Unfollow Your Way to Freedom
August 8, 2017

Have you heard of “The Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo? It’s a wonderful method for decluttering your house and your life. Last night I decided to apply this method to my social media. Specifically, Facebook.


Facebook is an absolute necessity in my life. My child would not be where he is today if it were not for Facebook and the people that I’ve met and connected with through it. But Facebook can and does absolutely suck the ever-loving-life out of me sometimes. So how can I balance this? It’s like having an allergy to air. I need it for life but it’s making me sick.

Enter the Magic of Tidying Up. I implemented this de-cluttering strategy for my bedroom last year and it works! My drawers and my closet are still organized and neat and tidy. And that says something coming from an “autism mom”. The feeling of contentment I get over looking at my drawers to this day is probably weird but it really does fill me with joy and satisfaction. For the last few months I’ve been feeling very drained from my time on Facebook. I unfriended a few here and there, unfollowed a couple more but the overall tone of my newsfeed was drama, trauma and negativity. If I were experiencing this in my “real life” friendship circle, I wouldn’t be hanging out with these folks. Ever.

So last night I decided it was time for some MAGIC. I went through my friends list and unfollowed at least 80% of the people I’m officially friends with. Unfollowing means you remain connected and they can see my stuff but their posts don’t show up in my newsfeed. With every friend, I asked the question “does this person bring me joy?” just as I did when tidying up my bedroom. If it wasn’t an immediate yes, I unfollowed them. With every unfollow my heart got lighter and lighter. This morning I was practically giddy. The effect of this action is similar to being intentional with your perspective. We are what we think and when I’m faced with a constant barrage of negativity, some of it wears off. I consider this an act of mindfulness and self-preservation.

Facebook actually has a number of different tools to help you “shape your world” including creating customized security settings for your posts. It is in your best interest to review your security settings and to create custom settings for your posts. If you want to share photos or updates about your child, create a setting for “family only” which will keep the trolls at bay (hopefully) or create a secret group where you control who gets in. If people have bothered you, harassed you or spoken to you in a tone that would start a bar fight, block them. You don’t have to interact with them. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone.

This same method applies to groups you may belong to. Recently, a good friend (yes – on Facebook!) reported they were in over 700 groups!!! That’s a pretty good sign it’s time to tidy up 😊 I’ve had a hard time breaking up with some groups because in the beginning, the group was so helpful, so supportive and it held a sentimental place in my heart. But groups are dynamic which means as members join and leave, the tone of the group changes. Ask yourself “Does this group bring me joy today?” and go from there. If you still want to remain a member of a group for reference purposes, you can choose to “unfollow” group posts and they won’t show up in your newsfeed.

Social Media is a constant presence in our lives today and for those of us who have kids with exceptional needs and challenges, it’s our way of connecting with others outside the confines of our own home and learning and sharing valuable information that improves our expressions of life. But just like our own perspective on life, we must be intentional about how we shape and use it. If you ever feel drained by someone or something, that’s your sign it’s time to make a choice and do some tidying up. ~ Amy Y.