Controlling What I Consume on Social Media

I've been thinking about this for a while. It wasn't something I imagined I create into a blog post but here we are. I wanted to share my thoughts around my own personal mental health, how I stay positive and motivated, and what I chose to consume on social media.

I started my YouTube channel over seven years ago. I've probably been using social media for around ten years, and only within the last year or so have I started to unfollow or remove myself from seeing or consuming certain people/channels/accounts etc.

With algorithms on Instagram and recommended videos to watch on YouTube, these social networking sites have been collecting data on what I do and don't watch for years. I found myself clicking on a video about 'Why X and X aren't friends anymore' which was easily fifteen minutes of my life I won't get back. A video purely about the breakdown of someone else's friendship. This got me questioning, why did I click this? Does this make me feel good? Is this entertaining to me?

It was that day that I decided I didn't want to be 'shown' these things anymore. I want social feeds that are inspiring, entertaining (to me), enlightening and real. I want my Instagram home page to be filled with body positivity, home inspiration, motivational people, blogging business ideas, brands I love, a bit of Disney, real life, travel and of course, my pals too. I found myself starting to unfollow some accounts which didn't make me feel great, and suddenly, I felt a huge weight off my shoulder. This wasn't just fellow bloggers, it was brands I don't shop with, or celebrities from TV shows that I just don't have an interest in.

I did the same with YouTube too. I unsubscribed to channels which aren't my cup of tea anymore. People I once loved but as I've changed, so have they, and maybe their content just isn't for me. With less people in my sub box, it allowed me to make space for new channels which I prefer, and helped remind me of channels I once pushed to the side.

The mute button on Twitter is genius to avoid the 'unfollowing drama' that might come with making a decision purely for yourself. Sometimes it's not a reflection on the person or page, but my opinions might have changed and therefore, what I consume has too. For example, I used to do Slimming World earlier this year, which genuinely changed my attitude towards my health and helped shape me to make better decisions. I now no longer follow the plan or attend the sessions, so I unfollowed all the SW accounts which once helped inspired me, but no longer do.

A few of my friends have said they've experienced a guilty feeling of maybe meeting someone in real life, following them because you've met, and then feeling awful because you don't want to keep up with their life anymore. This is exactly how I felt for a while, but with mental health being a huge topic of conversation at the moment, and social media consuming so much of our lives, I think it's really important to find the balance between following for following-sake, or putting your own happiness first and curating a feed which is best fit for you.

This year was huge for me in terms of health, diet, wellness and body image. These are sensitive topics to some people and can be hugely triggering if you see something which doesn't sit right with you. I am all for wanting to better myself, but when a blogger I once loved shared their diet on shakes and soups, I knew this wasn't the content to help keep me on track or inspire me to eat healthier meals. It was triggering to me personally, and made me question if I therefore needed shakes to shift some weight. Awful.

I appreciate that I am also an 'influencer', and there may be topics or products I love which also don't sit right with other people. It's perfectly okay to follow people who have different opinions or ideas on certain things, I think this is healthy and starts some great conversations. But there comes a time where you have to recognise if the account your following is feeding you too much negativity or isn't for you anymore.

I try my very best to keep my online space real and relatable, which might not be to everyone's taste either. You might prefer aspirational content, luxury lifestyle or have a page which is niche to one thing, and that's absolutely okay.

I unfollowed a few Disney bloggers because I personally felt like I was being shown too much of the same type of content, even though I love it. One of the accounts actually DM'd me and asked why I unfollowed her. We met once and I wouldn't call her a friend necessarily (otherwise it's a different story!), and felt it odd she felt the need to know (she had more followers than me too). Hear it from me, don't take it personally if someone makes that decision, and don't ask them to justify it. It made me feel so uncomfortable and just highlighted why so many people feel this guilty for doing something so simple. I recently learnt these simple things:

Follow who you want, this might change over time. 
Don't worry if someone decides to unfollow you.
It's okay to feel guilty unfollowing, but you'll feel better in time for making that decision.
Create content you love, and people will support you no matter what.
Whether it's a hobby or your job, take a social media break if/when you need it.

My point here is, take ten minutes this weekend to review who or what you follow online. YOU are in control of your feeds. As we know, engagement is key for being shown posts which make you feel great, so leave comments on posts you love, 'like' photos you actually like on Instagram, and make it your mission to have a more positive space online. After all, we are all only human and what each of us likes/dislikes/consumes is different, and that's absolutely okay.


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