By Hannah Wisterman
Blog Content Contributor
It’s a brave new world we live in, at the height of global capitalism and interconnectedness, where we can completely customize our every last experience. With the power of Amazon and online shopping, we have almost infinite options for what to wear, or how to decorate. With the power of social media, we have the power to customize what we see and hear in our free time. Unfortunately, we tend to take more advantage of the former than the latter. When it comes to social media, it is easy to only follow friends and family and maybe a few celebrities—these are the people we want to keep up with, after all, right? As time passes, our relationships and tastes change. Seeing the same people that we may or may not even like over and over is an enormous waste of time. Your free time should be about doing things to enjoy and better yourself—not chucking empty likes at celebrities whose work you no longer enjoy, or worse, scroll past high school acquaintances with whom you were never close. If you feel like your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or whatever has lost its spark, it’s time to social media purge.
Unfollow relentlessly. Keep in mind that most of the people you want to drop from your feed probably don’t have strong feelings about you anyway. Of course, it’s easier to do this if you’re already annoyed with whomever you’re following, but there are many other factors you can consider when deciding whether to unfollow someone. Is there an aesthetic style you want your social media to follow that this account doesn’t match? Do they only post enjoyable stuff every once in awhile? Are they constantly posting about their boyfriend who they’ve only been dating for like, three months, and it’s really freaking annoying? Unfollow, unfollow, unfollow. When in doubt, you can use a “three-strike” rule: if their content makes you roll your eyes more than three times, drop them.
Maybe you happen to know that someone has a history of getting upset when people unfollow them. Twitter and Facebook have a magical button for this: the mute option. When you mute an account they will no longer appear on your feed, but they’ll never be notified of that, meaning that you can effectively cut someone out of your social media life and leave them none the wiser.
Sometimes it’s easier to compartmentalize your social media than it is to completely clean it out. One of the easiest ways to do this is to make alternate accounts on the platform of your choosing. Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram allow their users to add second (or third, or more) accounts to their primary ones and switch between them. So if you want a blog or Twitter strictly for, say nature photography, that’s a total possibility. This means that you can keep your primary social media completely unchanged and then just opt out of it when you choose. (You could also use this feature to make a “finsta” or “vent account”, but this blogger advises you to do that with caution, and be aware that what’s on the Internet never really leaves.)
Now that you’ve cleaned up your social media, you have another decision at hand: do
you want to keep your new set-up trim and light, or do you want to find new content to replace what you’ve lost? If you want to replenish your stores, I recommend starting small. Following a whole slew of folks at once will just put you back where you were. Instead, find a particular person whose posts you really enjoy and explore from there. Most social media platforms have a feature that will suggest similar accounts; this is such an underrated tool. Consider following an artist you like, or even just Googling things like “best LARPers on Instagram” or “funniest Twitter bots”. (I have refined tastes, clearly.) What you want and like to see is out there; it’s time to start taking the steps to find it.
We all know that social media can be a huge source of irritation and even stress, but it should not be. If you can take control, do so. You have options! Unfollow! Mute! Start over! Trim down! Bulk up! You open a whole new world to yourself when you do. Filling your feed with your interests and content that lifts your mood can make a marked improvement on your mental health and overall happiness. It’s easy. It’s free. This is one purge you really owe it to yourself to try.
Featured image by Hannah Wisterman.