Social Media Cleanse

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social media
©Delmaine Donson via Canva.com

Usually, when I see the word cleanse, it is tied to some diet fad, like a juice cleanse, and to that, I say hard pass, no thank you, my body needs solid food. However, I have been all about one “cleanse” lately, and that cleanse, my friends, is a social media cleanse. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are parts of social media I enjoy: funny memes about motherhood, the sense of community, connecting with family members I rarely see, and you can’t forget about the baby and dog pictures. Then there are the not-so-great parts—the parts that don’t make us feel good and overall give us the ick. Those are the parts that I am cleansing, and it is a liberating journey that I invite you all to come on with me. 

Before we dive into how we are going to approach this cleanse, one of my all-time favorite podcasts, We Can Do Hard Things, reminded me of something about social media. In the episode “Should We Quit Social Media,” they discuss the naive beginnings of social media. You remember the early days, the days before Grandma was on Facebook. They discussed how social media was made to bring people together and help us connect. And while I believe there are still parts of social media that make us feel joy and connection, lots of other parts have turned toxic. On this particular episode, they call it a “hellscape.”

I sometimes forget this is all a choice. We have a choice in who we follow, who we are friends with, and what content we choose to take in. Ain’t nobody going to jail if you unfollow that influencer that makes you feel like crap for the clothes you wear. This social media cleanse is a conscious choice for me to choose joy as we go into 2024. 

The first place we are going to start on our cleanse journey is asking ourselves this very simple question: Is following this account or being friends with this person bringing me joy? If the answer is a resounding no, then get ‘em out of here! You may not want to take that aggressive approach at first, but I am choosing a “no holds barred” type of cleanse where no one is safe!  And dang does it feel good!

The next stop on our social media cleanse journey is what we call “low-hanging fruit.” What I mean by that is if you are scrolling through your Facebook feed and someone pops up that you have no idea who that person is, then that is the low-hanging fruit: easy unfriend/ unfollow. I have so many of these; it’s shameful. Like the girl from my floor freshman year whom we barely said two words to each other, the coworker who I worked with ten-plus years ago that I will never see again in my life or the random older gentleman I met at a brewery who lives in Michigan that after several craft beers we decided we needed to be Facebook friends (true story). Click that unfriend button, and man, that feels good. We are just getting started, friends!

Next, let’s talk about “influencers” and “social media content creators,” which I think are pretty much the same with different fancy titles. This is also low-hanging fruit because I refuse to follow anyone who isn’t showing up like a real human. You know the influencers I’m talking about. Influencers that make it seem like their life is perfect, their homes are spotless, their kids only eat organic homemade food for every meal, and they are the most well-behaved children on the planet. Ya, those influencers. It’s time to get rid of them. 

Lastly, the hard ones. Maybe family members that are constantly postings things that infuriate you or people who you used to be close friends with but had a falling out. If you are like me and a people pleaser and don’t want to risk getting anyone upset, I get it. But let’s remember why we are on this journey in the first place: joy. If seeing that person’s posts doesn’t bring you joy or make you sad because they are no longer part of your life, give them an unfollow. 

Cleansing my social media of anything that does not resemble joy is beyond freeing. It also brings back some of what social media was meant to be: genuine connection, and there is something pretty fulfilling about connecting with amazing humans. 

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