If you’re going to be successful and stay on track as a Minimalist, then it pays to be very aware of how social media can influence you. Not only is it a way to keep in contact with friends, it can be a real emotional drain, financial nightmare and a massive time sink. My tops tips for keeping social media within healthy limits are to minimise everything! That way you can keep it manageable. (This post will be primarily Facebook related, since that is the main site I use).
- First of all, cull your friends list as much as possible. I used to have hundreds of ‘friends’. Then you realise you’re sharing your life with people who you only met once or who you knew 20 years ago, when you were at school. You have no idea who they are now or what they could be doing with your information. So get rid of them! I now have 9 friends on social media, I cut it down to all but my closest friends who I see regularly. It might mean that you offend some people, but just have a gentle chat with them or send them an email to explain that it’s nothing personal and you’d actually rather see them in person. It’s actually much nicer when you meet up with someone and they don’t know everything that’s happened to you recently, that way you actually have something to talk about! I used to see so many photos from friends that made me feel bad about my life – surely unintentional on their part. But if you can’t afford or aren’t able to take world trips, seeing that kind of thing can send you down. Seeing other people’s posts of their partner, family or children can actually be really hurtful if that’s not a part of your life right now. I am a lot less depressed now that I choose not to compare myself with others through this media.
- Limit the audience for your posts, photos etc and keep everything really close to your chest. Nothing I share on social media is in the public domain because I don’t want total strangers finding pictures of me via Google. This is also helpful when it comes to employment as well, as most employers apparently now Google their employees to check up on them. I have been horrified at how little some parents seem to know about this. I have seen really personal information about people’s children or hospital treatment via ‘friends of friends’. When I have contacted them to let them know, they have been surprisingly off-hand about it! People who share that level of personal information about you are not true friends! Remember, you have no control over your information once you put it into the public domain, or even into that of your friends.
- Unlike every brand and page you can, keeping only what is really relevant, edifying and interesting to you. Most brands will use their page to promote stuff they want to sell you. You really don’t need to opt into that kind of subtle advertising on a voluntary basis! Cut it out of your life and you’ll find yourself wanting a lot less. You’ll also find your feed is much less cluttered.
- Be wary of pages that people create, or selling groups. A lot of the time they just want to sell you something. Whether it’s craft items they’ve made, deals they post about, or second hand items. You’re opening yourself up to a feed of stuff you don’t want or need, but they’ll try to make you think that you do. A lot of people now actively target social media users and when they post about an item their child, or they really want – they reply with a link to that item, a supposed great deal. Talk about temptation! All you’ll be doing is handing them a big chunk of affiliate cash, along with the company. I just don’t think people need this kind of thing in their lives. Bloggers and other personalities like this are the new form of advertising. The trouble is that this side of advertising isn’t regulated at all.
- Every day, Facebook pops up with ‘memories’ for me nowadays. They choose things from your timeline that they think you’d like to see. Sometimes you don’t want to be reminded or certain events, so I take this opportunity to review and edit my past (as it were!) That way, I won’t be reminded of it again next year.
- If you’ve created pages that you no longer need or use, then delete them. This takes a little time, perhaps a week or so but that tidies up your homepage.
- Check your profile page and remove all your personal information – your friends already know where you live, what your phone number is, how old you are, when your Birthday is or your relationship status etc. Don’t put this kind of information into the public domain. Click the tabs for ‘about’ and get rid of your work history, education and so on. I mean really, it’s all just a way for people to show of and your real friends don’t care about this! Get rid of links to your personal websites and pages on other social media. You’re just creating a trail that anyone could try to follow. I know that sounds sinister, but my other half had a talk at his school from the Police and what they shared was enough to make you want to get rid of social media altogether. I don’t think many Police use it!
- Try as I might, I can’t delete the ‘people you may know’ section – it’s another example of a nasty way that Facebook tries to lure you in, to friending people you don’t really know.
- Consider whether you really need Facebook at all. This applies equally to other social media. I got rid of LinkedIn that so many people told me I needed to have, as a professional. All it did for me was generate spam friend requests from desperate people. I didn’t need to spend all my time deleting and blocking randoms! My life has never been calmer since getting rid of it. I’d actually love to get rid of Facebook, but from time to time find it useful- for staying in touch with friends on the other side of the world, or because it makes it easy and quick to contact brands with complaints or compliments!
- Check boxes to make sure that friends can’t post photos or other statuses about you, before you get to review them. That way you act as your own editor. You may not want photos of your children at someone else’s house being posted.
- Remember to check all of this regularly, it’s easy for time to slip by and you forget what you put up there! As I was writing this, I edited my profile down a bit more too. It’s a good reminder.
- Stay safe online – don’t message people you don’t know and be especially careful in public groups, where all your posts are automatically public. Delete the Facebook app from your phone if you have it and turn off your chat feature, so you don’t get distracted. You’ll find your life a lot calmer if you don’t have constant notifications in real time. They will all still be there later and they probably aren’t that important!
- Consider unliking brands etc and only liking them again if you need to, like say you want to contact them to complain. That way they won’t clog up your newsfeed.
- You can use different settings for each of your friends, so if you have someone who’s overly political on Facebook- set it do they don’t appear in your newsfeed and infuriate you on a daily basis 😉
- I’m not sure if you can do this now, but you might consider using a nickname for Facebook. This is quite important if you are in a profession such as teaching or healthcare, where you don’t want pupils, patients or clients trying to ‘friend’ you.
- Consider setting a time limit for social media, so that you don’t spend so much time on it. Some people even give it up for Lent, you could try a self-imposed ban – perhaps at weekends or on Sundays? Spend some quality face-to-face time with people or pets you love instead.
I hope these tips help you to simplify your online life. If you implement them all you’ll find you’re spending a lot less time on social media, since there’s nothing much to read. Some more tips will be coming soon. Thanks for reading 🙂