One and a half years ago I decided to change how I used social media. Twitter in particular. I realized I could get more out of my social media if I changed my behavior. Instead of only liking a tweet, I’d reply too. This was inspired after multiple people mentioned how much they appreciated a ‘thank you for sharing’, ‘good luck’, or ‘love your work’.
So why did I change my social media game? Back then I felt pretty lonely having just quit my job because of my health. My wedding was over and I had time to think again. A quiet mind is bad for my mental health and my personality and disability aren’t helping either. I’m a huge introvert, I want to make friends, but being social is so exhausting. My chronic pain already takes up most of my daily energy, so I don’t have much left to go out and be social. That’s why I’m so grateful to have social media where I can meet other like-minded people. I already had a good group of gaming friends due to my participation in Blaugust and interacting with the gaming community. But I realized this was only part of me, and I wanted to get to know more people who liked my other hobbies too. My audience right now is a perfect blend of gamers, fantasy enthousiasts, readers, stationery lovers and minorities.
I love it because my timeline is always filled with different things and I like every bit of it.
By only liking a tweet, I wasn’t really participating. And what’s social media all about? Engagement. Interacting with others. By replying to a tweet in addition to the like, I was starting the conversation. It wasn’t a one way street anymore. Conversations started and I made more friends.
Engagement is the first step to a better platform. You’ll find new people, new ideas, new mutuals. Maybe you’ll find a group of people with the same niche interest as you. I now follow a group of authors who are also interested in fountain pens and I’ve become fans of their books. Don’t be afraid to interact with people you don’t know or don’t follow. As long as you’re not being a dick, you might find a new connection.
Creating real relationships has been my goal from the start. I don’t want to be fake or insincere with people. They don’t deserve that. By interacting more, even if it’s just a sort encouragement, is enough to keep that relationship going.
I gained 1200 followers after changing my behaviour on Twitter. One of the major reasons was that I found my community. The bookish community I’m part of interacts a lot with each other on Twitter and it really feels like they’re my friends. Getting to this point isn’t easy. You have to share part of you and that’s often hard for introvert me. By creating more relationships I became less introverted online. I learned more and more about my friends and my relationships go beyond the platform now.
Curating your timeline
Curating your timeline is something I only recently started doing. I’ve muted words as a form of selfcare, I unfollow people who use the word ‘stan’ instead of ‘fan’. My experience with ‘stans’ isn’t that good. Most of them are so obsessed with their object of affection it’s not healthy for me. So doing that is selfcare. (You can still be utterly devoted to BTS and not call yourself a stan.) Think of it what you will, but all I can say is that I’ve felt better not including those people in my life. Maybe it’s just a simple clash of personalities, could very well be, but it worked for me.
On my Instagram, I mostly follow people in my fountain pen/stationery niche. And there too, I’ve made a few friends. I don’t follow the same people as I do on Twitter because I don’t really care for bookstagram (sorry!). I only want to see pictures of things that make me happy. And I think that’s what a lot of people forget about social media. It’s still your window into the world, and it’s okay to filter. Curating your timeline is totally up to you. Take care of that space like you would with your own house. Kick the people you don’t like out, refuse the flyers and ads on your doorstep (I block accounts who advertise things that I have no interest in, like McDonalds and the Bank of America). If you’re following me right now and unfollow me later, don’t feel bad. You have a reason and I don’t have to know why.
Tips to get more out of your social media
- Engage! Interact! Encourage! Cheer!
- Don’t be afraid to reply to people you don’t follow
- Follow people who’s content you’re interested in without expecting something back
- Check out hashtags
- Find your community
What did you do to get more out of social media? What is your favourite platform?