Social media is a powerful tool for connectivity. Through it, we can meet new friends, keep up with trends of interest, learn, find support, and so much more. It can also overtake our lives, insert stress and anxiety, get us into drama we wouldn’t have found without it, and at the worst, become a maladaptive coping strategy for the lives we’re not thriving in.
Today, I challenge you to take care of yourself by de-cluttering your personal social media accounts. (Business social media has very different rules, so I’m not addressing that set of beasts.) At the very least, de-clutter the notifications and your personal feed. Reclaim the space to live your life beyond an electronic screen. Think about how much time you spend “doom scrolling,” as a friend of mine calls it. Don’t feel like I’m judging you, either! I’m JUST as bad. Discord is my fatal weakness.
Here are some suggestions to help:
- I’m sure we’ve all heard it, but; manage your notifications. There is no such thing as a social media platform that does not allow you to determine which notifications you receive. If you don’t know how to manage the options, just google it, and you’ll find the answer right away.
- You have how many friends? Unless you’re running a business platform, odds are you’ve got far more followers and people you follow than you can possibly keep up with.
- Facebook: Unfriend anyone you haven’t interacted with in more than a year. (Or go for the god-tier purge and ditch anyone who hasn’t spoken in 6 months.) No interaction means no likes, comments, conversations, etc. If you have someone who hits like or shares everything you post, keep them around. If you find, like me, that the woman you met at a conference five years ago and never spoke to again is still listed … drop them. It makes your feed cleaner, and you’ll see more of the people you DO interact with.
- Twitter: Same rules apply. Also, review the topics you follow. Twitter ALWAYS adds in these topics I have NO interest in. I just looked at mine and NFL was in there. Uhhh… I do not sports ball. Go clean those up. Then look at who you’re following. See anyone you don’t remember following or why you followed them? You know what to do!
- Blogs: Yes, this is a blog. I know. Still, if you’re not reading posts regularly, why are you subscribed to a blog? Bookmark the post you want to re-read and clear up that feed some.
- Leave groups that no longer serve you! Did you join a group while pregnant, then stop checking after you had your child, who is now starting school? Leave the group. What about the group that has never-freaking-ending drama about every-freaking-thing all day, every day? (Admit it, we all end up with at least one of those at some point.) Leave it. Just cut those ties. If there’s someone in the group you like, find a way to contact them outside of the group.
- Where you can, mute topics that upset you. Take it a step further and mute the people who bring stress into your life. I wish I’d done this ages ago when I was writing fanfics and got blasted by a few little girls who suddenly decided it was their mission to chase me away from writing. They loved the stories until they found out I was old enough to be their mother, and then they freaked out. What I SHOULD have done at the time was to mute them and continue enjoying my little hobby. What I DID at the time was let them upset me so much I quit writing, despite having an abiding love for the characters and world they were from. MUTE/BLOCK/IGNORE would have meant keeping on with the fun I was having.
- Look for and prioritize the people you’ve connected with. For me, this would include an editor I’ve worked with, coworkers from previous companies that I stay in touch with, and of course, immediate family and close friends. I’m not the most savvy with social media, but I understand you can make lists on Twitter, which sounds extra handy. Make a list for cooking, one for star-gazing, and one for that show you secretly love though everyone else hated it.
Realistically, the way the algorithms change on social media, it’s probably a good idea to look at your accounts once or twice a year. Tweak them so they add to your life instead of taking away from it, and remember, it’s okay to delete a contact you have lost touch with. There’s no fault or flaw in you for doing so. If anyone says there is, if anyone acts offended, you can always add them back if you must. But be sure you must.