Do you curate your social media feeds? What does that even mean? I don’t mean the things you post; I’m not talking about having one of those beautiful Instagram profiles where all of the images fit together nicely in a colour scheme or overall theme. I’m talking about the things you look at when you go into your social media.
These days we all love social media and spend a lot of time posting and scrolling through our newsfeeds on the various different apps. But there also seems to be a new report every week about how various different social media platforms are causing us to be depressed and miserable because our lives don’t look like what we see online.
I think we’re all prone to comparing ourselves to what we see around us – whether that’s online or in person. It’s not brilliant for one’s self esteem – even if I find that I feel I’m better than one person today, basing my sense of self on comparison means that tomorrow I might find that I’m not as good as someone else. Or even the person I thought I was better than yesterday.
There’s also a huge amount of negativity and all-out nonsense on social media these days. People airing personal grievances, complaining about their husbands or posting those “I’m so ugly but here are fifty selfies so that you’ll disagree with me” posts which are still a thing, apparently.
It’s enough to make you want to stay away from social media completely. But there is another side to it; the reason we all stick around. The inspiration; sense of community; the support; the friendships. The people we really want to stay in touch with and to connect with.
This is where curating your social feeds comes in, and I think it’s something that gets a bit overlooked. I was listening to a podcast the other day where a lady was saying she doesn’t find social media at all negative – in fact, she scrolls through her Instagram each morning as a way of getting into alignment and feeling great before she starts her day, because she only follows accounts that put her in that place.
For a while now, I’ve been either unfriending or (where unfriending could be a bit political) unfollowing people on Facebook, and leaving or unfollowing groups whose posts don’t bring me joy. Don’t get me wrong; if someone is having a hard time right now then I’m not going to unfriend them because of that. But I think we can all agree there are some people for whom the glass is not even half empty; it was emptied and smashed weeks ago and they’re still moaning about it.
Social media can easily become a fire hose of negativity and judgement, pointed directly at you whenever you open an app. It can be hard to maintain a positive attitude in the face of this never-ending tide of negativity.
Here are some tips for curating your social media so that it brings you more joy and less misery:
- Each time you go to your Facebook home feed, instead of scrolling past things you don’t want to read ask yourself: Why is this post here? Is it from a group you can leave or unfollow? Is it from someone you met at an event six years ago and have not spoken to since?
- Go through your friends list on Facebook or the accounts you’re following on Instagram or Twitter. Do you know these people? Do you remember why you followed them in the first place? Unfriend and unfollow wherever possible!
- It used to be difficult to do this on Instagram because unfollowing could be seen as a personal insult – but now they have introduced the Mute button and you can even mute someone’s stories in the app now. Make use of these functions!
- Take a look at the groups you’re a member of on Facebook. I’ve been on Facebook for ten years or more; I’ve joined (and been added to) hundreds of pointless groups which are now either defunct or not at all of interest. Put on some music and spend a bit of time removing yourself from these pointless groups. I’m hoping that by removing myself from a load of groups on a particular topic, and joining other groups about the things I am interested in now, the Facebook algorithm will learn that my interests have changed.
- Stop interacting with the posts you don’t like. In the past I have been terrible for commenting on nonsense or negative posts, either trying to change a person’s point of view or to point out the error of their ways. We all know that someone who is wrong on the internet will not change their errant ways off the back of a comment from us, no matter how eloquent or well composed it is. Even worse – when we comment on posts like this, the algorithm thinks we like them. They prioritise posts from that person or account, and also posts with those particular keywords. So we end up with more of the crap in our newsfeed. As per above: unfriend, mute or unfollow wherever possible.
- Similar to the previous point: teach the algorithm what you do want to see. Be sure to like and comment on the posts you do like so that the algorithm learns what sort of thing you want to see in your newsfeed. It only takes a short amount of time to pick up what you’re liking and commenting on, and you’ll begin to see more posts from those accounts, and/or using those particular keywords.
- I recently went through a breakup which whilst not particularly horrible or unfriendly, still hurt quite a lot. I didn’t want to unfriend my ex or to unfollow him because we didn’t end on bad terms and he’s not exactly “dead to me” as it were. But I didn’t really want him under my nose while I was trying to get over the end of the relationship either. Facebook has a great function where you can mute a person for an amount of time. When their post appears in your newsfeed you just click on the top-right and there is a whole host of options for muting them for a set amount of time. Even better: when that time period is almost up, it pops up in your newsfeed to remind you, and gives you the option to either end the mute period early or mute for another set period of time. Genius.
- Use lists! This is a feature you can make use of in both Twitter and Facebook. In Twitter you click next to the person’s name and add them to a list – just remember to give the list a good name, because that person will be informed they’ve been added to that list. On Facebook you click on the drop-down below “Friends” on a person’s profile and can add them to “close acquaintances” or create a new list.
- Use the “see first” option on Facebook. I follow a couple of pages whose content always motivates me, so I’ve opted to see their new content at the top of my newsfeed whenever I go into Facebook. To do this, visit the page and find the option in the drop-down menu under “following”
- Find positive accounts to follow! This one should probably be at the top, since there’s no point in weeding out all the negative nellies and drama llamas if you’ve no positive accounts to shine through the dross. On Facebook if I find a positive page or account, I go and see which other pages they are following. On Instagram I do the same thing. A great way to populate your feed with positive things you’re interested in.
- Follow hashtags on Instagram. I follow #tinytinymoments on Instagram because the images on that tag are usually beautiful and inspirational. See what you can find.
The added bonus of all of this is that you can also remove some of the junk that’s been clogging up your newsfeed, and actually (hopefully) see posts from the people and pages you want to interact with.
Have I missed anything? If you do something I’ve not mentioned to make sure your social media is a positive place, do please let me know!