondo-ing always works great no matter if we talk about our wardrobe or instagram :)

  18. shaira says:

    I have to agree with is. I cut my connection to people I do not want to see in Facebook for more than 3 years already and I felt more comfortable to the profiles I’m seeing now. It’s okay to feel that way and to do what just you want. It’s not being mean. It’s about being true to yourself. :)


  19. Hannah says:

    Oh Jenny I SO agree! I already suffer from a lot of confidence issues, especially with my weight and size (I’m not plus-sized but I’m heavier than I want to be from my meds). Anyway, I had to unfollow a lot of the big fashion bloggers or click “see fewer posts like these” on my explore page…because well, they show up on my explore page! I just felt so bad about how I will never be thin like them…even at my thinnest I will never be a size 0. My hips are wider and curvy. And they all looked the same (I don’t want to mention names): white, perfect hair and teeth, humblebragging about being a size 0 or XS (even after having kids! I have a feeling that I will look like a beached whale whenever I have kids) and promoting their likeittoknowit, always posing pigeon-toed with a Starbucks cup on their hand, taking vacations with a drink under a private cabana…I was starting to feel shitty about my life even though I have an awesome life. But then I realized that a lot of what their doing is fake…those vacations they take with their “blogger friends” are fake. They photoshop themselves to make themselves look thinner and more “perfect”.

    there is nothing wrong with being skinny, especially naturally petite like you are, but it’s just that these fashion bloggers have an inflated view of themselves!

    I have been much happier unfollowing some of them and pressing “see fewer post like these”. And oh Cooper is so cute too. For me, puppies always spark joy!

    Hannah the Mad Dog

  20. Lisa Autumn says:

    YES YES YES! I couldn’t agree more with you here girl!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

  21. Geniussr says:

    Thanks a lot for this wonderful post Jenny… it is such a joy and satisfaction reading it all… bitter but true…❤️


  22. Thank you for this, Jenny, it’s much needed by me. I have been unfollowing people on IG too, nothing personal but just because we don’t ‘click’ and I don’t enjoy their content. I don’t want to force myself to like and comment on a post that I don’t truly enjoy, it’s just fakery and I don’t want others to do the same to me too.

  23. becky says:

    Ayyyyyy long time no comment! I totally get what you mean – I was watching/listening to a video recently about why some artist doesn’t follow other artists on Instagram and it makes so much sense, cause they were constantly comparing themselves to others. I’m a huge sentimental sap so I have a lot of trouble unfollowing accounts haha, but I hope to get to that point someday because it just clutters my feed with things I’m uninterested in!

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