In line with my 2018 resolution to declutter, I’ve been tackling all of the spaces I can simplify—physical and digital. I did my annual email inbox purge and have been tackling closets and cabinets each week.
As I've been thinking about other spaces, I thought about my social media accounts and what bothers me most about them. I decided that I need to be a less passive user of these platforms by unfollowing things I don’t enjoy anymore and start doing a better job of managing my preferences. For Facebook specifically, I find myself overwhelmed by the ads and videos, so I did some research on how to clean this up. I started by reacting to the content, clicking the three dots in the top right corner of a post, and selecting "Hide ad." Then I decided to visit my preferences, under Account > Settings > Account settings > Ads. Did you know that through your activity on Facebook and the web, Facebook maintains a list of interests that are what an advertiser uses to target you with their ads (on Facebook and Instagram)? I had no idea... I thought they were targeting me through the things I actually like or follow on Facebook. But they are actually targeting me based on content I've visited online. I discovered that I had a lot of interests in my settings, and many of them were things I am actually not interested in. So all of the ads that I've received in the past that weren't relevant or interesting to me, now make sense.
Fingers crossed, this clean up will help to prevent mindless social scrolling and encourage more meaningful interactions.