At Christmas and New Year, I have come to expect a flurry of photos and updates across my SM feeds from friends and family, near and far.
This year, I hardly saw updates from my actual friends on Facebook, but an endless stream of images/articles from various pages and businesses I follow, and while they might of interest to me, these posts were high jacking my feed.
I want to use SM to stay in touch with people I care about, but this wasn’t happening. So here are my top tips if you are looking to refresh your social media feed.
1. Curate your feed
Having realised I was missing out on seeing my friends posts at Christmas, I took the option to “snooze for 30 days” all the pages I follow (there were over 70 of them - more on that later). I didn’t want to unfollow/unlike the pages (yet), but I wanted a break to decide if they were still relevant to me.
It took 3 days for all the pages to appear in my feed so I could snooze them. The result was by New Years Eve, my feed was entirely full of posts by my friends, not just the content Facebook wanted me to see.
It took only a few minutes each time I logged in but it was well worth the effort to change what I see.
You can also "snooze" people. One of my friends going through a divorce struggled with social media over the Christmas holidays. She felt everyone was so happy sharing posts about their families and holidays, which was a painful reminder of her heartbreak.
She joined me in "snoozing" some of the posts she found most challenging and after a month was feeling better about seeing them. Sometimes all we need is a month to give us time and space to clarify our thoughts.
This option is great when you have:
People who post things that trigger you e.g. ex-partners, a frenemy you went to high school with, a relative etc.
Pages that post more content than you’re interested in (see above)
Pages that generate comments that you “love to hate” – we all know at least a few of these.
If Snoozing is too soft or Unfriending to harsh, Unfollowing is a great option to help you clear up your feed and give you some time away from triggering people or pages.
We all approach social media differently. Personally, I only add people I know or are friends with, and I periodically unfriend people I’m no longer in contact with and won’t see again. This keeps my feed relevant, and I feel more comfortable about sharing photos/information with people I know.
If you take a different approach and are less rigorous in your adding of friends, the unfriend option may be the right one for you. If there are people posting content that is offensive to you, annoys you or creates some other unpleasant feeling - consider unfriending them.
4. Be Deliberate
Before Christmas, I exchanged several messages with old friends across the world and was surprised when 3 different people commented on how happy my life looked, based on my Facebook posts. Like everyone, my life is full of ups and downs and I certainly don't think I am happier than anyone else. However, I do prefer not to post negative content on social media, which I'm now very aware can actually be misleading to others.
Will I change what I post? Probably not. But I will be more deliberate and mindful, ensuring I am communicating (offline) the full breadth of my life rather than only the rosy parts.
I share this story for my friend going through her divorce, or anyone else who feels, based on their social media feeds, that everyone else is having a better time than you. Maybe others are like me, sharing good snippets of their lives, not to intentionally mislead but out of personal preference. Maybe others are sharing only good things because they are privately unhappy and are "faking it til you make it". I don't suppose it matters either way - it's just important to remember that Social Media is always a filtered, one-sided portrayal of real life.
5. Decide what you want
Before my snoozing rampage, my feed was full of "stuff" - while it was generally content I was interested in, checking Facebook 3 times a day meant I was reading or saving 10-15 articles per day. Ultimately, these just felt like more items on my to do list instead of something I was interested in.
If you feel social media is necessary part of your life, such as for business/networking reasons or to stay in touch with loved ones, but you are finding it draining, spend a few minutes deciding what you want to get out of it, and take some steps to make that happen.
Wishing you a wonderful 2019.
P.S. Social Media is known to cause self-esteem issues. If you are struggling with these issues, get in touch, I am here to help. Email me at email@example.com