How to Get Rid of Political Posts in Your Social Media Feed
2020 is, without a doubt, a dumpster fire on steroids. Thanks to a deadly pandemic, heightened racial tension, extreme environmental crisis and crazy election, this year is one for the books. And it’s not even over yet.
It doesn’t help matters that quarantine orders are forcing people to stay isolated, left to entertain themselves with Netflix and their phones. It’s even worse for the unemployed, who can’t even pretend to occupy themselves with work. Every event is exacerbated, then shared on every social platform through posts, stories, and within 280 characters.
Less than three weeks away, the election is no exception. Data exhibited in The Social Dilemma and Greater Good Magazine shows that in recent times, we are more politically divided than ever, thanks to social media. How can we manage to indulge in a temporary escape from reality on Instagram when, in reality, every post or story blows said reality up in our faces?
Sure, #Flygate was funny the first two memes around, but not after opening our app every single time. Luckily, there are ways to improve your social feed to include more of the feel good stuff you initially created your account for.
Go through your Friends and Following list
Still friends with that guy from high school who spams your feed with political rants? Unfriend him. If you haven’t spoken in years, why even stay social media friends? Chances are, he won’t even notice. This exercise is a good opportunity to clean your “Friends” and “Following” list of anyone or anything that does not, as Marie Kondo says, “spark joy” for you.
Following a business you love, but getting irritated with their constant political posts? Unfollow them and create a reminder to follow them again post-election. Goodbye, QAnon supporters.
“Like” everything nonpolitical
Another fun fact The Social Dilemma mentioned: social media algorithms are created from what the user engages in. Search for a few hashtags that make you happy (#Fall, #CoffeeArt, #RoundAnimals, whatever) and follow them. “Like” a few posts that make you smile, whether it be your friend’s chubby baby or a picturesque rock. This simple step will exhibit suggestions of other similar accounts/hashtags to follow, soon filling your feed with happier images, hopefully drowning out political noise. #SelfCare, amiright?
Set a timer
A few social media accounts have implemented a tool that tells you how many minutes or hours you spend on the app. You yourself can choose the amount of time when you want to notification to appear. Set this up and when the timer goes off, you get off (the app, that is). The less time on social media, the less time you spend getting angry over ignorant “The Left/Right is out to get us!” stories. Also, wait as long as you can after waking up before opening the app so you don’t start your day infuriated.
Now, you may have genuine, in-person connections with certain people that you simply cannot unfriend, unfollow, or block. These actions could potentially harm your real life friendship, no matter how close minded or opposing their political views are from yours.
Let me introduce you to the “Mute” feature on Instagram. Akin to the “Unfollow” feature on Facebook, you can still remain connected to this person but not see all their racist, fake news, conspiracy filled posts or stories. The Mute feature allows you to mute stories, posts, or both so you do not see this person’s actions in your feed. Aren’t loopholes lovely?
Quick disclaimer: I am not discouraging a respectful conversation with your friend regarding politics. In fact, I very much encourage it. But if you’ve had these conversations before and they still insist on sharing vlogger videos disguised as “facts” (Pizzagate, anyone?), you should not feel any qualms about muting them, especially if said posts incite anger or sadness within you.
Don’t be a hypocrite
After you have completed these steps, there’s a HUGE rule you have to follow: don’t post your own political rants or opinions. Don’t share anything about your favorite or opposing candidate, don’t “like” or share headlines from biased news outlets or satirical publications, just don’t. By doing so, you are becoming the very thing you are trying to escape. As well, you’re inviting opposing viewpoints to comment or message you about it. You put in a lot of hard work already – let’s not start from square one, ok?
Deactivate your account
If you still aren’t finding relief in your feed or just want to skip to this step, hey, go for it. You are well within your right to deactivate your accounts, but read the fine print before doing so (Twitter automatically deletes accounts 30 days after deactivation if no reactivation occurs). If this seems too drastic a measure, delete the apps from your phone. Hell, you may like the silence so much you go straight to deletion.
Here’s hoping these tips help you find peace but remember this: Go vote. No judgement if you take a selfie wearing the sticker after.