How to KonMari Social Media
Full disclosure: I have not yet read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It lives on my bookshelf, but I’ve taken the time to watch the Netflix series. Nonetheless, her methods are like soul-songs to me. I have, on many occasions, spoken similar ideas to loved ones when I have discussed my love for minimalism and organization. I have a big love for simplicity. I don’t need research to tell me what clutter, materialism, and hoarding do to the psyche (although there is plenty of research documenting their effects).
In particular, the question, does it spark joy?, deeply resonated with me and has got me thinking about my values. One of those values is that everything that we come into contact with affects us in some way. We are consuming and integrating everything we ingest into our beings, be it music, friends, advertising, toxins, food, television, etc. It is all imprinting to some degree. I protect my consumption. I choose to consume things that bring me joy. For me, this means not spending time with people who have a negative outlook on the world. It means not watching television or movies that encourage hate and violence. Not eating foods that don’t make me feel good. The list goes on and on.
One area that I hadn’t examined deeply is social media (particularly, Instagram). I had a conversation about Instagram with a beautiful friend a while back. I left our visit asking myself, what would it mean to KonMari Instagram? Does Instagram spark joy for me? What aspects of it spark joy?
The action to whatever the answers to those questions is: get rid of whatever doesn’t spark joy for you. Stop following the accounts that don’t spark joy in you. Create posts that spark joy for you.
Do you remember the days of Facebook before there was a timeline? All everyone had was their own wall. You had to choose to go directly to someone’s page to see what they posted or to comment. What a great way to consciously consume. To choose things that spark joy. Right now, we’re getting bombarded with content and messages that we don’t actively choose. Take that choice back. Choose joy.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: I have muted most of the people that I follow on Instagram. Meaning, I still follow them, but they don’t show up on my feed or in my stories. I follow accounts for a variety of reasons: they are interesting or funny, they are doing the work that I do, they’re creative in ways I’m not, etc. I mute accounts that I don’t need to see every day. I continue to follow them to show support and to access their information, but I’m not consuming their posts or stories unless I choose to. I have a select handful of accounts that show up in stories or on my feed. I’ve chosen the accounts that I follow because they spark joy for me. For me, joy on Instagram is felt when: they are a family or friend that I know in real life, they post real-life shit, they inspire me, and/or they don’t post too much. Basically, if they don’t meet at least one of my “joy sparks” then I mute them. Once muted, when there comes a time when I’m curious about their content or what they’re up to, I actually visit their account and comment or like a few things.
Posting on social media is also sticky. We are navigating a whole new frontier within the domain of virtual citizenship. As a previous school counselor, I saw the ill-effects of this whole new dimension and reality of the digital world. Who we show up as online should not be any different than who we are and who we want to be. Show up as you. If your heart is calling to you to make connections through social media with a post, do it. If it feels fake or pushy or comparative, don’t post it. Again, the motto is, if it sparks joy for you, post it! If the action of posting it makes you feel anything other than joy, don’t. It’s that simple. And haters out there, if someone is posting pictures of everything they eat or every workout they do, that’s their joy. Let them have it. See above if you don’t want to see it anymore. Stop hating.
Simple, yet radical for some. Choosing to live a values-based life is often that way. Marie Kondo-ing social media is just one of the ways that we are taking our choice back. Of deciding what we’re going to consume and why we’re going to consume it. That’s a values-based life.