Social media is an amazing tool- it connects us with people we wouldn’t otherwise get any interaction with, and it brings people together regardless of location. As someone who wants to work with social media after I graduate, I realize how important social media is to our society. However, I also realize that social media can be toxic. People say things that they wouldn’t say in person, and people’s public display of their lives makes us question our own. It’s easy for social media to bring you down. I would know. In 2010, I faced harsh bullying through anonymous inbox websites like Formspring and ask.fm. I also took a short Instagram hiatus recently after certain posts were altering my mood. I’m not alone- a national survey discovered that young adults who use many social media platforms (at least 7 of 11 that were listed) were 3 times more likely to become depressed than those who were on 2 or fewer platforms.
The source of that study also points out that for many people, social media is a necessity. Therefore, it doesn’t always make sense to stop using the sites completely. This creates a dilemma for young adults- how can we prevent social media from bringing us down when we need to be on it? One solution is a social media detox.
How do I know this will help? I used it myself, and I still use these methods to keep myself from upsetting or triggering content. Now, I want to share those methods with you. My hope is that after utilizing these tips, you’ll be able to surf social media without it having a negative impact on your life.
I’ll be offering even more tips in my FREE e-book, Detoxify Your Social Media in 7 Days. Sign up to be the first to get a copy! When it’s completed, you’ll receive the e-book in your inbox.
Day 1: Remove “Friends” From Facebook
We all have “friends” and followers on our social media accounts that we aren’t actually close with. We may even have friends that bring us down on social media. Go to your friends list on Facebook. Remove people who you don’t talk to anymore, people you have negative feelings towards, and people whose content brings out negative emotions in you (sadness, anger, jealousy). On Facebook, you can also “unfollow” people without removing them completely. This will keep them from showing up in your newsfeed, but won’t remove them from your friends list.
Day 2: Unfollow People on Snapchat and Instagram
Do certain people give you FOMO from looking at their stories? If other people’s posts are making you feel like your life isn’t good enough, unfollow them. On social media, people usually show off the best versions of themselves. This gives people an inaccurate view of what goes on in their lives. However, some people consistently post images and videos that can do some serious damage. I personally unfollowed people who constantly post images of self-harm, weight loss before & afters, and sexist captions. I also unfollowed people who I’m no longer friends with, who go out with my other friends. It made me angry and jealous to see them having fun without me, so I got rid of it from my feed.
Day 3: Apply Content Filters
If there are certain keywords that trigger or upset you, block them from your feed entirely. On Twitter, go to Settings -> Notifications -> Muted -> Muted words. When you add words to that list, you won’t get notifications for Tweets containing those words. They also won’t appear on your timeline. For Facebook, download the FluffBusting Purity app for Google Chrome. It will let you filter out words and phrases that you don’t want to see. My free e-book will talk more about this add-on and how to customize it to fit your needs. Sign up to be the first to get it!
Day 4: Remove Yourself from Toxic Groups
If you’re like me, you’re in a lot of Facebook groups. Some of them are filled with negativity and toxicity. Get yourself out of them. Only stay in Facebook groups that you benefit from. If they don’t make you feel good about yourself, don’t bother with them. This will also reduce the amount of clutter on your timeline.
Day 5: Remove Some Apps Entirely
Most people need to be on social media, but not everyone needs to be on every app or website. Some apps do far more harm than good. If one app is the source of all of your troubles, get off of it ASAP. Also, avoid anonymous inboxing apps like Sarahah. They are used as weapons for cyberbullying.
Day 6: Make Some Accounts Private
It’s a good idea to put some privacy protections on your social media pages. Twitter is a hotbed for angry people, so protecting your Tweets will ensure that only your followers can see what you’re posting. Add some privacy to your Facebook page by making your posts only visible to friends. This will keep strangers and enemies from engaging with you.
Day 7: Adjust Your Settings As Needed
If the actions you took weren’t enough, adjust them ASAP. Delete more friends if you must. Hide more keywords from your Twitter feed. Unfollow your racist classmate. Control the content you see as much as you can.
My e-book, Detoxify Your Social Media in 7 Days will give step-by-step directions for utilizing the tools that can be used to clean out your feeds. It will also provide more examples of who to unfollow, how to overcome FOMO, and more.
Sign up for my mailing list to be the first to receive this FREE e-book. You’ll also get my 15-Day Love Yourself Challenge.