Social Media has been on our minds, collectively, for quite some time. The Social Dilemma was one of the big hits on Netflix this year, and it’s become a regular thing to deactivate Facebook for a mental health break. Today I’d like to explore one way we can make Social Media a more positive landscape that we don’t need a break from.
I think a lot of our negative feelings about social media stem from who we follow, and how we wish for others to perceive us. I wonder how much our collective view of these tools for connection might shift if we put more intention and focus into who we befriend and follow in these online spaces.
While I personally have curated my own social media to be a place of positivity & authenticity, and I have set appropriate boundaries, it’s come to my attention that this isn’t the case for everyone. If you’re needing a break from Facebook or Instagram, maybe you can do a bit of curating before signing off . . . so when you return, it’s to a healthy online landscape.
I have a yearly tradition that I do around New Years every year. Dare to Dream – or “Living Our Dreams” is a process I recently wrote about on the Northern Edge Blog. As a part of this process, we are invited to take stock of everything we are ready to release, let go of, forgive; creating a ceremony to represent this release and move on in gratitude.
Every year, my personal ceremony evolves and is represented differently – often with some form of releasing through fire. As an extra step, I usually take the time to take stock of my social media and clear out what isn’t needed anymore.
Through taking these steps, I often remember people I’ve wanted to reconnect with and I reach out. I gently release those I’m no longer jiving with, or those who put me into “fight or flight” mode. I release those names I can’t put a face to, so that I can focus on the connections that I truly value.
As well: who are the people I’m performing for when I post? When I make a post, whose reaction am I worried about or curating that post for? Why? Good things to consider.
Who to keep following?
People who spark joy for you! People who you love. People whose ideas you appreciate, and who share positive things that you like. People who make you smile. People who bring up good memories and positive feelings.
Gaining the courage to let go
When we signed up for social media, we never agreed that “I will befriend every person I know in my day-to-day life, and I will continue following people I get uncomfortable vibes from, or barely know, or who make me feel bad about myself, because I don’t want to upset them or have negative consequences in my real life.”
If you’ve undergone the Konmari Method – you’ve learned how to identify what sparks joy for you, using the items in your home as practice, and you understand the importance of releasing what isn’t in alignment. Even if you haven’t – Now is a great time to expand on this practice, and explore who sparks joy for you. This is not meant to be mean-spirited – it’s an opportunity to step further into your truth.
Might there be consequences? Sure. It’s possible. Occasionally I’ve had someone re-add me — that’s a sign that they really want to stay connected, and at that point I’ll revisit whether I wish to accept or not.
While we are exploring being in more authenticity – we also want to be kind. “I decided you didn’t spark joy for me” might not be the way to go if you are confronted. You can ease tension and avoid awkwardness by saying it was an accident, and you mixed them up with someone else in your feed – or that you just don’t use social media very much – or that you decided to make Facebook much smaller and more personal and you invite them to follow you on Twitter or connect with you on Linkedin instead (great for industry contacts).
I promise: these possible challenges and consequences are worth it in the end.
What about that one person?
Yes. I’ve been there.
The person who is a valued work contact, friend of the family, engages regularly with your posts, and yet you just found out they are very vocal about their political beliefs and conspiracies which just so happen to stand against everything you believe in? Unfollow. Keep them as a friend if you need to. You can even make use of “friend lists” feature on Facebook to decide which of your posts they can have access to.
Revisit your Groups and Hashtags too:
Perhaps your local Buy & Sell group has more drama than it’s worth . . . or maybe there is a really uplifting community surrounding one of your passions that you can join. More and more, our social media communities are made up not just of people we’re following – but also the hashtags and groups we participate in regularly.
A few handy tips:
- Instagram. If you click on “Following”, there’s actually a button to see a list of the accounts you interact with the least.
- Tinder and other dating apps. Un-matching can clear the way energetically for new matches!
- Facebook friend lists. Have folks you just can’t delete, but their posts are not something you want in your feed? Try “unfollowing.” You’ll stay friends and they’ll never know.
- “It’s not my friend that bothers me … but their friend that keeps commenting on all their stuff” — don’t be afraid to use that block button.
- LinkedIn: Actually, on LinkedIn the more connections the better. This is a great place to redirect those work contacts that might be cluttering up your other socials.
Once you’ve curated . . . what kind of space are you creating?
It might be valuable to set an intention or inspiration for the kind of connections you want to keep online.
You may want to search out some old friends or follow a few new inspiring accounts to freshen up your feed. Maybe you want to take things further, and go through your own old posts to be sure they are lining up with your current viewpoint. It’s all fair game.
Now you can now move forward and address whether you, personally, are using social media in a way that aligns for you. Removing the negativity from your feed isn’t a one-stop-shop – there is still social media addiction, performative posting, and more to consider.
I hope this was helpful! Let me know what you think below. 🙂