If you’re wanting to wean yourself off of social media sites, this is not the post for you.
For many of us–especially during 2020–, social media is our water cooler. It’s our time to socialize, have a coffee break, and interact with the outside world.
I absolutely love social media. Woe to the person who says it’s all bad and we’re destroying society because these aren’t in-person friendships. I could go on and on about how the written word in any form has been the bedrock of relationships since the 14th century BCE.
I’ve made friendships and strengthened friendships on social networks.
However, I’ve also come to loathe some people. It’s unfortunate that they are the way they are and not the way I am. But, there’s only so much we can do to reform them (hard wink).
When we log onto social media, aren’t we looking for a good experience? Something that when we shut it off has made us feel positive, informed, or part of something bigger?
The word “detox” implies we want to get away from things and people who are toxic. As someone who swept her social media, I can tell you this has made a drastic difference.
Here’s a step-by-step:
Figure out why you are on social media.
What is your reason for logging on? Are you nosy? Do you enjoy telling people what they are wrong about and why? Do you want to spread information or political agendas? All of these are valid, so you’re not going to get chastised here.
That’s the one thing we should all be aware of: social media is to be used however we want. You might be tempted to answer, “I want to see the beauty of people’s souls,” or “I want to keep in touch with friends or family.” But there is usually an additional reason or two that doesn’t sound as sunny but is legitimate.
Just because I detest what some people post on social media doesn’t mean it’s not valid. I’m responsible for what I take away from it. Or, better yet, what I see.
Every week, one Facebook friend or another talks about how terrible some of their “friends” are. I have been there. In fact, outspoken me has had some landmine posts explode over the last few years.
Stepping back and really focusing on the reason why I was on social media helped me redesign it for MY needs.
Here are my suggestions for Maria Kondo-ing your social media:
Keep = People who have a positive impact on you by giving you: something to think about, nice personal insights into their lives, a good feeling about them when you see their name pop up.
Hide or snooze = Those who fulfill the “Keep” requirements but perhaps post more than what you like, they are just on your nerves but aren’t anyone you want to get rid of, or you are obliged by way or family or work to keep them around. (Notice I said family or work. Notice it doesn’t say anything else.)
Uhhhh Bye-Buhyee = People, who when you see their name or face appear, do not contribute to your life in a positive way.
Why do we feel we need to stay connected to people who get our blood boiling or waste our time by arguing with us over everything? Why must I, and you, remain polite by not unfriending them if they are not being polite in return? If it is for moral high ground or that’s the way we were taught – social media was not around when we were taught how to handle people. New Rules!
Unfriending litmus test.
- Have you seen this person in the last 10 years?
- Will you be seeing this person more than at an occasional school reunion in your future?
- Did they friend you to immediately try and sell you something?
- If they have argued or said something negative on your posts, how many times have they said something nice or liked your family photos?
- Do they express the opposite of your values?
We are not obliged to let someone into our headspace or water cooler talk just because we went to high school with them. Facebook was launched as “the great social experiment.” You get to control the variables.
Every platform needs its own mission statement, so figure out why you are on Twitter. For me, it is seeing breaking news, odd news, and connecting with writers. Friendship is less of a priority on Twitter.
Because it can be a particularly vicious platform, and it is based on algorithms, here are some tips:
- Follow those who you respect, admire, find funny, etc.
- Click on daily trends that align with what your interests are. Twitter sees what you did and will bring like-minded posts into your view.
- Be cautious about thinking no one is reading your tweets. Not only can some tweets be targets for those who disagree, but, again, every move you make on Twitter tweaks what will show up for you.
- Enjoy that mute and block button. These aren’t your friends, so designing your online Twitter world doesn’t have the same social ramifications of other platforms.
- Limit your time. Seeing a juicy tweet and following the drama as it unfolds is hard to resist. If you need to be on Twitter for business or for building a following, use schedulers like Hootesuite and Buffer. You won’t end up losing an hour reading a stranger’s drama. Although, when you do have the time…
If you’re having trouble on Instagram, I’m not sure what to say there. It’s a pretty harmless platform.
For me, Instagram is like Pinterest. I can get an instant mood lift by looking at a bright and cheery image. All I have to do is go to the hashtag #sunny or #flowers or #books or #puppies, follow a few accounts, and my whole outlook changes.
Your social media is yours. Curate it the same way you would your wardrobe. Seek out what fits and makes you the best version of yourself.