Social media is a tricksy beast. It can be a wonderful source of comfort, companionship and support, or it can drag you down into a black hole of negativity. I firmly believe there’s a knack to using the tools at our disposal. Today I’m sharing my methods…
Effect on mental health
First and most importantly, we are all very much aware of the effects of social media on our mental health. You only need to look at modern society to see the struggle. I will instantly block anyone who puts out derogatory content. I won’t open a thread, I won’t attack or defend, I just say NOPE and hit that button. I don’t give second chances, I don’t need to! It’s not like I know any of these people and they don’t know me either, they don’t even know or care if I’m reading their post. There are millions and millions of voices out there – they aren’t all good. Why should I waste a second of my time on anyone who doesn’t meet my expectations of basic human decency? This goes for newbie accounts, trolls, celebrities, politicians and your casually racist grandma.
I’m always conscious that every time we interact in an argument or debate, every time we retweet to share in our disgust we are increasing the audience of the OP. There’s raising awareness yes, but there’s also strengthening the platforms of genuinely bad people. In some cases turning your back does more damage to them than engaging. Don’t feed the trolls- as they say.
I’m sure each has their own, I myself only come across that of the bookish community. Though it’s usually just the echo of drama that reaches me. I often see others tweet about spilled tea and negative reactions but I rarely see the root and I don’t go looking for it. Some of my favourite follows take time away from social media stating online politics as the cause. I often wonder what they’re seeing that I’m not, but I don’t want the gossip or the drama. I’m here for the support and interesting discussions and thankfully that truly is all I find on my feed. I put this down to the possibility I’ve previously blocked or muted the offending account(s).
Say no to FOMO
Perhaps I am missing out on some interesting content, but I use Twitter for friendship and entertainment and my blog is a hobby. Neither of those should spill into my personal life, atleast not to the extent it could cause any issues. It doesn’t worry me if I don’t know what’s going on today I’ll just scroll on til I either find content I can engage with or decide to make my own. I’m a duck- see this water pouring off my back? Can’t even feel it. But while I don’t suffer fear-of-missing-out there are still times curiosity will get the better of me and I’ll ask what’s happened, I’m not seriously a duck guys, us humans can be nosy creatures!
Here’s where you might think I get a little brutal, because I mute some really lovely people. It’s not because I dislike them or they’ve offended me in any way. These are the folks that I choose not to follow, purely because their content doesn’t interest me- yet they often appear in my feed via mutuals liking, sharing and interacting with them. As I understand it muted accounts can still interact directly, and in such an event I will respond- I’m not a monster! I may also rethink my choices and follow them afterward.
One little rule..
I never mute any accounts I follow, that feels like a dirty trick. I may aswell say – Hey, I follow you to get my numbers up and have no interest in what you say.
My favourite function on Twitter is the mute words setting. The very first thing I did after creating my account was to mute the word ‘Trump’. The world can be a pile of garbage some days and the constant rage surrounding the current president was present in my feed at all times. That kind of shit is draining. I can watch the news for current events, I don’t need everyone else’s opinion rammed up my nose. I on and off mute the word ‘Brexit’ for the same reason, some weeks I’m just tired of it.
I’ve used the mute function on a few fandoms over the past year too. Ever feel like your feed is filled with the same thing over and over but it just doesn’t interest you? MUTE MUTE MUTE!
Nestled on my mute list you’ll find things like Love Island, Doctor Who, TATBILB and even dicksoap!
I like to think of my Twitter feed and my WordPress reader as uniquely curated, by me for me. I make no apologies for my choices, so far they’ve served me well. Facebook aside, social media is a place I can successfully seek refuge.
Now if only I could block my mother’s overactive Facebook page without breaking her heart… someone needs to tell that woman we don’t always need to see her dinner or know what movie she’s watching!