Do you feel frustrated or victimized every time you open Facebook? The past year’s election frenzy has exhausted many Facebook users. People are overwhelmed by negativity and judgement on their newsfeeds. It’s true that much of my newsfeed is negative political or governmental issues. Yet world problems are counterbalanced by posts of delightful humor, wisdom, insights, and inspiration. I am thankful to have friends who care, sign petitions, and take whatever constructive action they can in their busy lives. Sharing our caring is important to me. So how can we bring balance to our timeline so we aren’t so overwhelmed?
I’ve learned methods to work around Facebook turmoil so that my newsfeed is informative yet not filled with vitriol. Maybe one or more of these will help you.
Side note A: The intention of this article is to “clean up” your newsfeed posts. If you enjoy engaging in invigorating debate – this post is not for you.
Side note B: I am not a techie by nature, so read with that in mind!
1. Scan down newsfeed posts and skip reading those that are negative.
Who is standing over your shoulder insisting you read every post on your newsfeed? Control that urge so you can take charge of your Facebook experience. Most of us don’t read every article and advertisement in a magazine or newspaper (remember those?). We pick and choose. Same thing with your timeline – pick and choose.
I enjoy posts that are passionate and strong. They raise questions in my mind and open doors to new ways of thinking. Dissenting comments on my posts make me re-think my beliefs and encourage me to express better in the future. But ugly, finger-pointing, blaming, whining, hateful posts are not welcome on my newsfeed.
Some posts are distressing. When I see a post on inhumane treatment of animals, I breeze on past. I know about it. I’ve seen the videos already. I donate to the cause when I can. But I don’t need to watch something that distresses me. Becoming upset doesn’t help me or the animals.
During election season, friends posted biased information from all points of view, and I’m okay with that. I carry my share of bias, too. But once I reach saturation on a subject, I ignore those posts and move past. I can agree, or disagree, but don’t have to opinionate every time.
2. Practice even mindedness.
Before you open Facebook, acknowledge that you won’t agree with every post. You haven’t been elected general manager of Facebook, so don’t get emotionally riled when someone posts something you consider “wrong”. Facebook is like eavesdropping on other people’s mental ramblings. It doesn’t need a response.
If you seek self-improvement in life, maintaining an emotionally mature and calm presence is key to maintaining life composure. We can witness events without engaging emotionally. There’s no better place than Facebook (or driving in traffic) to sharpen this skill set!
3. Do not “comment” or click on the “like-love-wow-sad-mad” option if a post brings you down.
Every time you respond in either of these ways to a post, it feeds into the Facebook algorithm used to decide which posts show up on your timeline. The more frequently you react to a friend’s unwanted posts, the more frequently that friend’s posts show up on your timeline.
Your personal post reaches only your friends (if you have it set that way) whereas if you comment on a friend’s post, it can show up to their friends, too. If someone else’s posts bring you down, why invite their friends to your Facebook party, too?
5) Frequently comment or “like-love-wow-sad-mad” on posts you enjoy and benefit from.
This increases desirable posts. The more frequently you react to a friend’s appreciated posts, the more frequently that friend’s posts show up on your timeline.
6) Go to personal pages of friends whose posts you enjoy and respond multiple times to their posts.
If I have a challenging day, I can go to positive, emotionally mature friends’ pages to read their posts. Skip your own timeline if it’s negative and go straight to pages of friends of choice. While you are on their page, remember to give their posts positive likes or comments.
The more you react to a friend’s posts, the more frequently that friend’s posts show up on your timeline.
7. Hide posts you don’t want on your newsfeed.
At the top right hand corner of a post, click on the down arrow. Then select “Hide Post”. That post will no longer be visible. You will also find a choice of “Unfollow'” there if you want to disconnect from that friend. The Facebook algorithm will learn you don’t like a type of post and eventually cease sending similar info to your page.
8. Unfriend or Unfollow any friend who doesn’t fit in your reality.
Most of us have occasionally friended someone who proves incompatible. It’s like going with friends to a gathering, meeting one of their buddies, and deciding that they don’t fit your lifestyle. Let them go.
I welcome strong opinions when they are respectful and fair. I unfollow people whose anger consistently spews out toxic fumes on certain issues.
How to Unfriend: Go to their home page. Along the bottom of their top banner picture, click on “Friends” and then choose “unfriend” from the options. They won’t know you unfriended them unless they notice your posts no longer appear on their page, or they go to your personal page and can’t access it as a friend. Rarely happens.
How to Unfollow: Follow “unfollow” instructions in #7, or go to their home page. Along the bottom of their top banner picture, click on “Following” and then choose “unfollow” from the options. They will remain a friend, and they won’t know you unfollowed them, but their posts will no longer appear on your page and your posts will no longer appear on theirs.
When applying these ideas, give it time to work. Then begin enjoying the benefits of Facebook again. As with other forms of communication, it can be a blessing or a curse. It’s up to you to take charge.
Take life into your own hands and make it happen. It’s your life. Lead it.
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