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Dodging negativity online: How to navigate the noxious elements of social media

Taylor Gadsden

Feb 19, 2020 — 3 min read

Don’t let social media negativity get you down. Learn some easy ways to filter content on your own accounts and balance your online and offline presence.

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The average internet user has a whole collection of social media accounts: Facebook for long-lost connections, Twitter to speak your piece on trending topics, LinkedIn to find your next job opportunity and TikTok to go viral with your next musical creation. There’s a neverending trove of entertainment to explore and just as many contributing users (good and bad). Take control of your social feeds and avoid online negativity by taking advantage of a few tools on each platform.  

How to avoid negativity on Twitter

Twitter is a juggernaut of conflicting voices and opinions. At any given time, any of 330 million global monthly users can chime in on any topic whether it’s trending or not. So, if you’re looking to cut back on social media negativity in your life, your Twitter feed is a great place to start the cleanup. Here are a few settings that can help you filter out unwanted content:

Mute “buzzwords”

  1. Log into your account and select the Settings and privacy option in the main menu
  2. Choose Privacy and safety from the dropdown and under the Safety tab, select Muted
  3. Click Muted words and the + option in the upper-right corner to add filters to your feed
  4. Select Save to add the new muted word(s) to your account

Words, phrases and hashtags can be muted from your timeline, notifications or both no matter who you’re following. You may also choose to mute any word for a day, week, month or until you remove the filter. 

Muted words are not case or punctuation sensitive, but they are specific. For example, let’s say you’ve yet to check out the 2020 Oscars and you’re looking to avoid any negativity before you view the show. Be sure to mute multiple variations of the hashtag or phrase that may come about other than just #Oscars.

If you’re unsure of which variations you may need to block, try typing the subject into the search bar to see trending hashtags that have so far occurred on the platform. When we type Oscars 2020 into the search, at least three ideas for muted words are generated:

  • #Oscars2020
  • #AcademyAwards
  • #2020Oscars

How to avoid negativity on Facebook 

Facebook is a mixed bag of content so it’s a bit more difficult to pick and choose what you see and read when it comes to buzzwords and phrases. A feature called “Keyword Snooze” was tested on the platform in 2018 with similar functions as Twitter’s Muted words. Unfortunately, the setting never moved past the testing phase.

So, if you’re looking to filter negativity from your Facebook feed, you’ll have to identify the user or brand account that it’s coming from and change your settings accordingly. Instead of going into your security, privacy or general settings to make the change, select a post from the targeted account, choose whether you want to “Snooze” the user for up to a month or unfollow posts from the person altogether (without unfriending them). 

How to avoid negativity on Instagram

Instagram is similar to Facebook in that there are no specific tools available for keyword or content filtering. However, Instagram does give users some power over their newsfeed in the form of a few settings you can apply to user posts and accounts. 

If there’s a specific account you’d like to block without unfollowing, you may always select a post from that user and choose to Mute their content. This way, you can still “follow” your old college pals without seeing every political post they enjoy on your feed. At this highest level, you can always unfollow the user.

Set screen time limits

It’s easy to allow social media and the screens we enjoy to dominate our everyday lives. So it’s important to make sure you’re taking time away from your devices and sticking to active restrictions on usage. 

Many smartphones have parental control settings in place to help reduce daily use or monitor overall time spent on your device. Take advantage of these settings to be sure you’re giving your eyes and your mind a break from all the noise on social media.

For more tips and tricks to optimize your internet safety, check us out on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram