Confession: I reactivated my Facebook account. I know. I know I know I know I know I know.
How did such a thing occur? Well. I hopped back on Facebook around the time the seasons were transforming from frigid temperatures to blooming trees. It all started with insomnia and lots and lots of late night thinking and sleepless thoughts.
I know I know I know. Vague is annoying but my reasons for jumping back into the online hemisphere may not be “good reasons” and I don’t feel l like defending them. I will tell you one main reason is due to the fact that it is now Love Will Foundation‘s fundraising season. As much as I despise social media, I reluctantly accept the fact that it does help to spread awareness and subsequently helps one raise money. I mean I don’t like that it is an effective marketing tool but it is. I am beginning to wonder if avoiding social media is like the proverbial cutting off my nose to spite my face. Where is the line between standing up for what you believe in and then utilizing tools that are at your disposal to advocate for what you believe in?
I don’t want to encourage people to be on social media but they are on it so why not share how they can help my non-profit pay for counseling sessions in the greater St. Louis area by signing up for and or sponsoring our upcoming in person but also virtual option Move for Mental Health Fun Run?
Subtle plug. Anyway.
I reactivated my own personal profile which is mostly public because it is mostly Love Will. Unless I am posting pictures of my real life and then, believe it or not, I do value privacy in some areas of life so those are reserved for Facebook friends only.
I have not re-upped Rebel Housewife on social media nor do I intend to. As I have spent a looooot of time reflecting on social media and the impact it has on me, I have realized that the part of online platforms that stirred up the most anxiety within my soul was the Rebel Housewife part.
Ugh. I hate to say that because I wanted it to be something big. Something great. Something that brought misfits together and let them know that they actually fit perfectly together exactly where they are. But there’s a rat race in that and it goes something like this…
You have to say the right thing to get people to share your shit so you can excel in the algorithm and go viral. And what you as the content creator thinks is the right thing and what people out in the online world think is the right thing are often out of sync.
At least for me.
If you don’t go viral, then you won’t grow. And if you don’t grow you won’t find yourself among the likes of literary agents and publishers. So you start tailoring your words and your content to please the first 25 random and invisible to you people that Facebook selects to see your post. You have no idea which people you are even talking to so usually it’s not authentic and quite honestly, it feels desperate. I am a lot of things but, so help me, desperate is not one of them. I may also have a slight pride issue but I’ll put a pin in that and work that out later.
I think that social media made me ‘should’ on myself when it came to my writing and non-profit goals. I think it made me feel like bigger was better. And that my words only mattered if they were read by millions. And that writing is only worth my time if I’m making a big ol’ paycheck from it. I think it made me want to be seen without realizing that I am already seen by those who matter. I think social media made me want to want something that wasn’t true to…well, me.
What if I’m not meant to be the next Glennon Doyle and I’m just meant to be me. And what if that’s enough?
All that to say that I can’t really see a world where building an audience on Facebook serves my mental health or fills my soul.
One thing I learned after taking a six month social media sabbatical is that nothing is worth my inner peace. I’ve chosen my mental health over a lot of things and building an online community of hundreds of thousands so I can get a book deal is something I have come to happily sacrifice. Because after all, there isn’t a world where I can have both.
Reactivating my account has been getting my brain turning. I have been unfollowing pages and leaving groups that stir up negativity in me- even if they don’t mean to. Not everyone is for everyone and that includes this blog and let me tell you that is a bitter pill for a trying- to- be- recovering- co-dependent- people- pleaser to swallow.
My point is, I have worked hard to curate a newsfeed that serves me. That only brings me joy. I think we get trapped in this mindset that consuming things that are seemingly informative keeps us informed. I think we need to start recognizing that there is a difference between being informed and being coerced. There’s a difference between taking responsibility for our reactions and holding others accountable for their actions- or more accurately- their posts.
Learning about events and gaining knowledge on the facts…well, I think that counts as being informed. Reading or listening to (because now we have reels) what every Tom, Dick, and Harry think about what is really going on in whatever news cycle-for lack of a better word- is annoying.
I may as well continue my soap box reflection here and mull over the fact that what I don’t like about social media is that it is not forgiving. It doesn’t give grace when people change their minds. I’ve said it before- being a writer and putting things into the world on paper (or online) is nerve wracking because it is there and it is not going anywhere. You can’t come back one day and say “I never said that.”
I mean isn’t that why they say to get things in writing like job offers and pay raises and anything legal in general? But social media shouldn’t be a contract. It shouldn’t be something we are held too for eternity because we evolve. Unless it should be and then there’s a whole lot of folks who need to seriously reevaluate their personal posts and hasty shares.
Anyway. The ultimate point is that if we are going to have to be on social media, then I wanted to share some tips for personalizing your feed to serve you and to serve you unapologetically.
Let’s get to it.
Bu-bye. Block, hide, unfollow. Don’t even think twice about it. If someone’s posts bring out envy or pain or fear or paranoia, they gone. You aren’t serving yourself by following people or pages or groups that trigger you and you aren’t serving them by subconsciously wishing ill will on them. Stick to the pages that provoke a feeling that you enjoy, not one that you dread.
Follow funny. I’m getting to a point in life where I just want to laugh. Like I know serious shit is going on in the world but fuck if I don’t need some light-hearted scrolling more than every once in a while. Laughter stimulates endorphins or something along those lines which boost serotonin or something like that so all of that should be encouraged. One thing I have found is that there are a shit-ton of hilarious content creators from CSAPUNCH to Logan Lisle. Go find em. And follow em. And laugh with em. And get that serotonin flowing, friends.
Find your people. Same idea as the above except with the guideline of following accounts that are advocate for causes that speak to your heart. There is literally an organization for everything. I have been astounded at how many non-profits there are in every community and how they are all doing amazing things.
*cough cough Love Will Foundation, cough cough*
But seriously, support the organizations doing the work that breathes life into your soul and elevate them as high as you can because they may be the helpers but they need YOUR help.
Boundary up. When you find yourself scrolling and then some amount of time passes and you aren’t really sure what day it is anymore and you realize that you are still scrolling, get off whatever app is sucking your mental energy dry. When you finally come to, remind yourself that this is the time when you could be doing all those things that you never have time for. Sober up and see that you do have time. You just have to decide how you want to spend it.
Weight training. Guys. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take things out of your mind and onto a visual surface. There is a difference between thinking thoughts and performing actions. I think that difference comes in the form of writing it down. So all those things that come to mind like that book on your night stand table that taunts you every night as you set your alarm because yet again you ran out of time to turn its pages…write those down on a post it note. And then put that little sticky note on your phone. And then refer to said list before scrolling. Keep it there until you have retrained your brain to do things before you start mindlessly watching other people do things.
Fuck convenience. Every Friday I delete my Facebook app off my phone because I am 100% more likely to spend my weekends scrolling through my newsfeed when there is an app on my phone than when I have to walk my happy ass downstairs to my desktop computer and wait for that shit to load. It is pretty easy to stay away from scrolling (and have a mindful 48 hours) when you make it as inconvenient as possible for yourself.
So there you have it.
If you wanna find purpose in social media- and God dammit if I am not looking for social media to have some sort of purpose- then experiment with tailoring a newsfeed that brings you laughter, joy, and facts. I kind of think you will feel lighter and brighter and the world will feel more hopeful and less doomsday-ey.
In a world that makes us feel like we should want more, what we have is enough. I really believe that the only thing in this world that has more influence than a lot of money is a lot of followers. So make sure who you follow and the content you engage in is rippling out the things that you want to see more of in this world.