5 Reasons Why You Should Do a Social Media Cleanse at the End of the Semester

Have you ever found yourself scrolling on your favorite social media of choice and finding yourself liking posts of people (usually old middle school or high school friends or friends of friends) that you don’t speak to, don’t care for or literally cannot stand? If so, you may want to consider something that I did recently, halfway through my final semester at Rutgers - a total social media cleanse. I’m not talking about deleting all of your social media accounts, because I do see value in maintaining an active social media presence. Rather, I’m talking about unfollowing people or deleting followers on your social media accounts that currently play no active role in positively affecting your life. This might be somewhat daunting, but trust me when I say it was one of the most uplifting things that I have ever done in my entire life.

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Before I begin, some people may argue that you can just unfollow someone, so you can still access them on your own time without them popping up on your feed, which is less drastic than deleting someone. But I disagree - sure, there may be a 10% chance this person may become relevant in the event you need to dig through their pictures and see how they are connected to so-and-so during an afternoon tea session with your gal pals. But I highly doubt this person is so important that you can’t live without knowing what is going on in their life. If you don’t care about them, why keep them around? No one stays subscribed to gym memberships, subscription boxes, or entertainment services they no longer use or need. So, why stay subscribed to the life of someone you don’t even care for? Just cut the cord.

If the idea of completely scrubbing your social media at the end of the semester is appealing to you in any way, you should check out all of the reasons that compelled (and proved to me) that a social media cleanse was absolutely something that everyone needs to do.

  1. 1. Gain Time

    Time is priceless - no matter what you do, there is no way you can ever get your lost time back. So, it’s crazy how so many people willingly waste their time scrolling through their feed past people they don’t care for or don’t know anymore. You can easily start gaining back your time by deleting people whose posts you literally do not feel for. If someone is posting meaningful posts about their volunteer trip, photos with their significant others and close friends, or just selfies and there is no positive emotion swelling within you in response - it’s time to delete them. You’ll find yourself with more time to spend studying (ha), going to the gym (maybe), and/or hanging out with people that matter to you. Like I said before, time is precious, so spend your time wisely and most importantly, on yourself.

  2. 2. Save Your Energy

    Don’t invest your energy in people you’ve never talked to or haven’t talked to in what feels like decades. Who cares if this person you sat next to in AP History class your first year of high school just got engaged or if your co-worker’s ex-best friend is now pregnant? I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be happy for people reaching what should be happy milestones in their lives. Rather, what I’m saying is that you should invest energy in people who invest their energy into you. People that you talk to you on what you personally consider a regular basis (this also depends on the dynamic of the relationship and what you consider “regular basis” which could be everyday or every other week) are people who invest their energy into you. If someone is truly invested in you, they’ll go beyond posting just fire emojis or basic compliments on your Instagram posts or saying “Happy Birthday” on your Facebook feed. This could be sharing memes with you on a day-to-day basis, calling you to see when you guys could meet up and catch up over food despite your busy schedules, or even just complimenting your outfit or your look in a social media post. Invest your energy - your likes, attention, comments - on the milestones and moments of people that care about you. Celebrate the people who celebrate you.

  3. 3. Gain Focus

    People today are spending too much time on social media, resulting in less productivity and poor time management. According to this infographic designed by Evan Asano of @Mediakix, the average person today spends 35 minutes on Facebook, 25 minutes on Snapchat, 15 minutes on Instagram, and 1 minute on Twitter a day. This may not seem to be a lot of time at first glance, especially if you only dedicate yourself to maybe one or two of these social media platforms. However, the time you choose to spend on these platforms can accumulate. For example, according to the same infographic, the average Facebook user will spend 1 year and 7 months of their time on Facebook in their entire lifetime. 1 year and 7 months! In that amount of time, you could have also been learning a new language or musical instrument, taking a road trip with your friends or family, or working out! Gain focus on the things that matter to you by snipping people out of your life that don’t matter as much. While this may include people that are totally irrelevant to your life, I’m also going to include the pages of celebrities, models, and/or brands you may follow. Most of these accounts are public, so even if you delete them you can still return to looking at their content whenever you want.

    By decluttering your feed, you will not only be a more active participant in what you are visually consuming, you will also gain focus on what will truly benefit your future - which could be improved relationships, more experiences, or better grades.

  4. 4. Reevaluate What Matters To You

    What I perceive as meaningful doesn’t necessarily have to correlate with what you consider meaningful - however, it still doesn’t change the fact that you should hold onto the things that matter to you and let go of the things that you can live without. That includes people.

    As graduation peers its head around the corner, I have found myself constantly reevaluating my friendships and determining how I feel about them. Do I really see myself calling them two months from now asking how they are doing? Do I really see myself making time to hang out with them, regardless of where their futures are taking them? Once you start working, it becomes difficult to allocate your time and energy into the things or people that were easily accessible to you while you were in college. So be honest with yourself - do you really want to spend time with this person or that person? Do the positives outweigh the negatives?

    Maybe you’ll even find yourself realizing that you are the one who isn’t putting enough energy or time into the people that value you and invest their time into you. If that’s the case, take the time to show them, in your own way, that you care for them. If it’s been a while, you can always hit them up with questions about whatever they have been posting on their accounts, such as the vacation they just went on. It’s never too late to revive to an old friendship or transition an acquaintance-ship into a friendship!

  5. 5. Take Control of How You Are Perceived and Accessed

    How comfortable are you with people knowing what you do? Social media gives people access to your life, your experiences, and ultimately who you are. Some people are comfortable with making their accounts highly accessible and public as they have nothing to hide, while others feel the need to restrict who can see their posts and even reach out to them via direct message. Either way, you use social media to express yourself, however, you can also use it to control how people perceive and access you. Some people want to have a huge following on social media, whether it be for networking purposes, career purposes, or bragging rights, which is totally fine; however, they can still control who can reach out to them. They can still block people who send them spam messages or advertise on their posts. The same applies for people who have more private accounts. Social media is your platform and no one else’s. You have control over who can reach out to you and access your memories, thoughts, and valuable personal information. Don’t be afraid of deleting people who are no longer a part of your life as it may end up being for the better. In order to avoid unwanted attention or drama, comb through your followers on a regular basis - Do you know them? Do you trust them? Do you like them? If not - it’s time to get rid of them.

I look forward to regularly cleansing my social media accounts because it lifts a weight off my shoulders. I’m no longer concerned about how people I don’t care about feel. I’m no longer concerned about keeping up appearances with people who I can’t stand. Social media is your platform. Don’t be afraid to own it and make it yours instead of it owning you.

And to all the people hesitating about deleting people they see on a regular/semi-regular basis: I’ve already done it and looked them in the eye. And I survived. Life goes on.

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