Minimalism is commonly misconstrued as the radical notion of getting rid of everything you own. However, that is not true—not even close. Minimalism is about living a simple life, one with less stress and more meaning. While getting rid of your tangible clutter is a huge step in the right direction, the minimalist lifestyle can be applied to nearly every aspect of life.
One of those aspects is social media. Social media can be distracting, full of clutter, and downright stressful sometimes. It isn’t all bad though, as it has a multitude of benefits. For example, connecting with like-minded individuals (other minimalists, for example), keeping in touch with relatives and friends who may not live near you, or raising awareness for a campaign or organization.
I’ve been taking back control of my own social media pages recently in an effort to make sure I am not only adding value to my own life, but also to the lives of others. Don’t you get tired of being constantly berated by unnecessary, and sometimes repulsive, information on your Facebook feed? Do you follow so many people on Twitter that the valuable information you’re seeking becomes lost in the multitude? I know I used to, but after implementing some simple tactics I’ve been able to dramatically improve my social media experience.
I began my social media purge with Twitter. Twitter is the all-in-one social media platform. Tweets can be simple and have only a few words, or they can be supplemented by images, videos, or links to articles or websites. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and miss out on valuable content because of this. In order to keep my Twitter feed free of clutter, I refrain from implementing the “follow back” rule many people follow. I may lose out on potential followers here and there, but it’s worth it.
I also tend to gravitate away from accounts that have fewer followers than followees. That may seem harsh, but if other people don’t find the account worth following, it’s probably not. I also unfollowed any inactive accounts. I use an app called Crowdfire that monitors my followers, including any inactive ones. They obviously are not adding unnecessary clutter to my feed, but I was following people that hadn’t tweeted in years!
The key to cleaning up your Twitter account is realizing you are in control. If someone tweets something negative, unfollow them. If it’s someone you know, I’m sure they’ll forgive you. If they don’t, they’re not worth your time anyways. Just be honest and, while you’re doing this, pay attention the content you are tweeting. Does it add value? Is it going to benefit your followers or effective them negatively? Share content worth reading or watching.
I would say Instagram is my favorite social media platform. I love words, but I’m also an extremely visual person. I actually deleted Instagram previously for a year because it weighed on me so heavily. I was over-concerned with how many likes my pictures received and how many followers I had, so I deleted my account entirely. Once I was ready to make a new account, I approached it with an entirely new outlook. This time it wasn’t about me. Now I use Instagram as a tool to connect with passionate, like-minded individuals. For me, that means people who love the outdoors, traveling, and photography—creative people who share content that adds value.
I actually follow a limited number of people I know personally due to the guidelines I’ve established. The key is to develop criteria those you follow must meet. If they don’t, unfollow them. You are in control. Also, quit counting likes and followers. If you need to delete Instagram or one of your other social media accounts, then do it. Social media is not more valuable than your well being. And again, pay attention to what you post. If you’re not contributing valuable content, then don’t post it.
By the far the most muddled and claustrophobia-inducing social media platform, Facebook is sadly not going anywhere soon—but who doesn’t want to have your friend’s grandma comment on one of your pictures, right? Facebook is by far my least favorite social media platform, but one I can’t delete because it does serve a purpose in my life. It was only recently I figured out how to take back control of Facebook. The introduction of the unfollow button was incredibly helpful, but it wasn’t enough. I decided it was time to eliminate some of my Facebook friends.
I was pretty relentless when it came to “unfriending” people. I eliminated childhood friends, adult mentors I hadn’t spoken to in years, and even friends of mine that are now deceased. I deleted hundreds of friends until I had only a few hundred remaining. Even though I deleted so many, I still found my feed was full of content I didn’t want to see, so I took it one step further. I unfollowed nearly every one of my friends except for a select few. Now, when I go on Facebook, my news feed rarely has anything new come up which has allowed me to spend significantly less time on it. I no longer get caught in the trap of scrolling and scrolling through my newsfeed, and instead, use Facebook for business purposes only.
I know I only covered Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but those are the platforms myself and most people primarily use. The same set of rules applies to all forms of social media:
- Eliminate waste: If you don’t enjoy seeing something, get rid of it.
- Be honest: Social media is not the be-all end-all. How are you letting it affect you?
- Take control: You created the account and you can delete it. You are in charge.
- Add value: To your own life, and to the lives of others. Time is valuable, don’t waste it.
Each person’s social media experience is unique to them. Take control of your social media, and make the experience one worth having.
“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”
– Hans Selye