08 Oct Stop The Negative Social Media Spiral
“Life is the sum of all your choices.” – Albert Camus
When you are on a social media site or app, do you click to the suggested images and accounts to follow?
Do you scroll through endless similar images, worded tweets, repeated regrams, retweets, and reblogs and wonder how can you get off this neverending barrage?
Recently published research from CHU Sainte-Justine and Université de Montreal has reported that the increased use of social media linked to growth in teenage depression as it shows off the apparent “perfect lives” of those with more wealthy lifestyles. The researchers found a clear correlation between the increase of depression symptoms with added use of social media or watching television.
Although this report explored teenagers rather than adults, the findings convey why we can fall into a negative spiral through our online activity from Instagram to Snapchat to Facebook to Youtube and Netflix.
Elroy Boers, post-doctoral researcher at Université de Montreal’s Department of Psychiatry, explains: “based on reinforcing Spirals Theory, people seek out and select information congruent with their current state-of-mind.
“The algorithmic features of television viewing and, in particular, social media, create and maintain a feedback loop by suggesting similar content to users based on their previous search and selection behaviour.”
Basically, when you make your initial choices, more similar content is recommended, and you will likely spiral into a positive or negative stream dependent on your mental state at the start. By continuing to click the recommendations, this leads you down that spiral feeding the negative or depressive state until you take control and pause it.
How can you stop this negative spiral on social media and media streaming?
Clear your browsing history. This enables you to start to delete the negative history which creates the algorithms, which in turn recommend further viewing and follow suggestions.
Unfollow or Unsubscribe and start again. Celebrities are known to clear their follows or archive their images and tweets when releasing new music or a movie or other product and then have the opportunity to start following from “zero”. If you revert to zero and start consciously following again, you can retake control from the algorithms.
Take some time by following a limited number of accounts. This enables you to clearly focus on the information, images and videos. Try removing one follow with every follow you add so you can consider which is the most positive, informative and useful to you.
Separate your accounts. Try creating different accounts for specific categories and follow a limited number only related to that account.
Start a brand new account. You can tell friends/colleagues/peers that you are starting again and invite the followers you want to remain as mutuals.
Use the Mute Button. If you do not want to lose mutual or upset your mutual on any social media account but find their content is negative, use the mute button so only you know that you are not seeing their content. You can allocate a time each week to check their account so you don’t miss anything important, but keep the negative flow to a limited period under your control.
Take a social media/streaming break. Start by uninstalling the apps when you are away on holiday this summer. You never know, you may not miss them and not want to reinstall. Consider carefully why you are reinstalling.
As Heather discusses on our Advance courses, you have the power to make your choices from getting up in the morning, and each choice can create a powerful trigger which affects your attitude and motivation. Your attitude and overall mental state on a daily and long term basis is dependent on each conscious choice you make.
So, next time, you’re about to click that button, consciously consider will this Follow or Subscribe be positive, helpful, and informative to you?