Inspired by this video by John Green, I’ve been thinking a lot about to what/who I give my attention to in the internet. Even before the video was published, I had been pondering how to spend my time more effectively on the different social media platforms. A few days ago I took a good look at all of my accounts, and the people I follow as well as the content I subscribe to, and asked myself a few questions;
- Does this person/content challenge my views and make me think?
- Does this person/content affect my mood positively or negatively?
- Do I really need watch someone else live their life, and then also follow them on every social media platform in order to keep up with their life?
- Is it necessary for me to follow celebrities who mostly post pictures of themselves that are photoshopped or from the red carpet?
- Can I truly relate to this content? etc.
After meditating on these questions a while, I unfollowed all the people/content that didn’t spark any activity in my mind when I came across the posts. I have to admit that it was actually kind of hard to unfollow some people whose videos I’ve watched for years, and on whose life I’ve been very invested in, but on the other hand when I did hit the unfollow button, I didn’t regret it and I’ve found that I don’t miss the content that used to fill my feeds at all. After all, these were people whom I do not personally know, and who probably wouldn’t want to be friends with me in real life, so what’s the point in following their life if there is nothing that I can get from them.
In retrospect it’s odd how quickly you can get addicted on watching other people’s lives. I know that there is a natural curiosity, that makes us want to see how others live their life, and I know that it can be comforting and give support to some extent, but for me the people I followed closely didn’t do that. There is a lot of content available that is educating, and deals with current issues going on in the world, and for me that kind of content feels more fulfilling. I want to put my critical thinking skills to use and grow as a consumer of content.
Personally I don’t want the internet to be a place that lures me in and traps me in it’s embrace. I would rather like it to be a place where I can inform myself, and connect with people by sharing thoughts on issues that I care about. When I open my feeds, I want to see what’s going on in the world, but also be inspired, laugh and feel a connection with people. I’ve often thought about completely deleting my social media accounts, but now that I’m more conscious about how I share my attention, I feel like I’m getting more back from it than previously.
I think the key to avoid being overwhelmed with all the information is to choose the content you consume carefully, and explore different sources of information, and seek a balance between different platforms. I’m loving this change in my social media habits as I’m able to enjoy the content I follow more and explore it thoroughly, rather than doing the mindless scrolling and double tapping something here and there. In the end of the day, I don’t want to live my life through social media, it can be a tool to share moments and a source for information, but it cannot be what’s leading the course of my life.