I recently published The Social Media Trap and since doing so, my opinion of social media has begun to shift. That post was focused on some of the negative aspects of social media while this post will focus on the good that can come from social media.
Social Media Is What You Make It.
No one forces me to follow anyone on a social media platform. Yet, who I choose to follow greatly influences my perception of social media being a good place or a bad place to spend my time. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus mostly on Twitter because that’s where I’ve experienced the transformation in my perception.
Start with a clean slate.
About a year or so ago, I unfollowed everyone on Twitter. The loss of several thousand people resulted in a very quiet stream when I logged back in to the network. In a short period of time, I followed about 100 people back that I remembered as being positive forces in my social media universe.
But then over time I got a little sloppy and got caught up in political discussions on Twitter. This led to following some people who in hindsight take more away from the social media experience for me than they add. That’s okay because it’s going to happen from time to time and I have tools to address that.
I became more focused on topics that mater to me.
Over the summer, I re-ignited my interest in investing. I began to find and follow what I call financial Twitter. These are some really interesting and smart folks who share mostly about the stock market and other financial and investing topics. I’m closing in on retirement age and have some catching up to do so I’ve become passionate about this topic.
I noticed that I was scrolling right past the toxic political posts to find the intriguing and exciting financial posts. Then I got a little crazy and decided to finally invest a few bucks in crypto currency. Once I did that, I started looking for crypto currency Twitter – and let me tell you – that is one huge and awesome community. I began following more and more in this community and my feed became more and more interesting to me. Politics and current events began to fade into the background of my feed.
Mute, block, unfollow.
Since Twitter has algorithms that are going to show me sh*t I really don’t want to see, I need to use the tools they provide to hide that stuff. For example, just unfollowing someone does not guarantee I’ll never see their toxic (for me) posts again. Muting them will help with that; but even then it’s possible their posts will show up. Also, I’m not certain muting is permanent on the Twitter platform. Therefore, I prefer blocking people who spout nothing but negative and toxic crap in my opinion.
I now block ruthlessly. It’s my feed and I protect it with vigilance. If I’m trying to lose weight, I keep junk food out of the house. So if I’m trying to improve the quality of my Twitter feed, then I need to keep the toxic crap out of my line of sight.
Then the good stuff started to happen.
With a cleaned up feed, I found more and more good stuff beginning to happen through and because of Twitter. This was not new to me because I joined Twitter in April of 2008. In the beginning, I made lots of great friends who became friends in real life. My business partner and I first connected on Twitter more than 10 years ago and are still going strong. I can’t even begin to count the number of positive interactions that began on Twitter.
I’ve decided that when I hate Twitter what I really hate are my own choices of what accounts I follow on Twitter. I have broad shoulders. I can handle taking personal responsibly for how good or bad Twitter is on any given day.
Early in the pandemic, I was able to help a friend find their way to some help. I was able to connect them with others more suited to the specific help they needed and, last I checked, they are doing great!
My family has benefited because financial Twitter has pointed towards information sources and investment opportunities. Twitter is not somewhere I go for investment advice. I make my own decisions on a tiny portion of my portfolio and trust professionals with the rest. The thing is that the tiny portion is growing far more rapidly than the bigger piece under professional management. That makes it fun and exciting for me. I could lose that entire portfolio and my life would not change. As it grows, that statement could change and then I’ll need to approach things differently.
I keep showing up and try to give more than I take.
For me one of the keys to good Twitter is to try each day to give more than I take away. I’m not perfect at this, but I try. I share as positive an overall message as I can. When I do post negatively, I try to do so in a way that conveys a positive message – if that makes any sense.
I believe the further I stay away from sharing about politics and current events the better I am at this. What I find most useful to share is my own personal experiences and how they’ve shaped me into who I am today. In other words, I tell my story – the only story no one can tell better than me.