Less overwhelm, less anxiety, more cool stuff.
Anybody else bored with their Instagram feed?
I was tired of scrolling through the same mediocre posts from the same people and decided to do something about it.
What I did has made my feed more interesting, more valuable, less stressful, and even led me to see something I’ve never seen before.
Turns out it’s actually possible to get to the bottom of Instagram. Who knew?
Here’s how reinvent and improve your Instagram feed in four simple steps…
STEP 1: Unfollow (mostly) everybody.
Why dip your toes in the water when you can dive right into the deep end?
The first step to reinventing your Instagram feed is to unfollow EVERYBODY you currently follow and start with a clean slate.
Before you panic and run away from this post screaming, let me explain.
You don’t actually have to unfollow everybody.
The point of unfollowing everybody is to assess why your feed is boring you and to rebuild it with conscious decisions about the value each account you follow provides (or doesn’t).
In general, the fewer accounts you follow, the better your feed will become. But if the idea of unfollowing everybody makes you uncomfortable, here are a few other options:
- Rather than reinvent the Instagram feed of your personal account, do it with an alternate account you use or create a separate account solely to do this as an experiment. I chose to do it with my For The Interested newsletter Instagram accountwhere I wasn’t following friends/family as opposed to on my personal account where I do.
- If you write down or take screenshots of all the accounts you follow before you unfollow them, it’s easy to re-follow them down the road if you choose to do so. This makes it risk-free and you don’t actually have to lose anything.
- Even if you don’t unfollow anyone, the next steps will still improve your feed . But the more you thin the herd of your current followers, the more drastic the improvement will be.
STEP 2: Write a list of 20 topics that interest you.
Once you’ve (mostly) cleaned your slate, the next step is to decide what you’d actually like to see in your feed.
The best way to do this is to create a list of general topics that interest you.
Make the list be a blend of topics you already consume as well as a few more obscure things that you’re curious about.
For example, I’m a big fan of hip hop, work in marketing, and live in Los Angeles so topics related to those things were obvious choices for me.
But I also added more obscure topics which I rarely encounter but am curious about such as mythology and trees.
Be as specific as you want in describing your topics, but I recommend keeping them a little broad to allow flexibility when you get to the next step of choosing accounts to follow (more on that in a second).
There’s no magic to the number 20 — I picked it randomly because it felt big enough to cover a cross section of interests without being too overwhelming.
You can pick as many or few topics as you want.
Here are the 20 I chose:
- Hip hop
- Los Angeles
- Internet culture
- Books or libraries
- University of Maryland sports
STEP 3: Find one GREAT account related to each topic to follow.
Here comes the fun part.
For each topic on your list you’re going to follow a single Instagram account that posts interesting stuff related to it.
There are a few different ways to find great accounts.
- Search Google for articles that highlight great accounts related to that topic.
For example, searches for “Best Los Angeles Instagram accounts” or “Instagram accounts about history” led me to a slew of recommendations. Browse through them and pick ONE account to follow. For about 50% of the topics I chose I was able to find a great account to follow through Google searches. Here’s how I found the rest…
- Search Instagram hashtags or account names for accounts related to the topic you chose.
This can take a little longer than Google searches, but if you browse a bit you’ll find a bunch worth following. Again, only follow one account per topic.
- When you find an interesting account, consider how frequently they post.
If an account only posts once every six months, it’s probably not worth following because it will rarely contribute anything to your feed.
I only followed accounts that posted at least three times in the previous week, but you can set whatever frequency you want.
- Be open to following accounts that may not exactly match your initial topic, but are equally interesting.
For example, when I chose hip hop as a topic I assumed I’d follow a music account, but wound up discovering and following a hip hop photography account.
I originally thought my writing topic account would be something based around writing tips, but I wound up following an individual writer instead.
And my Internet Culture search somehow led me to a street artist.
Here are the accounts I wound up following for each of my topics:
- Comedy: Comedy Central Standup
- Hip hop: Chi Modu
- Movies: @screenplayed
- Writing: Paulo Coelho
- Spotify: Spotify for Artists
- History: History Cool Kids
- Food: Half Baked Harvest
- Photography: Street Classics
- Trees: Martin Podt
- Mythology: Norse Mythology and Culture
- Los Angeles: Infatuation LA
- Zen: Daily Stoic
- Internet culture: We’re Not Really Strangers
- Books or libraries: Paris Review
- Minimalism: The Minimalists
- Advertising: Vintage Advertising
- Water: Shawn Heinrichs
- Marketing: Marketoonist
- University of Maryland sports: Maryland football
- Celebrity: Questlove
STEP 4: Enjoy your amazing Instagram new feed!
As soon as you make these changes, you’ll be blown away at how much more interesting Instagram becomes for you.
And here’s the best part: If it ever gets stale for you, you can repeat the same process and shake it all up again.
If you give this process a try, leave a reply and share some of the interesting topics/accounts you discover and add to your feed so others can explore them as well — thanks!