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Do you remember when social media was actually fun?
Writing on friends’ Facebook walls and sharing status updates was exciting. Twitter was a place to quickly digest useful information. And you closed the browser tab with a smile, not a scowl.
If it seems like those days are far gone for you, don’t despair. You don’t need to give up on social media completely—you just need to make a few changes to start enjoying it again.
1. Unfollow Negative People
The first step to making social media a place you actually want to visit is cutting toxic people out of your interactions. If you follow any accounts you can’t stand, just stop following them! What appears in your feed is up to you, so you don’t need to apologize if you don’t want to see content from someone anymore.
Negative content comes in a variety of forms. Maybe you need to cut out that relative who does nothing but complain about politics. Or perhaps you follow a sarcastic page that never shares anything uplifting. And most people have a few friends who do nothing but sow discord among others.
By removing the negative people from your social feeds, you’ll make more room for positivity. This, in turn, will improve how you feel about the social sites and apps you use over time.
2. Limit Your Usage
The best thing anybody can do in 2018 is really limit social media and stop pretending to be friends with people they don't really like
— Courtney (@MyLifeAsCourt) April 16, 2018
Part of what makes social media a drag is the constant search for new posts. If you pull up the app on your phone mindlessly every five minutes, you’ll probably see the same posts over and over. This passive approach to social media makes it boring, and can result in you developing addictive qualities when you aren’t able to check it constantly.
A good solution to this is to set specific times for checking social media. You could plan to spend 15 minutes on your favorite social sites in the morning, 15 minutes when you get home from work, and 15 minutes before bed, as an example.
This way, you’ll have new posts to look at every time you get online. You also won’t get bogged down with constantly looking at social media on your phone. The time you spend on it per day might be the same, but it will be time better spent.
3. Interact More Often
What’s the point of following people on social media if you never interact with them?
— muvah ice????? (@_omnificent_) April 20, 2018
If you want to make your social circles more fun to take part in, why not lead the charge yourself? It’s easy to scroll through your feed, check out what’s new, and never use any of it as an opprtunity to connect with people. But that’s not an enriching experience.
When you find a thought-provoking article or have an interesting life experience, discuss it and ask your friends for their thoughts. If a friend shares something thought-provoking, use it to get a conversation going. Treating social media as more of a community and less a collection of people all shouting into the void makes it more, well, social.
4. Decide What You Really Enjoy
If you think Twitter sucks, you are following the wrong people.
If you think Facebook sucks, your friends and family are horrible people.
If you think Google+ sucks, delete the app and continue with Twitter.
— SteveToyne (@SteveToyne) April 12, 2018
There are no shortage of social media sites for you to spend your time on. Catching up with friends on Facebook, sharing witty tweets on Twitter, and capturing moments on Instagram are just the start. Snapchat, Foursquare, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and more all want you to connect with friends and share too.
It’s worth conducting an audit to see which of these social media services you actually use and enjoy. Do you actually get any benefit from checking in on Foursquare? When was the last time you formed a professional connection using LinkedIn? Instead of spreading yourself so thin across a range of services, pick the few you like best and focus on them.
5. Remember That Everyone’s Not Perfect
Social media has a nasty habit of making you feel terrible about yourself. People tend to only share the good moments happening in their lives, which means scrolling through your social feed can make your life seem lame in comparison.
An occasional reminder that you’re not the only one who hasn’t gotten everything together can do wonders for the way you approach life. Comparing yourself to everyone else is one of the easiest ways to suck all the fun out of social media.
6. Remove the Pervasive Metrics
Sometimes using social media can feel like a numbers game. You wonder how many people liked your latest status, or why your newest tweet didn’t get as many retweets as the last one. Over time, this makes you stop thinking about the people you’re interacting with as you focus on the numbers behind everything.
Some browser extensions by developer Ben Grosser can help you rethink this. Titled Facebook Demetricator and Twitter Demetricator, they simply hide number counts all over the interfaces of both social media sites.
For example, the Bill Jackson and 12 others like this text on your latest status update becomes Bill Jackson and others like this. You won’t see how many retweets every tweet has, how many people are going to an event, or how many friends you have on Facebook’s main pages.
Unfortunately, there’s no solution to this for the mobile apps. Instead, it’s helpful to disable notifications so you don’t have to worry about every new comment or other update. With no notifications, you can deal with matters that require your attention in your own time.
This approach isn’t for everyone, but if you’re tired of measuring everything by numbers, it could be the trick to changing the way you think about social media.
7. Make Sure You Understand the Basics
If you’re a seasoned user of any social media website, you might have forgotten the building blocks of using it. There’s a chance that you’re not enjoying the site as much simply because you have forgotten how to use it properly. A quick re-introduction could be a great help.
Thankfully, we’ve written guides to help you get back on track. Whether you want to know how to use Facebook properly, don’t understand how Twitter works, or want to learn the fundamentals of Snapchat, we have you covered.
You Can Reclaim the Fun of Social Media
We’re certainly not advocating that you need social media in your life. If you feel that it’s become so much of a time sink or distraction to the point that you’re better off without it, then by all means delete your social media accounts. Instead, these are suggestions for improving the social experience if you’re currently feeling disheartened by it.
By changing the way you think about, use, and interact with social media, you can make it a more enjoyable thing. And it should be enjoyable. Otherwise, what’s the point?
For more advice, check out our guide to avoiding boredom on social media.