Social Media Cleanse {Day 3}

Alrighty, welcome to day 3 of the Social Media Cleanse! I'm running on fumes tonight, so I'm going to keep today's post brief(er) than the last 2. Today, we're going to talk about cleaning up your timelines and the g word: GUILT. socialcleanse-day3

We've talked about identifying your top 3 social media triggers, consciously identifying your most emotionally-laden social media triggers, and how to deal with the super-emotional moments when those triggers do come into play. But what about the rest of the time? What about those other triggers and annoyances that are those metaphorical thorns in your side, that can make social media a huge annoyance rather than a pleasant or helpful and engaging experience?

Step 1. Identify the Problem (Topic/Group/People)

Noticing a pattern? This is a pretty recurrent theme throughout my therapy sessions, as well as in Buddhist teachings and in "conscious living" teachings- it's about being conscious and aware of the things that are making you unhappy. So, you've found your triggers (or if you haven't, take a few minutes to look for them.) Is it a specific topic/group that drives you nutty? Are there specific people who are driving you up the wall? The latter is what I'm really going to be focusing on today.

Step 2. Take a Deep Breath

Totally not kidding. For a lot of people -- myself included-- the act of unfollowing, unfriending, or even unsubscribing, can be very anxiety producing. So just breathe and remind yourself that you're doing this so you can be happier overall!

Step 3. Begin the Purge

Start with baby steps- unfollow/unsubscribe/hide/unfriend a few at a time. (Note: It's also a great time to sort/organize while you're at it!) If you're a social media fanatic like me, it's unrealistic to expect yourself to go through all of your networks at once anyways. I bet, though, if I asked you to name 5 people on any given social network -- be it Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or even your RSS feed reader-- that really bugged you or that you'd rather unfollow, you could probably name them pretty easily. My question to you is,what's holding you back from clearing out the negative nancies? If you're like me, you're probably being held back by:

  • guilt
  • fear of missing out
  • what if's

You can use sites like tweepi.com if you want to get down and dirty with your twitter unfollowing, which lets you sort followers by stats like klout score, reciprocal following, etc- it's a little more confusing than just going through your followers list, but if you're a data geek like me, it's pretty interesting. Unfortunately, Facebook unfriending is a pretty slow-going process these days: the best way is to hover over someone's name/picture in your timeline, then hover over your friendship status, and then click unfriend or unsubscribe. There's no way to bulk-unfriend on Facebook anymore.

For the record, if I'm triggering you on any of the aforementioned networks, especially with my political rabblerousing on facebook/twitter, I won't hold it against you for unfollowing me. I get it.

That being said-

Step 4. Deal with the Guilt- After You Purge

Ok, so this is my little secret that I'm sharing with y'all. If you try to handle the guiltwhileyou're cleaning up your networks, you'll never get through it. It becomes this naggy little old lady sitting on your shoulder, just like the little "fear of missing out monster" (which I'll talk about more tomorrow), going "aw, maybe you shouldn't unfollow that person," or "aw, now I feel bad."

Try not to feel bad while you unfollow. Do everything in your power while you're going through the cleanse to feel good AS YOU DO IT. If you have to wallow, do it once the deed is DONE.

At this point, once the unfriending/unfollowing is already said and done- you can always go back and refollow someone, but I've found that you start noticing how much more positive and happy your social media streams are and how much better you feel, and that guilt magically disappears really freaking fast. And trust me- I've got guilt to spare (I'm Jewish, it's genetic.)

So, that's the super quick and dirty guide to a basic social media purge and how to deal with the guilt (aka push it off until  you're done purging and then deal with it!) How do you guys handle cleaning up your social networks? Are you like me and just wait until they're pretty out of control or do you regularly maintain them? Are you good about keeping up with lists and organizing? What about facebook groups? Am I the only one who feels guilty about leaving those too?