Focus can be a hard thing to find these days.
If you’re plugged into social media, you live in a sea of information. Family, friends, celebrities, politicians, news outlets and more, all in a single pot. There’s something to follow for everyone out there, not least language lovers.
The trouble is that your feed becomes a big mash of mixed messages. And when there’s a news swell around a particular story, you can find your online world flooded with cynicism, negativity and sensationalism. It’s too easy to be dragged down by that.
I found myself in this position in 2016. In fact, it had been building up for a while, but 2016 signified a kind of saturation point for me. Maybe you’ve experienced this too; all the stuff I cared about was in the mix – language learning tips, updates from fellow linguaphiles, travel blogs on my favourite (and dream) destinations. But it was drowning amongst the retweets, amongst every Trump, Brexit, or other viral story hogging the feeds that day.
There was too much noise.
Now, I’ve always been someone who likes to keep up-to-date with what’s going on. Friends of mine have dealt with this by imposing a full-on news embargo, which works brilliantly for them. But try as I might, I can’t quite wean myself off current affairs.
Focus on the positive
So what I decided to do is streamline. My big problem with common social media use is the one pot for everything approach. The rationale is that a single source for all your information is simply more convenient. The trouble is, I was losing the stuff I loved amidst the cacophony of news filler. What I needed to do was repurpose my social media accounts to be more one-track, dedicated vehicles for the things that mean the most to me.
Making Twitter fitter
Twitter was the my first pruning victim. I’d accumulated hundreds of accounts in my feed over the years. First to go were the politicians and political parties. Then the news outlets. Then the celebs, and the brands. I ended up with a core of tweeters who were speaking in a language I wanted to hear on the things I loved.
If I wanted to stay up-to-date with any of the ousted mouthpieces, I’d shift them to another platform; celebs I can follow on Instagram, brands on Facebook, and current affairs on news websites. I wasn’t shutting out anything – just reorganising it. I was getting some sharper focus back in my online life.
Brave new world
After the cull, I started to notice something amazing. I was used to Twitter as a place of vitriol, controversy, hyperbole and division. Suddenly, my feed was full of enthusiasm, passion and motivation. Now and again, the odd current affairs retweet would sneak in, but Twitter had become my almost-watertight bubble of language learning joy.
We hear a lot about the danger of filter bubbles these days. But while it’s important to expose yourself to range of views and arguments, you deserve a happy place for the things you love, too. Streamline and organise your social media accounts, and win back a little focus from the mad, racing world.