I like to mindlessly scroll through social media. It’s a guilty pleasure.
But what if it wasn’t a waste of my time? What if, dare I say, it was productive?
When I was going through my “I need to figure out who I am” phase, I had this whole idea that I would be an “observant” person who thought about and considered everything. So, I started thinking about the social media accounts I followed, which at the time were a variety of quote, news, memes, and relatable teen accounts and websites. I found that I absorbed every single post. I did this so I could talk with anyone, whether it was about the latest viral meme or a current event happening in a distant country.
But I soon realized my mistake.
There was so much diversity that I found myself becoming conflicted between the positive insights on life that half of those gave me on one hand and the complaints, criticisms and negative thoughts on how brutal people can be on the other. I began to wonder what it would be like if I made a conscious decision to only consume content that would serve to reinforce the person I wanted to be or at least inspire me to further my journey in that direction.
So I did an experiment.
If I did a social media cleanse and only followed positive, affirming accounts, would I become a more positive person?
After doing a life audit for my social and web consumption by unfollowing the sad quote accounts, the disparaging media, complaining and meme accounts and taking in all the encouraging ones day after day, I actually found myself becoming a more positive and compassionate person. Seriously. Even my friends and family said I had become a more positive and supportive person over the past few weeks.
I learned that I could shape who I was and my perspective on things by modifying what I consumed on my social media.
My social media scrolling was no longer a passive experience. My social media cleanse shifted it to become an active, life-affirming experience and opportunity.
I think that if you simply change the content you read on a daily basis, you can change your life – or at least your perspective towards it.
Think about it like this… if your goal is to become a great athlete, don’t you practice everyday in order to get better? You can think of improving or realigning your mind in the same way.
If you read content that has motivating messages or gives advice on how to become better at X, you’ll start to believe it and use it. Want to become a connoisseur of art? Follow accounts focusing on it. Want to improve your business? Follow accounts that are similar to your business, or that give advice on improving self-made businesses in general.
This may sound obvious and intuitive… since why wouldn’t you only follow accounts you actually like? While this is true, I have found that it is surprisingly common to follow accounts and people that actually only serve to have a negative impact on your life (whether you realize it or not).
A lot of this is due to FOMO – you don’t want to miss out on what others are talking or disparaging about.
While it is a simple solve to unfollow those accounts and focus on the ones that add value in your life, an important thing to note is that some part of you will always aware of your surroundings. It is up to you to make the choice to bring whatever is around you to the front of your attention… or not. So while you may end up scrolling “mindlessly” through your social media, you are actually taking some of it in and all of it will impact you in some small way. It’s the ones you choose to pay attention to that will really affect you.
Why not make the majority of the content you read geared to your goals? It will only benefit you in the end, maybe even make you more productive and excited to achieve your goals and will create intrinsic motivation in your life.
Easier said than done. The easiest way is to identify accounts you are not truly interested in – ones that do not offer positive value in your life. If you find yourself scrolling past more of the posts and not actually reading them, unfollow them. Sometimes it’s a good way to find out out what you are truly interested in. For example, I found that maybe I’m not as in interested in figuring out how to be a Youtuber as I thought I was since I never took the time to watch any of the videos of the accounts I followed.
So take a moment here and there to go through who you are following and figure out if you truly pay attention to the content.
The internet is an expansive and knowledgeable place, so use it to your advantage.
Instead of looking up the occasional article on “how to find your inner self”, follow accounts that will bring you to them or give you tidbits of information on how to do everyday. Eventually, the repetition will become ingrained into your thoughts and getting to where you want to be will be easier.