Scrolling through some social media feeds earlier today, I was dismayed to discover a high percentage of feeds that seemed to just consist of endless moaning, vitriol, and blame. It made me think about my own social media feeds, and the messages I convey, intentionally or not.
I had a quick look through my personal Twitter and was a little embarrassed that yes, a lot of tweets there seemed to be coming from a negative place. If something bad had happened to me, or something mildly inconvenient took place, it seemed I took to social media to vent and release a little of my anger at the so-called injustice.
My Facebook page was slightly different. Not negative, no. But mundane, and dare I say it, a little self-absorbed. I wondered what message I was sending out into the world, to my friends. How did this compare with the impact I wanted to have?
In the endless diatribe of negativity both online and offline in the recent years, I want to send some positivity out into the world. If I can bring a small smile to someone’s day, or share something inspiring or interesting with somebody, then I’m using social media for good. I’m not here to start a moaning match. I’m not here to fish for compliments or make passive aggressive comments. I just want to be the best person I can be, both online and off.
Auditing what I share has made me more mindful of just how easy it is to express frustration or negativity online. If I think about the impact this has on someone reading it, then this gives me incentive to catch myself and try to turn that negativity into a positive. I don’t want to create a false impression of my life, and will carry on being more open and honest with myself. But a fleeting comment might just nudge someone else’s day into taking a turn for the worse.
I’ve recently been think about the way I want social media to impact upon me too, and what I want to take from it. Instead of moaning about how much I hated Facebook but didn’t really want to give it up being as all my friends are on it – I decided to make it work for me, rather than against me. I drew up a few simple things I wanted from the site, and resolved to get rid of the rest.
I wanted to find out more about Permaculture, nature, and the outdoors. I wanted to be inspired by my newsfeed, not depressed or frustrated. I didn’t want to be bothered by people’s problems, selfish as this may seem. I muted posts that made me feel inadequate or like my life just didn’t quite match up. I unliked pages that I never looked at or that were no longer relevant. And now, I quite like my Facebook feed, full of nicely curated articles, big ideas, and happy news.
I did the same on all of my Twitter accounts, and cleared up my YouTube subs box too. I felt refreshed, and infinitely more positive.
Going forward I want to continue to share on social media. But to share interesting, relevant articles about things I’m passionate about. To look for positive news in a media stream filled with war, politics, death and poverty. To catch myself and become mindful of my mood – and being aware of the effect my posts may have. I don’t want to be mundane.
If I’m going to continue to use social media, then I want it to be for good.