As someone whose job involves a lot of social media strategy and participation, it may seem odd for me to write a post like this. But social media has such a strong presence in our day-to-day lives and there are both positives and negatives to that.
Here are some quick and easy things you can do to be happier on social media this year!
Un-follow Facebook friends
We all have people we are Facebook friends with who we don’t necessarily want to de-friend, but whose statuses, political rants, updates (or the frequency of said updates), quite frankly, annoy us. If you’re a passionate person like me, you know how difficult it can be not to share your opinion when someone posts something you disagree with. It’s incredibly easy to un-follow someone on Facebook (just go to their profile and de-select “follow.”) You will no longer see anything they post in your feed. If you want to take it a step further, you can even add them to your restricted list in your settings and they won’t see your updates either. Why not just de-friend someone? In some cases, it can cause more drama than it’s worth. This is a simple way to see less of what you don’t want to see and more of what you do. It also takes away any temptation to get into debates about things that end up wasting your time and testing your sanity.
Leave Facebook groups
I’m a member of a lot of blogging-related strategy Facebook groups but also a ton of others from local buy/sell/trade groups to groups based on my interests like home decor and motherhood. Here’s the thing — while I love so many of these groups, they’re a HUGE time suck. Especially when, like me, you try to be an active participant and help when people ask questions. I ended up leaving half of the groups I was a member of. I just realized that many of them weren’t worth my time. And it helped lessen how many notifications I was getting as others contributed to threads. Facebook groups have a ton of value and are a wonderful place for connection and learning…but be SUPER selective about which ones you join and participate in and eliminate as many as you can that are just “so so.” I challenge you to cleanse your Facebook groups today!
Turn off notifications
Speaking of getting lots of notifications, when you participate in a discussion on Facebook, tap the three white dots at the top right of the screen and select “turn off notifications for this post.” Notifications can suck you into a web of time-wasting. Not worth it. I don’t have ping notifications for anything on my phone other than text messages.
Hide text alerts
I have several group text chains with some of my best friends and we are often texting late into the night. If I have a really busy day or just need to get to sleep, I hit the info icon on the top right of the text chain and select “hide alerts.” That way, I can come back to the text chain when I have some time and my sleep or whatever else I’m doing isn’t interrupted by incoming messages.
Hide Facebook content you don’t want to see
Sometimes, people post things on Facebook that are so ridiculous (and often debunked on Snopes) and it can be incredibly annoying to see this type of content in your feed. Hit the three white dots in the top right of any post that annoys you and select “hide post.” It will not show up in your feed again, even if people are having a discussion on the post. Out of sight, out of mind, no temptation to comment.
Remind yourself that real life is messy
It has been said 1000 times by people far wiser than I, but social media is a highlight reel. Real life isn’t a perfectly staged Instagram photo with a bowl of lemons placed just so. Do not let anyone’s highlight reel make you feel bad about your own life/home/job, etc. In fact, this is the reason that I share a lot of the crazy mess in our home on Instagram stories — we’re all living the reality of endless loads of laundry, unfinished tasks and children running around our homes, no matter how perfect a photo looks.
Remind yourself life is messy – Jillian Harris’s recent blog post about the amount of staging (and manpower) that go into styling her home for a shoot is a fantastic read. Here is an excerpt:
” … the other day I came across a comment on Instagram that made me a bit sad and I wanted to quickly share it with you along with my thoughts. It came from a lady who said they were feeling the stress of the holidays this year and that they felt hesitant to post a photo of their decorating on Instagram because they felt as though it didn’t live up to someone else’s life … this made my heart hurt. In reading this I just wanted to say that while some photos look perfect, it’s just a photo. Even in the photos, I’m sharing with you today, I had all three girls helping me decorate, stage, and clean up … I had a professional photographer, I was sick, Leo was sick, there were tissues everywhere, the couch had to be remade, it took all of us basically the whole day to make everything perfect and by the time you read this post, my house will be chaos again!! LOL!!! So keep that in mind when you see photos like this … it takes a team and my house isn’t always perfect, my intentions behind these posts are not to get you to buy more decor, or decorate more, or change your home … but to simply inspire you! ”
Spend more time DOING
Do you ever scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed and feel a slight sadness seeing how much fun others are having or feel envy at someone else’s vacation, home or life in general? My best advice: live your life, make plans and spend less time comparing. If you’re so busy living your life and having adventures, you won’t even have time to think about what others are doing. I’m not saying stop looking at your feed, but be busy in your own life and try new things so you feel fulfilled in your own space and time.
Face time > Screen time
Social media and texting are an amazing way to stay connected with our friends and family members, but they can quickly become our only form of communication. My goal for 2018 is to make more time for my friends — I see a lot of friends during play dates with our kids, but one-on-one face time with friends is rejuvenating. I went out for dinner and drinks with a girlfriend of mine a couple of months ago and it was so nice to just connect face-to-face without our kids running around and really get to know each other on a deeper level.
Social media causes us all to have knee-jerk reactions at times. We see or read something we find outrageous, appalling or that simply brings out our judgment monster (yes, that’s a thing). It happens to all of us — I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say that in the past I felt the need to comment on everything and it would often end in a debate. Even if you’re a passionate person — be intentional with your words. Ask yourself, before sharing your opinion: Is my comment true? Is it relevant to the discussion? Must it be said? How will it make others feel? Is my comment coming from a place of judgment instead of compassion? Is it helpful? Asking yourself these questions can prevent you from saying something you’ll regret. Believe me, I’ve made comments I regret (haven’t we all) that led to discussions that were a waste of time and just went in circles. I’ve probably made some judgmental comments too (#notproud). In 2018, let’s focus on our words (no more keyboard warriors) and pausing before posting. I promise you’ll be happier that you did.
Stop internet mom-shaming
I think that internet mom-shaming is likely something that will be a trademark of our generation. Which is sad, and it doesn’t have to be that way. I get it, I do. I have judged other moms before. I’ve been judged. Heck, I still sometimes struggle with that knee-jerk judging reaction when I see something on social media. But motherhood is SO hard — and the most important thing we should realize is that every mother is doing her best. She’s already harder on herself than she should be and she already worries if she’s a good mom and if she’s doing things right. She already feels bad about something she’s said or done that day and she is judging the heck out of herself. Mothers don’t need extra judgment. If there’s one thing we have enough of, it’s that. Mom shaming is so rampant on social media that it has almost become accepted. Like hey, if you put yourself out there, then you need to be able to take the heat. I challenge you this year to take a little longer of a pause when you see something on social media related to motherhood, the choices a woman makes for her family, etc. Pause and allow yourself to assume the best instead of the worst.
If you don’t like someone’s feed or who they are, un-follow them. It’s so much better for your mental health to keep your social media feed limited to people you like whose feeds bring you joy, inspiration or something else positive. It’s a good time to clean up your Instagram feed and start 2018 following only accounts you love. Leave the temptation to be negative and critical behind. It’s much better on the other side, I promise.
Do you have any methods for simplifying social media use and making it a happier place? Please leave me a comment!