Tired of that pit in your stomach when you’re doom scrolling? Here’s how to curate a more positive feed.
I recently had an epiphany about my social media usage after finding myself four videos deep in “story times” full of tears before bed; this was not entertaining, completely irrelevant to my life and not what I wanted to end my day on. Scrolling is the last thing I do before sleep and the first thing I do in the morning, setting how I both start and finish my day. If this is the case shouldn’t what I’m consuming reflect what I actually want to see on social media?
My epiphany sent me on a mission to fill my TikTok with pretty things; poetry, empowerment and live music I’d never otherwise see. Long lost clips of The Beatles, book recommendations and charity shop hauls. Travel recommendations, Glasgow in the 60s and happy people. My kind of funny, and dogs. The videos that were previously mixed in with toxic diet culture, arguments and hate crimes. I didn’t want to see those kinds of things anymore.
To achieve the For You page of my dreams I had to start actively abusing the algorithm. TikTok is based around algorithmic technologies, they show you what you’ve previously engaged with; if that’s fully watching the video out of boredom, sending to a friend because of how ridiculous it is or viewing the page to see more. I was giving hateful content the reaction it’s created to attain. I stopped engaging with this content full stop, scrolling on and blocking or removing content that triggered me or that I didn’t want to see more of, and positively engaging with the content I really enjoyed.
This shift in how I manipulated TikTok transpired into how I use my other social medias. Another big platform with a bad rap is Instagram, a platform I have previously had a toxic relationship with. Instagram makes comparison unavoidable, the platforms purpose rooted in how people are presenting their lives; it’s so easy to go on Instagram and see people broadcast the beauty of their life and feel inferior. Along with this, having had Instagram since primary school I have followers that I’m completely disconnected from or even have a negative relationship with. Being able to stalk their profiles embodied some sort of self-sabotage I could mindlessly partake in. Removing these followers made the platform judgement free for me, I could post what I wanted, and I was posting for me rather than to broadcast some sort of message about how happy I am or how I look. The way I think of Instagram has been completely redesigned; I love taking pictures and documenting happy moments, so I view Instagram as a scrapbook rather than a projection of my worth. This mindset means I’m not bothered about likes and story views, because it’s for me to look back on as a collection of memories.
My late-night epiphany completely reshaped my relationship with social media. Being tactical about consumption of media and my own profiles made both these platforms happy places to be, full of niches, happy photos and media that I positively engage with.