My New Social Media Rules

Social Media, Social Media, Social Media! It’s awful! It’s ruining everything! Why are we all still using it then! I’ll leave it to experts to explain that part, but in an effort to extract myself from the worst of Facebook and Twitter, here are my new rules for myself. I’ve been following some form of them for over a year, and they’ve definitely made me feel better, almost as good as when I stopped watching cable news.

My Facebook Rules:

  1. Remorselessly snooze and unfollow toxic people, even if they’re close friends or family. I’m trying a two snooze then unfollowing if I still can’t deal with their posts showing up in my feed.
  2. Don’t dive into comments on a post where you don’t know everyone. There are too many trolls, and it’s not worth it.
  3. Don’t join new groups unless you have to.
  4. Never ever ever click ads. They’re almost always a scam anyway.
  5. No quizzes ever, not even the funny ones.
  6. Don’t share content from pages you don’t run.
  7. Set a timer. That’s your “mindlessly wandering Facebook” time. When the timer goes off, close the app.
  8. Use Facebook in a browser you don’t use for anything else (or use the Firefox Facebook Container extension).
  9. Before you post, think “should this be a blog post?” and post it here instead of on Facebook. It’ll last longer, and you’ll be able to find it again.

My Twitter Rules:

  • Don’t leave twitter open all the time. Check it like you would email.
  • Don’t speak in the internet’s, and especially twitter’s, default “sarcastic jackass” tone. Be conversational. Be helpful. Be fun. Because there’s too little of all of that.
  • Don’t feed the trolls (this is evergreen, but twitter is now majority troll and it’s just not worth it).

I don’t always follow them. I’m human. I screw up, and I can’t think of a case where I didn’t regret it almost immediately. I hope they’re helpful to you.

What’s the Point of Twitter?

I’m twitter user #3,404. I’ve been a daily twitter user since before it had vowels, so I’ve seen it grow from a fun little experiment to a platform with a lot of promise to the behemoth it is today. How I’ve used the service has changed over time, but it seems like more and more, I use it to complain. And from the folks that I follow, they’re doing the same.

Yeah, we use twitter to celebrate victories, share breaking news, and keep in touch – but it feels like the vast majority of tweets from the people I follow are sarcastic land mines – and mine are too. It’s too easy to pop open my twitter client and unleash my righteous indignation at the latest outrage perpetrated by the internet. Sarcasm is easier than productivity, encouragement, enlightenment or even humor. It’s to the point that a great percentage of my vocabulary exists only to express sarcasm.

But, it’s not helpful. It’s not even all that much fun. It’s mostly annoying and makes people more likely to be sarcastic and annoying themselves.

So, I’m going to try to stop. My challenge for myself this week is not to post any sarcastic tweets. None. Zero.

Wish me luck. It’s going to be so hard.