Social Media Filters & Other Ways To Stay Calm On Twitter & Facebook
Social media can be intense at the best of times. As this certainly isn’t the best of times, social platforms have fast become hot hubs of fear-mongering, panic and the high emotion that comes with them. For those who need to use social media like Twitter & Facebook as part of their job – or those who just have the 21st century addiction – it can be near impossible to visit socials and remain unaffected by the constant stream of negativity.
There are a few tips I’ve discovered to help avoid the worst of social media while still being able to visit and enjoy positive interactions. You’ll probably know even more that the ones I detail here, and I really hope you’ll consider adding your own tips & advice in the comments at the end of this post.
Let’s have a look at the steps you can take to reduce negativity and drama on your social media timelines.
Make use of the mute function. You can mute people so their tweets don’t show up in your feed (handy when it would simply cause too much drama to unfollow and/or block), but you can also mute specific hashtags and phrases. This is extremely useful for avoiding your specific triggers when exploring the Twitterverse.
Just head to Settings, then you’ll see the options for muting accounts or words in the list – as you can see in this snip from my account:
Realise that you don’t have to reply to your mentions. It doesn’t seem to matter what I tweet, someone somewhere is going to disagree with what I’ve said, have an opinion on it, offer their advice or in some way interact. These interactions are all at once the best and worst thing about Twitter. Some days I feel chatty, some days I feel fair, some days I feel grumpy and anti-social and sensitive to everything. I’ve come to realise that the world won’t end if I don’t reply to the mentions in my notifications tab, and this realisation brings with it a happier, more liberated use of the Twitter platform.
Post your tweets from a 3rd party app. Some days I just can’t deal with being on Twitter at all. Just. Cannot. Deal. But I still need to post tweets. Problem? Well not really – thanks to 3rd party posting apps.
I’m not talking about alternative Twitter programs like Hootsuite or TweetDeck which will still show your feed and mentions. I mean simple, post a tweet without seeing the rest of Twitter programs like Buffer, which is my absolute favourite thing. There’s a free version for the basics. I can go to Buffer, post a tweet now (or schedule for some time in the future) and wander off without getting embroiled.
Decide if the fallout is worth the hassle. Before getting involved in a heated debate on Twitter, or tweeting something which could be inflammatory to other users, consider whether the consequences are worth it. Unless you’ve got nerves of steel and a skin to match, it’s usually not worth it.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t have the right to say your piece, or to speak up about issues which are very important to you. Just consider whether a knee-jerk reactionary tweet to someone else’s opinion or about a particular topic will have a negative impact on you. Are you inviting an argument, or trolls?
There are other platforms than social media on which to share your opinions about topics and issues too, and in greater detail than 140 characters allows. Why not think about writing up your thoughts/frustrations/point of view on your very own blog?
Filter your news feed. Did you know you can filter out updates from your news feed which mention a specific word or phrase? FB Purity is a free extension which can be added to various browsers, giving you plenty of options to help make your Facebook a happier place.
I’ve taken the opportunity to pop some suggestions in the hidden phrases box. *halo emoji*
Curate your friends list to create a more peaceful Facebook for yourself. And by that, I don’t mean announcing that you’re doing a major friends cull in the hope it instills fear into the hearts of your frenemies. That’s just so cringe-worthy.
Simply go to your friends list, and decide for each person there if they are someone you really want to remain in contact with on Facebook. How do you know them? Are they just a friend of a friend? Some name you vaguely know through work? Or perhaps they’re someone who constantly ticks you off with their political rants or provocative comments on your posts which they undoubtedly think are hilarious. Time to click the ‘unfriend’ button.
You’re not obliged to be friends with anyone on Facebook. It’s your Facebook and your peace of mind and sanity is important. Don’t let anyone guilt you into connecting or remaining connected. But on the flip side, you don’t have to be that knob who makes a smug announcement whenever they delete someone either.
Establish social media posting rules for yourself, then do your best to stick to them. I’ll confess right now, this is a fantastic piece of advice which I fail to adhere to on a regular basis. It’s incredibly difficult. But if you make those rules for yourself at least you have a firm ‘code of conduct’ as the foundation for your social media activity. Write them down if it makes it easier, type them out in a document and save it somewhere easily accessible. Print it and keep it on your desk. You’ll break your own rules regularly but don’t beat yourself up about it too badly. At least you’re doing your best to keep social media the positive, helpful, balanced place it should be.
Some of my own rules in case you’d like to consider them too:
- Only reply to my mentions or comments on my updates when I feel mentally strong enough to deal with the ongoing conversation.
- Walk away from a thread or discussion when it becomes too hurtful, distressing or frustrating to continue. Even if it means I don’t get the last word.
- Avoid checking social media feeds as the last thing I do before sleep. This has affected how easily I get to sleep far too many times and I’m not willing to hand that sort of power over to social media.
- No posting on social media when I’m drunk. This is a tough one, but makes such a difference. No more waking up the next morning and realising you’ve made a total tit of yourself in front of the whole world or upset people you’d considered friends.
Don’t visit social media when you’re drunk or otherwise not in full control of your faculties. I know I just mentioned this, but it’s worth saying twice. When you’re drunk, your stream of consciousness seems logical, balanced and hilarious to you. But putting these thoughts out on social media could be triggering, upsetting or have an otherwise negative impact on your social media audience.
Try to remember to Put. The Phone. Down. when you reach that stage of tipsiness where you still have some sense about you. Or hand over your mobile devices to someone you trust not to give them back to you til morning.
Get acquainted with the do not disturb function on your mobile devices. This has been an absolute sanity saver for me. The constant beep of notifications, or (if I’m on silent) even the stream of new updates to my homescreen whenever I pick up my phone, can contribute to incredible amounts of anxiety. It’s reached a point for me where I was often picking up my phone, seeing a long list of notifications, and thinking, “Oh god, what’s happened now?”
I don’t want to feel oppressive negativity or anxiety every time I pick up my phone or tablet. That’s not fun, and not what social media should do, in my opinion.
Have a look through your settings and find out how to set the do not disturb function on your particular phone or tablet. There are often settings for stopping notifications from certain apps from being shown on your homescreen, too. If you’re on a desktop, remember than you don’t have to have Twitter and Facebook tabs open all the time. You can simply… click the x. Easy as that. Gone.
It’s a very liberating feeling, and even better when combined with a calming hot brew.
Remember that you control your own feed. If you’re seeing things you don’t want to see, consider whether you could resolve this by removing various people from your follow list or friends list. It’s easy to cave to peer pressure to follow certain people, certain cliques and accounts on Twitter in particular; but in reality you really don’t have to follow anyone you don’t want. There’s no obligation for you to follow those people. It’s not the law. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have a clearout sometimes and limit my Twitter following to people I feel fairly certain aren’t going to cause distress or anxiety – with a hefty dose of cute animal accounts thrown in for good measure.
If using social media in a professional capacity, remember exactly that. You’re there in a professional capacity, and no matter how tempting it may be, sharing what could be seen as controversial personal opinions or wading into debates with your size 9s just isn’t appropriate. You won’t do your business (or the business you’re representing) any favours at all. If you really need to get these things off your chest, set up personal social media accounts (if possible with no connection to the business at all) so you can state your opinions without any professional impact.
Why not be the change you want to see on social media? Post positive updates. Share happy news. I know it’s bloody difficult when the world seems to be falling down around our ears and every day seems to throw up more distress, sadness and oppression. Do you have any tidbits of happy you could share with the world to brighten someone’s day a little? It doesn’t matter how silly you think it is, I’m sure your followers would be glad to see something positive for a change.
Oh, go on then. Resort to the kitten videos and funny cat memes if you must. 😉
Hopefully you find the above suggestions useful when it comes to staying calm and happy on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Social media filters are a useful way to control exactly what enters your eyes and mind, giving you a valuable way to ‘opt-out’ of future distress and anxiety caused by certain triggers.
As a regular user of social media I feel an obligation not to add to the epic tide of shit which many people face when they log on to Twitter and Facebook. I’m doing my best to stick to my code of conduct rules (even though I fail regularly). I want to inject as much positivity and happy into my feeds as I can muster. I aim to turn to my personal blog to expand on topics important to me rather than engaging with challenging types and trolls.
If we all work together on this, we can help make social media a calm and happy place not just for ourselves but for everyone connected with us. And that’s definitely worth the effort.