Despite our beliefs, we’ve all had moments on social media where we just couldn’t take it anymore. Here’s what to do.
First and foremost, don’t be the instigator. Don’t post something incendiary in a passive aggressive manner and then get upset when you get the kind of response you were fishing for in the first place. Forget about the external forces of other people’s attitudes. If you want to change someone’s attitude, start with your own.
You also need to be in control of your immediate environment. If one of your esteemed colleagues was rowdy, out of line, and causing a scene at your home, you’d show them the door. Your immediate environment online is no different. Your social media presence is on display for your employers, coworkers, family and loved ones. There comes a time when an argument at the dinner table calls for getting up and leaving the room. Your presence online is no different.
Sometimes we just need a time out, whether it’s from the situation, another individual, or the environment entirely. It’s up to you to compare the pros and cons to staying present on social media or taking yourself off the online grid. Because Facebook is the dominant social media force, take the following into consideration when you’re weighing those decisions.
You don’t have to alienate everyone. In fact, I would suggest against it. Someone is bound to be even more offended that you put the lid on them when they started boiling over. Just keep in mind that’s not your problem, it’s theirs. Don’t deny sharing pictures of your pets and children with friends and family just because of a few bad apples. Deal with the problem. State your case, draw a line in the sand of what you will and won’t tolerate, but don’t make a show out of it and draw other people into your drama. Do it to make your point of view clear, not for “likes” and the support from your peers. You don’t need their affirmations to declare your boundaries.
A little maintenance will help you maintain your sanity. Once you’ve declared where you stand, don’t “feed the trolls.” Don’t entertain an opposition to your boundaries. If someone steps over the line, put them in their place, but don’t allow them to continue invading yours.
If you’ve entered a conversation initiated by someone else’s incendiary posts and you’re ready to tap out because you’ve had enough, click the down arrow on the top right corner and click “Stop Notifications.” You have to maintain the self-control to not return back to that post to see where it’s going. This is where you’ve said your peace and now it’s time for you to drop the mic and walk away. The key step here is to walk away, and not look back.
If someone else responds to everything you post with negativity, unfriending them can amplify problematic behavior. “Unfriending” in the modern digital age is an act of vengance. It makes a clear, bold statement that you’ve declared them as insignificant. Remember, social networks were made for networking, and while burning bridges may light your path, sometimes it’s nice to have the ability to backtrack. You’ll be the better person for leaving an opportunity to make amends.
If you’re making a new post, click the settings button to the left of “post,” and go to “custom.” Here you can choose who sees your posts where it says, “Don’t share this with (Fill in the box with the person’s name).” Then, where it says “Who should see this?” on the custom button, it will read “Everyone/Friends, except John Doe Dummy.” You will be able to post, but your posts will not show up in their feed, and they will not be notified of this action. You’ll still be friends, you just won’t be as visible.
If someone is tagging you in photos, you can change your privacy settings to only allow users to tag your photos with your approval. Take control of what other users can see your name attached to.
If nothing works, you can resort to blocking and unfriending. You can go to the padlock icon on the top right of your home screen and go to where it says “How can I stop someone from bothering me?” There will be a box where you can add users you want to block. They will not be able to see any of your content or message you. Should you have a change of heart, you can also click just below that where it says “view blocked users” and choose who you want to unblock individually.
Doing a little regular maintenance will save you a lot of grief when leading by example isn’t working.
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