Date: March 19, 2021

Practical Tips for Managing Social Media When You Have ADHD

Over the last couple of years I have seen how my use of social media has changed from a place to catch up with friends, to a place to get into a shouting match with total strangers over often irrelevant subjects. Those of us with ADHD sometimes seek out and often provoke conflict as yet another form of stimulus for our crappy dopamine levels. This is compounded by the fact that many of us also have ODD. And when you combine those two things - it just ends up in a never ending cycle of angry posts, comments and replies that only make us look like arseholes, not the avenging warriors for truth that we think we are. Facebook, Twitter and the rest of social media has been designed to keep us coming back again and again with an endless drip-feed of crap. The good news is that there is a way to turn off the tap.

The first option is pretty drastic and is not for everyone as it's quite final - and that's to deactivate your account. I found that Facebook in particular was damaging my mental health and so I switched my personal account off. I haven't deleted it yet - I'm seeing how things work out - but I may well take the next big step.

The second option is to tweak your settings in order to mitigate confrontational behaviour. If you prefer this second option here are some solid tips to improve that experience.

Part one: Unfollow all groups

You can still be a member of these groups, you just don't get new posts showing up in your feed. The phrase "out of sight, out of mind" applies doubly-so for those of which ADHD - if something's not in our visual sphere then we don't tend to think about it. As a result, you onlly drop into the groups when you feel like it and you can then read all of the posts. If there are controversial posts, most often the fight is usually over by the time you get there and you can weigh in with  some middle-ground viewpoint and look very grown-up.

Part two: Turn off all notifications about replies to your posts

This was the big one for me and made a huge difference. It means that if you reply to some post somewhere on Facebook, you don't get any notifications if people respond. Like most of us I have crappy short-term memory and as soon as the little red number's gone from next to my profile image, it's out of my head. Then later on I'll remember the post and go and have a look and by then any heat I was feeling at the time of writing has usually passed and the thread has died down and I can either reply in a less heated way or simply let my single comment stand on its own and let the rest go.

Other Steps

Other steps I have taken include:

  • Blocking people who always seem to push my buttons. I'm sure you have a few of these in your life and you'll feel much happier if you just flush those toxic wankers down the toilet by blocking them from your life.
  • Removing social media apps from my iPhone made a huge difference. This greatly reduces the temptation to browse my timelines when I'm on the toilet. Now if I'm desperate to look at something on Facebook I have to log in via a browser which is a pain in the arse.
  • Completely leaving certain groups I belong to that offer no actual value to my life. Some groups were just toxic to me and had no value at all - they just made me angry and confrontational - so I removed them.
  • Adding best friends and close family to favourites so that they appear at the top of my timeline and I'm therefore seeing positive posts.

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