Social media like Instagram, Facebook, Tick Tock, and Twitter have become a significant dimension of many people’s lives. We’re not here to debate whether this is good or bad. Some will say social media is a great connector, while others will complain it’s a scourge on our society, but love or hate it–it isn’t going anywhere.
There are countless ways to use social media, and individual relationships with it vary. Generally speaking, it’s good advice to understand your own relationship with social media. And this being a grief website, we’re going to take things a step further and suggest you consider how you feel about grieving on social media. If grief impacts your day-to-day life, and social media is a part of your daily life, then it stands to reason that the two will intersect.
Of course, there are positive impacts of grieving on social media. For example, you can give and receive support, share your experiences and emotions, or honor and remember. As an organization with several social media communities and who’ve even written about starting your own grief blog, Instagram, or Podcast, we fully acknowledge the benefits.
But, these good things aren’t what this article is about. Instead, we want to discuss some of the more common frustrations related to grieving on social media, and offer a few simple suggestions for dealing with them.
5 Common Frustrations of Grieving on Social Media
1. You’ve noticed that your predominant feeling when scrolling social media is unpleasant.
Have you ever noticed that during or after looking at social media, you experience thoughts and emotions akin to sadness, anger, bitterness, or shame? If the answer is “yes,” it may be a sign that social media is setting you off.
The reasons may vary. Perhaps it’s annoying to see other people’s curated lives when you feel like crap. Maybe the platform’s serving you content that conflicts with your your outlook, mood, or opinions. Or, possibly, other people grieving on social media are posting things about your loved one, their grief, or their life post-loss that bother you. Whatever it is, it would probably be helpful to identify the types of posts that are upsetting you and minimize them.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to hit the unfollow button
You don’t realize how calming using the “unfollow” button will make you feel until you try. We know some of you might be hesitant to unfollow people because they are your friends or family, which makes sense. And ultimately, you may decide it’s worth tolerating a few annoying posts to see pics of your cousin’s wedding or your old friend’s newborn baby. Like in real life, when you love someone, you take the good with the bad.
However, if you find that following a person’s feed has an overall negative impact on your relationship, unfollowing might be just the thing to save it. Sometimes it’s best to keep a relationship offline, and that’s okay!
2. You’re being over-served grief content by the algorithm.
A few months ago, I clicked on an image of Blake Lively on Instagram. I’m not sure why; I neither like nor dislike Blake Lively. But to this day, I’m served non-stop Blake Lively content in my search grid. So why am I telling you this? To illustrate how some of these platforms infer your interests and then inundate you with content about it.
Perhaps you’ve seen this play out on Griefstagram. One day, you scrolled through some Instagram pages about grief without thinking about it. Maybe you decided to follow a few based on the type and amount of content you want to see. But now that Instagram has picked up on your interest, you’re seeing non-stop grief content.
Tip: Take stock of what you’re following and explore your options.
As I write this, I’m reading that Instagram will be changing options for how you see your news feed. Platforms are constantly evolving, and so my first tip is to explore the most current options for how you see posts on the platform in question. For example, it may be possible to sort posts so you only see your favorites or those accounts you follow.
Beyond that, if you feel you’re seeing more content on a particular topic than you have the bandwidth for, take a minute to reevaluate the accounts you’re following. If you’ve followed so many accounts that the topic is inescapable, unfollow a few. Perhaps start with any accounts that post more than you like or content you don’t like.