Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the barrage of content online? It’s as if every time you open up a website or social media platform, you’re assaulted by this array of images, texts, videos and so much more.
You hardly have time to process one byte of data before your senses are overloaded with yet another flood of images, videos, text information and notifications. If you’re spending so much time on consuming content, when do you get the time to actually internalize and reflect on what you’ve just read/viewed?
Nowhere was this brought home to me more powerfully than when I looked at my own Instagram account. Earlier this week, on my Instagram page, I was more than a bit taken aback when I observed that I’d published over 1922 posts on the social media platform over the last 7 years. For those wondering, that works out to approximately 274 posts a year. And this is after taking at least 5 months away from social media in 2021 alone!
Usually, each post takes me about 15 minutes to create. That includes designing the image on Canva, downloading it to my desktop, uploading it to the Instagram grid and writing out the caption.
15 minutes multiplied by 1922 equals 28,830 minutes. In other words, that’s 480 hours of content creation time that I have spent on drafting posts for Instagram over 7 years. Bear in mind that I don’t even spend any time making Instagram reels. Those are all far more time-consuming, as you may already be aware.
That’s also not including the time I spend on the platform engaging with people, responding to comments, replying to Direct Messages or posting on Instagram stories. I don’t even want to venture a guess as to how much time that could be taking. Doing this exercise and analysis gave me pause, on multiple fronts.
What was I doing, exactly? Why was I having this overwhelming need to post so frequently? It wasn’t for the validation, I can assure you. Or . . .maybe it was, without my even realizing it?
Just imagine if I’d invested that time and effort in perhaps writing a book on the subjects that I talk about. Or maybe spent that time in other pursuits such as reading, learning something new or cooking. For what it’s worth, I actually started doing all those things in the latter half of 2021 after realizing how much of my days and weeks were being spent on social media alone.
What I Did with my Own Content
Anyway, as soon as I realized the massive number of posts on Instagram, I went about archiving or deleting content from the page. It was a strangely exhilarating experience.
I started with pictures of flowers, sunsets, my workouts and walks that I had taken followed by random images of my culinary experiments. Why did I imagine people were interested in my cooking or my sunset images? I wasn’t/ never will be a food blogger or a travel enthusiast. Both these groups of creators have a valid reason to post such pictures. As for me? That’s just me being a pretentious show-off!
After that to go were photos of me. I can’t tell you how many selfies of me there were on the platform coupled with pictures of me winning awards, asking for votes on a contest and much more. If ever there was a study on narcissism in business owners, I’d have made a perfect candidate.
Next on the deletion list was all content related to new blog posts or updates on my website. Finally, I started deleting content that I was no longer talking about such as Pinterest, affiliate marketing, making money from your blog, joining an ad network and so on. All of this took over three hours but it’s now down to less than 800 posts. That’s still way too much, in my opinion, and I’m intending to cut down even further as the weeks unfold.
In fact, as I look back at the posts in January 2022, I realized I’ve published 19 posts in 20 days. Almost a post a day. Is there really any necessity to post that often? More and more I am beginning to believe that it’s not the case.
A Conscious Intention Towards Content Minimalism
So, what does this mean going forward, for me as a content creator? This year is different from every year before it.
For one thing, as a blogger, I have posted for the first time on my blog today, on the 20th of January, after a 3-month hiatus. While that wasn’t really intentional, I do appreciate that I’ve given myself this space to reflect on what truly makes an impact for my audience before deciding to put it up here.
For another, as a business owner, I am finding a great deal of calm in allowing myself this energy to invest my time where it matters. Fascinatingly enough, a lot of that time has been spent in non-business tasks such as walking regularly, reading more books and cooking up a veritable storm in the kitchen. Paradoxically though, they actually wind up helping my business because they give me the time away to understand how I can bring value to my content.
And finally, as a social media creator, this is when I need to think about my frequency of posting content the way I have over the last 7 years. Perhaps the time has come for me to take a deep breath, step back and keep my posts to a gentle, minimal rhythm.
As the year unfolds, I would like to see where this intention takes me as a creator and business owner. Perhaps minimalism as a creator will also help me with minimalism as a consumer. At least, it’s worth trying.
Ideas for You
What can you do in the realm of content minimalism? I’d love for you to answer this yourself. First, begin with why you feel so overwhelmed, especially in the digital space. Is it because you have too many accounts or content distribution channels?
If so, take a good, long, hard look at them and determine which of them are worth retaining. For instance, in 2021, it was time for me to bid goodbye to both Twitter and Facebook. I deleted both accounts and along with it, all of the content I’d published on both platforms for over a decade each. While that may seem drastic on the face of it, honestly, I don’t miss any of what I’d posted.
Finally, after you’ve made the decision, stick with it and don’t have any regrets. I always remember what my husband told me back in 2016 when it appeared that a technical glitch had wiped out my website (this website) on which I’d written blog posts over 11 years.
He looked me in the eye and said:
‘The content may be gone; you aren’t. Start over. Write it all again over the next 10 years.’
I am not the first person to talk about the idea of content minimalism. You will find some wonderfully written articles on the topic below.
Minimalism in Social Media: How Often should you Really Post? By Get Social
The Move Towards Information and Content Minimalism by David Stokman
What is Minimalist Content Marketing? by Brittany Berger
How to Do a Digital Decluttering of your Phone, Social Media and Desktop
Hi, I’m Shailaja, a blogger who’s been writing since 2007. My interests include books of all kinds, digital minimalism, veganism, health, nutrition, fitness and staying open to learning all the time. Welcome! Click here if you’d like an email when I publish new posts