Neptune Navigate Blog

Tips for online safety, security, and responsible digital citizenship for parents, kids, and families.

How to Turn Depressing Social Media into a Positive Influence

March 15, 2021

Do you ever wish it was easier to disconnect from the digital world we’re living in? Whether it’s arguments on Facebook, political rants on Twitter, or videos of a world seemingly gone mad on Instagram, it’s just hard to look away.  All of these platforms are so inundated with negativity and vitriol, it makes you wonder if there is anything good going on out there!

I’m sure there are people you know that simply “deactivated” from the digital doom and gloom. Others aren’t quite ready to throw in the towel, but they’re discouraged by the junk that filters between that cute picture of your friend’s baby and the latest recipe you want to try.  The good news is that there are ways you can turn these platforms into a positive addition to your life instead of them sucking the life out of you.

Let’s start with Facebook. The socially unacceptable options like “unfriending” and “blocking” may give you a bad reputation among friends or colleagues, so the easiest (and less socially awkward) thing to do is just “unfollow”. A friend of mine started from scratch on her Facebook account by unfollowing everyone and then only adding back those people she really wanted to hear from. This may seem kind of drastic, but it certainly worked for her.  She was able to maintain social media friendships without having her newsfeed inundated with arguments and pessimism.

Next, there’s Instagram. Instagram is typically the “playground” of social media. Fun videos, cute animal antics and helpful tutorials. To circumvent the things you don’t want to see, like your co-worker’s latest rant about whatever is bothering them today, you can have the app show less of these by tapping the post, tap the three little dots and select “not interested”. Or just narrow your list to accounts that bring happiness and positivity into your life.

Finally, let’s talk about Twitter. It didn’t get the name “Toxic Twitter” for nothing. The process for filtering Twitter is more complicated, but if you really want to clean it up, you’ll have to take the time. Muting and blocking Twitter accounts is the place to start. If there are specific accounts that you really like, then only follow them. That may mean you have to pare down the accounts you follow, but that is the point, right?  If the vetting process is just too overwhelming for you, follow my friend’s example and deactivate all your accounts and start with a fresh slate with a very specific group of people.

Stepping away might give you the opportunity to reevaluate your true connections on social media and find out what you really want and need from social media.