6 Things I Unfollowed on Social Media with Help from Marie Kondo
By Alicia Thompson
I’m sure you’ve read enough Kondo thinkpieces by now to know the drill about this lady, her book, and her new Netflix series. Whether you love the process for your own home, or think that she’s the Ted Bundy of trinkets, she’s one of those figures that polarises opinions, and one of those figures that’s made me think about mess in new ways.
You hold a thing, and ask yourself if it “sparks joy”.
Like our homes, lots of different areas of our lives collect mess that doesn’t make us happy.
Today, I’m talking about social media.
This first part might seem obvious, but I want to tell you that you have control over who and what you see on your social media feed, and it is your right and responsibility to make sure that the things you’re putting into your brain are good for you.
Additionally, and this might sound a little controversial, it is okay for you to want to look at your social media and feel good.
Good about yourself.
Good about other people.
Good about what’s going on in the world.
So, here’s 6 things that I unfollowed recently. I recently cut my instagram feed from 200 down to 80, and things feel a lot clearer for me when I have my morning scroll.
1. News and “Discourse”
It is okay for your casual browsing to “spark joy”. You’re not being a bad or ignorant person by choosing not to bathe yourself in a constant stream of everything that’s wrong in the world.
As the head of an organisation that seeks to educate people about mental health and current social issues, I am obviously in favour of everyone being reasonably aware of what’s going on in their community, and in the world in general, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be in your feed.
Facebook posts from news outlets, organisations and companies are designed to stop you scrolling and click on a link. The best way to do that is to post something attention grabbing and immediately illicits strong emotions.
In short, it’s designed to make you angry, sad, or reactive.
If you had someone in your life who called you up, yelled something they knew would piss you off, and then hang up and leave you to manage those feelings by yourself, wouldn’t you Marie Kondo the shit out of them and chuck them in the bin?
I don’t know about you, but having something in my feed designed to make me angry doesn’t “spark joy”.
Instead of relying on Facebook and your friends list to tell you what you should be paying attention to, take a leaf from yesteryear – take the time to find the best sources for educating yourself, set up an app like Apple News, and deliberately and mindfully read the news while you’re on your break at work or with coffee in the morning.
2. Hate Following
I get it. following that person you hate to see what a disaster their life is, or following that trainwreck celebrity feels good. That high horse is super comfortable, and it gives you something to gossip about with whoever it is you talk to.
I’ve got some news though. If you do something ironically, you’re still doing it.
If you’re reading someone’s content, social media, or latest blunder, the only thing you’re doing is letting that toxic crap into your life.
I don’t know about you, but if I sit down and ask myself about how it makes me feel, it never makes me feel happy. Superior, catty, indulging in hurt feelings, maybe, but not happy, and not satisfied in any way that makes me want to accomplish anything for myself.
3. Liked Pages
Sometimes we like pages because we want to be seen to like something. That’s all well and good, but it also means that the company, product, band, or team you like have a hotline straight into your feed.
Take a moment with each of your liked pages, have a scroll of the sort of content they provide, and ask yourself if the content “sparks joy”. Does their content make your day? How does it make you feel?
If something doesn’t leave you in a better way than it found you in, it may be time to say goodbye to it.
I know it’s important to find communities of likeminded people to interact with – That’s kind of my schtick.
Just because you share a belief or interest with a group of people doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing for them to be in your line of sight, especially if they leave you feeling angry, cynical, or encouraged to be your worst self.
Look at the forums, groups, boards, and hashtags you participate in and ask yourself what they bring to your life and if that’s the kind of person you want to be.
If yes, by all means, keep it! If it’s just people who you have stuff in common with showing you who to pile on to next, maybe give it a miss.
It’s good to surround yourself with images that make you want to achieve your goals.
Part of that might be aspirational imagery. That’s the stuff that shows you what your life could look like if you finally get your act together, right?
Do you know why they call the people who show this sort of stuff “Influencers?”
Because their job is to influence people. That’s how they make their money. Their lives need to be perfectly manicured and filtered so when they show a product off, you’ll relate having what they have to buying what they’re telling you to buy.
I’m not telling you that influencers are evil, or that you shouldn’t have them in your feed.
Head on over to your social media platform of choice, and take a look at the profile of one of the influencers that you follow, and check in with yourself to see how they make you feel.
If they make you feel happy, inspired, and energised, by all means, keep them around.
If they make you feel insecure, envious, or like you’re not enough, or like you would be successful if only you had your shit together like they do?
Thank you, goodbye! Unfollow, unlike, unsubscribe.
If you haven’t already, take a look at my first article in this series – 4 people I said goodbye to with the help of Marie Kondo.
On Social Media, there’s two things going on. There’s the feed that we read, and there’s the direct, one on one interactions we have with other people.
Just because we enjoy one on one interaction with someone doesn’t mean we have to enjoy what they put on the feed we scroll every morning.
Lots of people don’t even realise that other people see whenever they react to or comment on an article. That means that when you angry react to that article about a person who filmed setting their dog on fire, you put that content into the feed of everyone you’re friends with.
Honestly, even when it’s done with good intentions, it’s still dangerous for your own wellbeing.
It’s okay to love someone, talk to them, and quietly hide what they put on our feed.
I want to tell you that it’s okay to hide people from your feed. It’s not passive aggressive, it’s not cruel, and it doesn’t mean you’re not really friends.
It just means that the content that they put in your line of sight doesn’t bring you joy, and doesn’t contribute to your own wellbeing.
Just like you get to decide what you put into your body, you also get to decide what to put into your brain. If someone keeps offering you things that aren’t good for you, it’s not cruel to say “No thank you”.
I know that sometimes, you can’t avoid seeing horrible, traumatic things on the internet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect yourself for the things that you can avoid, and sometimes that means hiding that cousin who plays devil’s advocate for fun.
Sorry mate, the devil has enough representatives.
Reflex Social Services is an Australian nonprofit charity that delivers mental and social health services to people in need throughout Newcastle, the Central Coast and the Hunter Valley.
This publication, Flex-Ed, is a resource for the latest in mental and social health research and development.