Have you ever thought about ditching social media because it puts you in a bad mood? by Michelle McDaid

FridayMyWay72415 (1 of 1)I’m not talking about unplugging to spend more time with your friends or family, or to give yourself more creative brain space. (Heaven knows we could all use a little more of all of that.) I’m talking about logging into Facebook and then walking away feeling mad, irritated, depressed or despondent.

I’ve heard it from a lot of my friends who chose to close their account and, for a while, I’ve logged off too after getting into online arguments with “friends”, feeling attacked or judged for my personal beliefs or just generally feeling upset by the things others post.

FridayMyWay72415 (1 of 2)But I’m not the kind to throw babies out with bathwater.

Most of my family are still in the U.K. and I have friends dotted all over the U.S.; social media is my primary way to stay in touch with the lives of people I genuinely CARE about and I didn’t want to lose that.

Instead, I decided to make social media work for me.

I genuinely believe it doesn’t have to be all or nothing and I have experienced that, with a little fine-tuning, social media (specifically Facebook for this post) can be a rich source of inspiration and support both personally and artistically.

As a result of some changes I have been incrementally making to my Facebook settings, I now look forward to checking into my newsfeed and do so every morning as a way to put me in a positive frame of mind. And I think you can make this true for you too.

What I decided to do was cultivate in my online community the same kind of people and influences that I do in my “real” life.

I purposefully sought to shape my Facebook experience…

as one that supported my offline social network, beliefs, and priorities. Anything that didn’t fit into those categories was immediately removed from my newsfeed using one of the methods I’ll outline for you below.

FridayMyWay72415 (2 of 2)This included removing those high school friends who I connected with in a moment of nostalgia not long after I joined Facebook, the friend-of-a-friend with social and political views that assaulted my sensibilities on a daily basis, and those pages I liked once to win a brand new Canon 5DMKIII.

Maybe those are obvious tweaks but I’ll confess it also meant more subtle changes like: hiding posts from friends who I love dearly but whose lives are out-of-synch with mine now,

…and photographers whose work I love but who left me feeling less-than in comparison.

In fact, for me personally, removing the work of all other photographers except those far outside my genre, has been hugely helpful in quieting the naysaying voices of criticism in my head and giving me the freedom to be and share my art without reservation.

They say comparison is the thief of joy and I have experienced this to be so true.

Beyond seeking to remove all those posts and people who no longer align with who I am and want to be, I actively sought out pages and people who supported my personal and professional goals and made sure I liked their posts to keep them consistently showing up on my newsfeed. I asked myself:

Who are the people who inspire me? Writers? Thinkers? Artists? Business people? Then I searched for them and added them to my feed.

Slowly, I started to see the tone of my Facebook newsfeed change.

Checking in became a way to charge-up in the morning or give me a sense of peace as I checked-out for the day.

SO MUCH MORE TO COME in the Follow-up! Don’t miss next week’s Friday My Way ideas that will assist you in Shaping your Social Media experience!