When I found out we were getting Brodie, I ‘jokingly’ set up an instagram account for our new puppy. My thoughts were that I didn’t want to bombard my family and friends with constant pictures and videos of said new puppy.
I’ve always been a creative person from drawing to baking and I had a previously gone on a short photography course. So Brodie’s Instagram naturally became a creative outlet for me. I was obsessed with my new puppy and I was taking photographs and videos at every opportunity, he quickly stole a piece of my heart and I just wanted to share him with everyone.
Managing My Dog’s Social Media
For me, managing his social media is nothing but a positive experience; we have connected with so many people who we may never have done. We are part of a community of people who 99% of the time lift each other up. We have become Dog Furiendly Explorers, a member of Scottish Instagram Dogs and a brand rep for Seth’s Bows and Top pooch. All because of social media.
However, I am now more aware than ever of the impact social media can have on someone’s mental health and never did I think that I would have had this realisation through my dog’s social media.
I have been and I am still in what would be considered an engagement group(s). Whenever you post you comment in the group, everyone within the group can comment/like your post and you can do the same in return. This sounds in essense like harmless fun, and a great way to connect with other accounts, right?
But then come the comparsions…
- You have how many followers?
- You have how many likes on your last post?
- How did you get shared on this big account?
As a society we have began to measure our success on how many likes and followers we have. And yes that is having an impact on your mental health. We put too much pressure on ourselves to be ‘instagrammable’ and in return begin to question our worth based on factors outwith our control.
Too many times I have seen or heard people delete cute pictures of their dogs because it doesn’t have ‘enough’ likes. Too many times I have been asked how do I get more followers. Too many times I have heard i’m losing followers, or I’m not gaining enough. And really at the end of the day, who cares!? No-one but you.
So consider this, is your dog’s popularity on instagram worth your mental health?
They way I see it is, I post content I love, pictures I love and videos I love.
- Does how much I love them depend on how many likes it recieves? NO.
- Does the love for my dog vary depending on how many followers he has? NO.
- Does this bring me joy? YES.
- And does it bring me joy regardless of what people think? YES
Which brings me to my last question?
- Would you continue to persue a hobby/interest if it was having a negative impact on your mental health? NO.
Social media is no different. Here are some tips to help you put your mental health before social media.
4 Tips To Tackle Social media & Mental health
1. Make use of ‘Unfollow’ and ‘Mute’
The best part about social media is that it can be whatever you want it to be. Follow those you’re closest to, keep the accounts that inspire you and don’t be afraid to unfollow or mute those who just add noise to your feed. What your brain consumes digitally has more of an impact on your wellbeing than you may think.
2. Limit Screen Time
Hold yourself accountable for the amount of time you spend on your phone. Most new phones come with ‘screen time’ recorders which can even notify you once you’ve reached a certain amount. Try to cut back gradually until you’re down to an amount you’re happy with!
3. Don’t Get Caught Up On Content
Try not to get caught up in the content, and remember it’s a place to highlight your best bits, your memories. It’s not a representation of you or your dog’s life. Even the best doggy Instagram feeds are probably struggling with a lot of the same worries, fears and thoughts as you are. Remember this while comparing content from other accounts and be kind to others!
4. Likes And Follows Don’t Define You
Don’t obsess over a photo that had zero, or very few, likes. It’s not a reflection of you, your dog or your photo. Overthinking it isn’t healthy – in fact, it’s pretty damn toxic.
Remember you and your dog’s worth is not (and will never be) measured by the number of likes you get or followers you have. Think about it, the photo with your dog at the beach doesn’t change the fun and happiness you had together. You’re dog doesn’t care about the likes and neither should you.
Oh and when you’re 90 years old with another gorgeous pooch by your side you won’t be looking back at the lack of Instagram likes. But you will be looking back at the memories spent with your old dog, and real-life moments in general.
Take a break or give it up completely. Your mental health is more important than any amount of likes or followers you or your dog has. And remember that it is ok not to be ok, but please reach out to someone if you ever need support.
I started our dogs Instagram as I felt like I was spamming my personal page with dog photos! I only have around 700 followers and have met so many lovely people through being an explorer for Dog Furiendly too. We recently went “viral” so to speak on TikTok and I felt like I need to respond to everyone who comments on the video and I feel bad if I miss someone! I now have over 5000 followers on TikTok and as much as I would love that much exposure on IG I think I would feel a lot more pressure to keep my level of posting high to meet expectations from going “viral” I am happy with my lil community and post for me and to share adventures I’ve been on with my boyfriend and the boys.
Mamma uses my Instagram as a diary. She likes to look back and reflect on all the adventures we get up to! She’s not fussed about likes/ comments as much these days and can’t keep up with all the story challenges we are sent but that’s ok! We just share the photos we love for us 🙂
That’s the best way to look at it. I think that shows to people looking at your account how much fun you have ?
Love this blog! We’ve been posting on Opie’s Instagram since he was a week old so it’s more of a catalogue of memories for us that we can look back on as he grows. We live in a world with so much pressure and it’s good to be able to distance away from that. I purely use Instagram because I enjoy posting and seeing other people’s posts too… that’s what it’s all about. X
So glad I stumbled across this blog post. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately and has been so nice to get some advice on how to manage my time on social media so it stays a positive thing, both for Monty’s instagram and my personal account. Thank you for writing about this as it’s so important! <3
This is a great blog! I too have found as our account grows so does the pressure. The pressure for what exactly? We too started our account as a bit of fun & got a bit lost recently with why we had our doggie insta. Took a step back & completely agree that you shouldn’t feel guilty about saying no or unfollowing. It’s an amazing community & if it doesn’t make us feel good it’s not doing what we set out to do!
Thank you for writing about this and inviting people to check in on their mental health. My pawrent is a Clinical Psychologist and values any opportunity to talk about mental health and well-being. This is really important to consider when using social media! Thank you for sharing your experiences.
Love this. It’s so true that the pressure for new content, the perfect photo and a cute new harness is ridiculous and something we totally impose on ourselves. My dog doesn’t even know he has an Instagram account let alone care how many followers he has. I’ve made some fantastic friends through insta but also think it’s good to remind myself sometimes to focus on the real world rather than the social media one!?
That’s a great way to look at it!