It’s time for some spring cleaning and I’m not referring to your guest room closets or kitchen cabinets, I’m talking about your social media likes/follows/connections/etc. For most of us we’ve been on social media for over a decade now, and like any sane person, our likes and interests have changed over the last 10 years. For example, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a fan of every single person who ever competed on the Bachelor, but if you looked at the accounts I follow on Twitter, you might not know that. So, like I said, it’s time for a spring cleaning. Trust me.
It’s time to audit your ‘Likes’ because other people can see them.
To put it simply, the biggest reason to go through and regularly clean up pages/accounts that you follow and like is because the platforms are using your ‘like’, to promote paid posts to your friends. For example, on Facebook you like the page Joe’s Pizza, but your friend doesn’t. When Joe’s Pizza boosts a post (pays to promote it), there is a potential that your friends see that post and at the top of it, it says [Your Name] likes Joe’s Pizza.
Here’s where things get tricky though – pages on Facebook can change their name and their purpose without you ever knowing. So, five years ago, you liked Joe’s Pizza. Well since then Lucy bought the restaurant and changed it from a pizzeria to a burger joint. Then they changed the name of their Facebook page to Lucy’s Grill and they’re promoting posts about their burgers (which you’ve never even tasted) and your name is showing up as a follower (basically an endorsement) of their post.
The same principle applies to Twitter, as well. Have you ever been scrolling through your feed and see a tweet from someone you don’t follow, but at the top it says [Your Friend’s Name] follows this account? That’s how the algorithm works. Ten years ago, when I opened my twitter, I was using it primarily to follow along with pop-culture, so my follows reflected that. Fast forward to present day, and I use my twitter account primarily for staying relevant in the industry. Needless to say, all those Bachelor accounts that I used to follow aren’t relevant anymore, and I don’t really want clients that I work with to see my name associated with tweets about the “most dramatic season ever” every time they scroll through their twitter feed.
Am I saying that you need to completely scrub the accounts you follow? No. You just have to sit down and really think through the purpose of your social accounts – are you using the account for business or personal (or both) – and do your likes reflect the personal brand that you want to share with all of your followers? Then unfollow accordingly.
It’s time to audit your ‘Likes’ for your mental health.
In addition to auditing your likes and follows because they are a reflection of you, it’s time to audit them because they affect the information that you are absorbing.
There is no question that social media can have a dramatic effect on mental health – there have been numerous studies showing this, but we all can appreciate the healthy and positive aspects of being able to stay virtually connected to people especially now. So how do we find that balance?
When you are looking at your likes, your follows, your connections – invoke the Mari Kondo system of asking ‘do they bring you joy?’ For different people, that can mean different things, but at its core, if an account (or person) you are following continually posts things that stress you out, then it is time to unlike them, unfriend them, unfollow them, whatever is appropriate for the situation. Yes, I am giving you permission to unfollow your crazy cousin on Facebook that constantly posts click-bait articles that they haven’t even read. They won’t ever be able to tell that you unfollowed them (except by maybe the lack of family fights) and you will go on living your life without that anxiety induced rage every time you scroll through your Facebook feed.
In short, it’s time for a spring cleaning.
Set a date on the calendar and regularly audit what information you are absorbing through your social media accounts. If you are using social media at all for work, your accounts are a direct reflection of your personal brand. And if you aren’t using them for work, cleaning up your accounts will make your scrolling more enjoyable and possibly bring you a good laugh at what your 10-year-younger self used to like.