Originally published on March 15th, 2021
Everyone’s heard the old saying “we’re the average of the 5 people we spend most time with”.
But how does that apply to social media, a place where some people now spend a majority of their time?
In my opinion it only compounds the “average of the 5 people” effect.
I’ve thought about this for awhile and I think one reason apps like Twitter can have such an impact on our mood and mental health is because the brain can’t always tell the difference between your own thoughts and thoughts being imposed by what you’re reading.
For example, if I’m scrolling through Twitter and see a lot of negativity, the little voice in my head is reading all those tweets and I can feel my own mood start to change just by consuming that content.
Since I graduated college and moved to a new city, I’ve spent more of my time on social media than spending time with real people in-person. I find myself getting caught up in so many things online that in reality, have no affect on my actual life whatsoever.
So I’ve spent the past couple of months curating my social media feeds, muting accounts I don’t want to see content from at the moment, unfollowing accounts that don’t bring value, and this is why I think you should too:
Your mind is sacred. It shouldn’t be open to every thought and idea that comes out of someone else’s fingertips.
When you follow someone, you’re bringing them into your life just like meeting a new friend.
With every bad follow, you’re clouding your online thoughts.
With every good follow, you’re bringing positivity and value to your life.
Take some time to consciously scroll through your feed and see if there’s any accounts that bring a certain emotion when you see their name. Maybe annoyed, bothered, or just tired of seeing what they have to say.
However before you do, take some time to think about why you want to remove this person from your feed. You also don’t want to get yourself caught in an echo chamber of like-minded people so having some counter-opinions that possibly challenge your beliefs can be beneficial as well.
But maybe it’s time to unfollow those friends from high school who let their political views form their entire personality.
Or that anon account that only has negative things to say about everything.
Not everyone struggles with this, but social media’s been ragged on for years about the toll it takes on mental health.
You see a friend getting more likes on an Instagram post, you see someone at work announce a promotion on LinkedIn you thought you deserved, etc.
Comparing yourself to others kills your confidence. You question everything about yourself and wonder what you can do to “be like them”.
It can be paralyzing.
And by curating your social media feeds, you can begin to see what your triggers are and if needed, temporarily remove things like that from your life.
Nobody’s telling you how to use social media or who you can and can’t follow - create an experience that you enjoy logging in to.
I feel constantly torn between deleting all social media and not going back and staying on because it leads to relationships and growth of the business.
But if you’re like me and plan to stay on social media for awhile, don’t let it control your life or bring you down.
Occasionally audit your feed, remove negativity, and welcome positivity.
If you control your feed, you can begin to take back control of your mind.