In many of my previous posts I have mentioned how important it is to keep your mental space "clean" or free from unnecessary information. And I think digital decluttering is one of the main aspects of it. Today we are going to talk about social media decluttering, because I found that it was especially important for improving my mental clarity and focus.
More than one in three adults (38%) in America see social media usage as harmful to mental health (according to American Psychiatric Association). However, it's very addicting, so even when we understand, that we should maybe take a break from social media or at least check it less often, we often fail to do so. Some people find it easier to stop using social media completely. I think with the right management we can make it work for us as oppose to against us. At least social media decluttering is worth a try.
What is social media decluttering? It's a tool that will help you to not only minimize your time spent on social media platforms (including YouTube, although it's not technically a social media platform) but also improve your experience and ease your anxiety.
How to declutter social media
SM decluttering starts with reviewing all the content you voluntarily consume on social media, as well contacts you have. I don't use social media for keeping in touch with my high school friends, so I would start (and I did) with subscriptions. Like with traditional decluttering (according to Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo) ask yourself a question: does this channel or account bring me joy or any other value? Do I follow this person for distraction, out of boredom, or I actually learn something new from them? Surprisingly, there will be times when you won't know why you "follow" certain people, and it's ok. The purpose of this process isn't to judge ourselves for what we do with our spare time, but to help us manage our time a little bit better.
With contacts it works the same. Do you keep someone in your contacts list because you value your friendship, or there is some other reason? Maybe you want to have many "friends" on your list, or you like to look at the pictures from people's vacations and family gatherings, or you simply don't want to hurt their feelings by removing them from your list. There are many people who would probably choose the latter. For them there is always a "mute" option. You can mute accounts you don't want to see any updates from. And some people should go from your life completely. This can be a hard decision, but there is nothing more freeing, believe me.
After reviewing subscriptions, I would recommend unsubscribing from the channels that you find "useless". They don't bring you joy and maybe even trigger negative feelings in you (like envy or you don't feel good about yourself looking at their pictures). Tip: if you find yourself regularly coming back and checking on them after unsubscribing, it maybe be a good idea consider subscribing back. But ask yourself first what it is about those accounts that keeps you around.
Some channels and accounts you will forget and won't think about ever again. That's what I found while going through this process. It's kind of like putting away clothes you no longer wear and seeing how much you need it. Very often we subscribe to many people and end up watching their videos and view their content and updates out of habit. That’s why it’s so important to review your social media subscriptions and contacts regularly to keep it minimal. It's a part of digital minimalism.
To make your experience using social media even better, choose to turn off app notifications on your phone and only check it out at the designated time. It will be hard in the beginning, but if you manage to do it, you will see that you have much more time for doing something else with your life rather than mindlessly scrolling through social media. Every time you get a notification, it makes you not only check it out but it brings you back to the app, where you will end up staying longer than you originally planned.
The reason why social media decluttering is so important is that it helps you spend your time following people that truly inspire you or bring any other important value to your life, which makes your usage of SM more intentional. Try to avoid mindless scrolling. If you find a new channel, review existing subscriptions - maybe it's time to unsubscribe from someone else to free up some time for new content.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful in your journey to digital minimalism. I'll see you next time on Pillows&Trees.