When I’m scrolling on social media, I forget about the power I hold in my hands when I’m scrolling, tapping, and liking. When talking to friends about social media, I find often that they forget who has the control of what they see. We say, “Oh, I don’t like seeing this,” or “Ugh, I don’t really care about seeing what they’re doing”.
We find ourselves in positions where we forget who has the ultimate power of social media, and it’s us. While we are scrolling, we have the choice to skip watching that Instagram/Snapchat story, we have the choice to not like that photo, and we have the choice to unfollow content creators &/or “friends” who are cluttering up our digital space.
Social media is one of the few platforms where you actually have control over what you see. Sure, you can flip through different TV channels when an ad comes on, but the TV doesn’t tailor to your preferences, to your emotions, nor your thoughts. Social media is powered through your dis/likes and you have the autonomy to control what you view.
Don’t like what you’re seeing on someone’s profile? Unfollow them.
Not sure why you’re liking a company’s FB page? Unlike it!
Don’t like seeing the same model/image/acai bowl? Unfollow a few accounts and see how your social media morphs into your actions.
You get the gist.
While it is nervewracking to think about the ways social media listens/understands us – I think an effective way of living through this media-driven world is to take advantage of the individualism that coincides with having a Twitter/Instagram handle, Facebook account, and whatever else y’all use.
… WITH NO REGRETS
It’s bizarre how we can feel guilty about unfollowing someone online! Why do we feel that way? You, an isolated individual, scrolling/liking/swiping behind your small screen does no physical harm to the other individual.
Unfollow away, my friend! I’ll support you.
I believe firmly in spending your time usefully. If scrolling through someone’s content you don’t care much about is draining, then stop it! Unfollow, without regrets – and utilize those few extra seconds or minutes reading a book, unwinding, journaling, or just spending time with someone in-person, away from your screen.
FOLLOW THOSE YOU WANT
If you choose to: minimize the time you spend following unwanted people and replace it with time spent following those you want. Follow that environmental advocate, your all-time favorite author, a celebrity you actually admire.
An interesting comment came across in conversation about following family on social media, and how we shouldn’t block family members because they overpost, overshare, over-etc. While I agree with the sentiment behind this comment, I don’t think you need to force yourself into a positive social media relationship with a family member whose posts/comments/photos you don’t care too much about. You can care about family members, without caring about what they’re posting. It can sometimes feel like a guilt trip unfollowing grandma from Instagram, but if grandma posts 40 photos of her recent hobbies – are you really liking her content with care and love, or just to get it off your screen? Also, I’m sure grandma will love you equally with or without your follow.
Social media is a tricky and modern issue. It’s a luxury, but also a necessity in this growing technology world. It has clearly overwhelmed our lives, dictating our time, ideas, and even our occupations. I don’t think cutting out all social media is possible, even if we’re not actively in it – others around us are. Eliminating social media isn’t the solution, but knowing how to use it efficiently and to your benefit can be.
With much love,