Social Media Diet Recipe
Social Media is unavoidable. Yes, some people can shut it down completely and it is good for them. I do not wish to be like them, but I want to have better control on my social media habit.
I was an early adopter of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I joined dozen other social media which crashed and burned in the last decade. If this is a resume, I would emphasize my 10+ years experience of social media in bold and all capital letters.
With that kind of “experience”, I hope I know what I want from social media. Just like any other diet, first step is to decide a goal. My goal is simple: moderation. Translating 'moderation" in social media is not an easy task, but I tried to summarize it in bullet points just to make it clearer.
- Well-informed but not overwhelmed-informed about current news.
- Keep in touch with family, friends and social connection (school, hobbies etc.)
- Keep in touch with technological issues and trends–this is my line of work so it will not work with everybody.
Most advice starts with “Delete your account(s)!”. Sorry, but no–this step is not for me. It is the easiest step though, just delete it and be done with it. Still not my first choice, however.
Basic strategy is to use reliable sources. This is tough but doable, the worst offender of this strategy is Facebook–your second grade friends could be some anti-vaccine agitators which you have no idea until they started to bark it out on your timeline. Based on the level of ‘threat’, I decided on these steps–disclaimer: this strategy is not for everyone, it might not work for you, but I hope to share this so everyone can at least have a reference. Hey, you might not want to diet afterall! Consuming those fatty and juicy social media feed is always satisfying and obviously, addicting.
Aka. Hell. It is so toxic, the only way to make it bearable without deleting the account is to unfollow everyone. Keep following Groups/Pages–some of them are actually good and informative, but keep an eye on the feed. Some groups turned into toxic feed dump (mostly about politic, religion and conspiracy theory) and when it happened, mute them for 30 days and if it is not getting any better, leave–that place is contaminated now.
Personally I only use Facebook Messenger and most of the time leave the Facebook web/app alone.
I have a soft spot for Twitter. Twitter is my social media of choice, it is the place where I mostly active–discussing, throwing opinions or just trading banters. Unfortunately, the leadership–escpecially the CEO, is either a scared and/or coward person or just pure evil. Anyway, that factor is outside the scope of this writing.
I found the best diet is to limit the amount of followed people. My limit is 200 people maximum. Others might have different limit. I found 200 to be balanced enough for me to be considerate who to follow but also leave a bit of wiggle room to follow some fun and ridiculous account.
I just follow whoever post good photos according to my taste. I never follow someone who told me to “follow back” just because we met in person if I do not find their feed interesting enough. Selfies, pets, holidays photos are not interesting in my book.
Replaceable with messenger services with group chat (Telegram, Signal, WeChat etc.). I pick WhatsApp because it is the one my circle of friends and family mostly use. We can argue if WhatsApp is a social media or not, but WhatsApp as a group chat is practically a social media on its own. So there’s that.
This is one of the toughest strategy to come up with. Especially with family. One of my relative is the epitome of hoax lighthouse, all of her message not related to family issue were 99% hoax. I have no idea where she got those but they were painful to read. I could not confront her–do not want to start family drama, and I could not leave the group–it’s a family group and as a family member live on the other side of the planet, it’s the only way I can keep in touch with the rest of them.
The ‘mute’ option helps a lot. Mute for 1 year is my default setup for every group chat I joined and/or invited.
This is my kryptonite. I could spent hours reading everything–mostly politics, technology, gaming, fashion and cute dogs photos. I rarely comment these days, used to be active several years ago. I do not have a real strategy here except put a limited amount of time per day and–referring to the basic strategy, do not start with /r/all and only join reliable subreddits. The last item is tricky, but common sense should works here. The point is to keep informed with the right issues.
I do not use SnapChat.
Other social media
I do not use other social media, but the Reddit’s strategy could apply here: Limit the time.
So there is that. This is my personal strategy but I hope it could be a guideline for someone who want to do social media diet. Adjust accordingly and without giving any promise, this strategy could have a significant impact on quality of (digital) life.
I always ended up in this totally wrong “10 Orang Indonesia Pertama yang Punya Akun Twitter”–translated roughly to “First 10 Indonesian on Twitter”. The first 7 are relatively correct but the last 3 are wrong. This list floated since 2012. ↩︎