We all know about the many toxic downsides to social media: It’s addictive, it’s designed to make you feel bad, it promotes unhealthy comparisons. But the truth is, we all have agency over how we engage with the social media we use. If you need some pointers on how to more healthily participate in the worlds of Instagram and Twitter, just take a look at how I improved my life, simply by muting anyone too happy or sad or pretty or ugly or smart or stupid.
It’s important to remember that social media should serve you, not the other way around. When this revelation first came to me, I had just gone through a breakup, so the natural first step was to mute everyone in a happy relationship, including my mom who always posts pictures of the omelets my dad makes her (braggy). But then I realized that the sad singles were just reminding me that I was a sad single, too, and the happy singles were even worse. Once I had muted everyone too visibly in or not in a relationship, my Instagram feed had cleared up by 70%, and I realized the crux of my philosophy: “I do not need to see it.”
It’s been well documented that social media like Twitter encourages polemical thinking, and it’s safe to say that everyone on there is too much of something. So I just started muting out the extremes like crazy. Is a person doing too well in their career? Muted. Is a person doing badly and complaining about it? Muted. Person who tweets ten times a day, why do they do that, WHO is making them do that? Muted!! The high I was on is indescribable. I muted the vegans, I muted the people mad at the vegans, I muted people saying dumb shit and people saying really smart shit that made me feel bad for not saying it first.
In the end, I was left following a few organizations that post articles I don’t read, and my friend Lindsey who has Twitter but doesn’t use it. I love Lindsey.
All in all, this process showed me that social media can actually be great and rewarding as long as I don’t have to see any of the stuff that happens on it, and my life has significantly improved. Thanks for reading — please like and share!