There definitely comes a time when you have to cut out an awful lot of “bullshit” to be able to get on with life, or so I have seemingly found out. I have been asked, by a number of people over the last few months, why exactly I unfollowed them on social media, or terminated friendships on Facebook, and the simple answer is: because I wanted to.
The aim, or the one I am still striving to achieve, is to cut out a lot of toxicity and negative space from my online presence. I get that I am not this big personality online, and I am happy to maintain the level of following I have, and the idea that I don’t really have to update that much at the moment – besides, I am too busy half the time to devote the time to meaningfully write down what I think, feel or experience. What I experience is waves of stress at the moment, but that’s for another time and place.
So, when I talk of toxicity I simply mean, those people who perpetuate problematic behaviours on social media. Those people who complain about being fat, but thirsting after muscly men they reject anyway because they don’t think they have a chance, even when they make advances. Or people who blast you with ten updates a day about going to the gym, or missing the gym, and being a fat mess when they’re really not that bad and are just feeding into this system that if you’re fat, you’re not beautiful.
It is a toxic environment to find yourself in, and whilst I followed people like this back when I was trying to garner a larger following, I have found myself quite happily unfollowing and not really paying attention to them. There’s also the people who do have a bit of a following, and it goes to their head, so they feel the need to update you on everything to do with their life, which is boring and you couldn’t care less…oh yeah, that’s me.
I am trying to just detox from that, find my voice again, and that unfortunately means, medicating the other voices that negate my own. I respect that everyone had their own voice, and their own purpose behind being online, and that is truly wonderful, but I’m at that stage in life now when I couldn’t really give a crap, I have other, more important things to think about.
There’s also a lot of what I call negative space online. This is taken up by people who approach you trying to get some form of friendship. Friendship is great, but it can’t be forced. You have to have something in common, and sometimes…there just isn’t anything. I am just at the point where I don’t feel like I should make special efforts to force something that is just an annoyance.
This negative space takes up a lot of what my Facebook was. Just people, lying around, doing nothing for me, bringing nothing to my life, and I just reach a point of pure exasperation with it. What is really the point of it? My primary use for Facebook is perhaps to bitch privately about work, and to stay in touch with actual friends and family who live further away. I don’t need to be using it to make new friends, I have enough of them in real life. This is perhaps where I have been asked most about why I chose to get rid of the negative space.
It is about not spreading yourself too thinly, and to actually do things that have a positive effect on your life in general. You can’t send energy into spaces where it won’t really change anything, and so I chose to just get rid of those “voids”.
By getting rid of the toxicity and the negative space, I have found myself again, and I am starting to find my voice again. It is just one of those things, especially in the age of social media, that you will get bogged down with other people’s voices and opinions, and you really have to discover your own over and over again.
Not everyone produces this toxic or negative effect, but everyone has the potential to do it to someone, and that is more of my point here. It’s great that people can bridge great divides in time and space with social media, but you really have to ask yourself sometimes, is it really worth the energy expenditure?