It’s been 3 months since the U.K. went into lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The way I’ve been consuming and using social media has changed drastically since then. Here’s how:
The first major change I have made since lockdown was muting certain accounts on Instagram and Twitter. This is because the people behind them have made posts that I considered to be more negative than normal or have used particular words that they seemed very unlikely to use (they might have started to use those words more often for emotional expression since the Coronavirus hit the U.K.). Some of these posts have upset me so much, especially on the day I was supposed to be seeing my family for my mum’s 60th birthday and Easter, that I hid the posts to begin with before muting the people who made them. Nearly a month into lockdown, I decided to mute some more words on Twitter, particularly those that offend me, besides hashtags that represented TV shows I don’t watch and usernames of people who have blocked me. While muting offensive words has worked for the most part, I saw some Tweets in which people deliberately misspelt them or have used them in ways that don’t make sense and in made up words. I ended up adding the misspellings of the words and the non-existent words that included them to my muted words list. After having muted the words, I decided to unmute the people I had previously unmuted on Twitter if I knew that the muted words I used wouldn’t show up on my home feed, but I had to turn off notifications from them because words on my muted words list would appear in those notifications. People I follow also retweeted Tweets from accounts that had offensive usernames, so I ended up blocking the accounts with the offensive usernames.
Further to Instagram, the way I used it has changed a lot since lockdown. One day I saw that someone had left a comment on one of my YouTube videos that I wasn’t entirely sure about, so I shared a screenshot of it in my stories. While most people thought it was negative, one person didn’t think it was. I blocked that person on any social account of theirs I could find and unsubscribed from their YouTube channel because I felt that I had a personal misunderstanding with them. Later on that week, the same person messaged me late at night from what was seemingly a spare account and told me how they felt about me blocking them. They also made a false assumption about me that was based on my Instagram post I wrote for Mental Health Awareness Week. Their assumption and their other messages made me feel so awful that I initially struggled to sleep and I didn’t respond. This experience even reminded me of a difficult situation I was in a few years ago. The next day, I looked for the person’s “spare” Instagram account to see if I could also block them on there, but I could no longer find it. It seemed as if the person had deleted their “spare” account and I felt as if I were their only target when they messaged me. In response to the person making the assumption about me, I temporarily made my Instagram private; removed some parts of my Instagram stories; privatised my YouTube videos where I mentioned the person by name; edited my blog posts where I also mentioned them; and edited the caption of my Mental Health Awareness Week post. I also thought some of the person’s content was getting repetitive, especially on their blog due to them publishing posts about the same topic on a particular day of the week for example.
One positive way I used Instagram since lockdown was interacting with a fan account that someone made about Holly Smith and me where they post lovely edits of our photos. I also had one of my followers and their other half send me some birthday presents and a card because they knew I was going to spend my birthday in lockdown and they wanted to make my day better.
On Facebook, I started to make use of the snooze button by snoozing pages where their posts bothered me. One mostly positive way I used Facebook (depending on the nature of the articles I shared) was gaining access to my neurodivergent recruitment agency’s page so that I could post articles about autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia that I was sent by e-mail from Google Alerts to relevant groups under the page. I also share blog posts I wrote for the agency to their main Facebook page.
To conclude, I have changed the way I used social media since lockdown for the better. Muting words on Twitter, snoozing certain Facebook pages and blocking someone across various platforms have mostly had a positive effect on my mental health as well as using social media in more positive ways.
You might also enjoy the following blog posts:
My Thoughts on Instagram: https://stompgal87.blog/2018/11/07/my-thoughts-on-instagram/
My Thoughts on Twitter: https://stompgal87.blog/2019/01/10/my-thoughts-on-twitter/
My Thoughts on Facebook: https://stompgal87.blog/2019/02/18/my-thoughts-on-facebook/
How I Manage My Social Media Consumption and Usage: https://stompgal87.blog/2019/12/29/how-i-manage-my-social-media-consumption-and-usage/
6 Top Tips and Strategies to Cope During the COVID-19 Crisis: https://stompgal87.blog/2020/05/02/6-top-tips-and-strategies-to-cope-during-the-covid-19-crisis/