A few years ago I got really fed up with social media, I felt that it was negative and drama filled. What I quickly realized though, is that it went beyond social media, it felt like a lot of my life was that way.
Social media wasn’t the problem, it was what I allowed into my focus and my world that was the problem.
It isn’t surprising that social media could have this big of an impact on my world considering that Americans spend an average of 2 hours per day on social media. In search of a solution, I started to very intentionally curate my social media feed which began with some cleaning house. Here is how I approached it.
Step 1 : Minimize the Negativity
I unfollowed people who were always posting dramatic or negative things. On Twitter and Instagram I realized I’d Followed people just because they followed me – just because someone likes what I have to say, doesn’t mean I like what they’re saying. On Facebook you can ‘unfollow’ without ‘unfriending’ which sometimes is all I needed to do.
For me this included most political/news related things as well as some ‘comedy’ groups. I should say here, I didn’t eliminate people just because they honestly posted about something they were dealing with in life. I eliminated people who use social media as a soap box, or as a place to perpetually vent, or to stir the political pot etc.
Step 2: Increase the Positivity
This was the really fun part. I searched for pages, groups and people who focus on positive and uplifting things, like Upworthy, Ellen DeGeneres, SoulPancake and JollyNinjas. I can suggest others if you like, just Private Message me on FB and I’ll start tagging you in awesomeness so you can follow along too. 🙂 It’s amazing how the breadcrumbs unfold before you as you start following the trails of positive, cool stuff out there.
Step 3: Consider My Contribution
What do I share and post? Am I someone that others would have to unfollow in going through this same exercise? Was I contributing to the downward spiral? To ensure the answer was No I made a few commitments:
- Allow my social media posts to accurately represent my life (post about the good and the bad)
- Ensure that my posts always forward a conversation
- Take ownership for my experience and attempt to forward and spread the positive things in the world
Keep in mind, I use social media as a business tool and I’m a personality brand. So your commitments may be different than mine.
Step 4: Maintenance
The way I handle this one is mostly because I depend on social media pretty heavily in my marketing strategies.
I schedule time to review my social media weekly.
On Facebook, I rarely accept a Friend Request if we don’t have at least one friend in common. As soon as I accept I immediately add them to the ‘Acquaintances’ List under ‘Friends’. I also immediately look at their feed to decide if I want to Unfollow them or not (the default on Facebook is to Follow a new Friend). I have a few additional lists I maintain that I might also add them to in order to help me remember the context for our connection later.
On Twitter and Instagram I look at who has followed me and decide if I want to ‘follow back’ or engage them. As for LinkedIn, I only accept people I know or who I have 3+ connections in common with.
The last thing I do across the board is send them the following message:
Hi there – I’m always excited to connect with new people. So much so that I have a welcome video. I would love to know what lead you to connect with me.
Once a week I (or my VA) look through my sent messages and anyone who hasn’t responded to my welcome note get’s a follow up and eventually removed if they don’t reply, because I only want to connect with people who genuinely want to connect.
I won’t lie and say this was super fast task to achieve. It took several hours over the course of a few weeks to accomplish. And it was totally worth it.
Now my feeds make me happy, constantly inspires, educate and mine are truly ways for people to have a window into my real life.
Here’s the thing, you can curate your experience of life just like social media. As I worked on my social media I also looked around my life and did some clean up there. I stopped hanging out with some negative people, I changed the music I listened to, and in my case I eventually switched jobs, leaving the corporate world to start Wildflower. I know it may sound extreme, but these things really were kick started by me setting some boundaries around social media.
If there are influences in your life or your business that aren’t serving you, remove them. If you have an employee that causes more trouble and stress than benefits and results, fire them. If you have a vendor that isn’t delivering what they committed to, talk to them.
It’s easy to become passive about life and our experiences in it, don’t forget you control your world. It’s possible that social media is the best place to start, it was for me.
If you’d like to follow me on social media here’s how: