We’ve all been there.
We open our favorite social media app ready to be blown away by the amazing things that have been posted in the four minutes since we last checked it.
But then we discover our social feed is, well, boring.
Don’t worry, there’s a cure for a stale social feed. Here it is in six simple steps:
1. Browse with intention.
Ever think about what you hope to get from the hours you spend skimming your social feed?
Most people never have.
But if you set a goal for what you hope to get out of time spent on social media — or different goals for different platforms — you’ll be much more likely to get it.
Maybe your goal is to educate yourself about your business or hobby. Maybe it’s to connect with people you know or to network with people you don’t. Maybe it’s just to escape the stress of your “real life” and into a land of GIFs and mindless hashtags.
No matter your goal, having a clear one allows you to optimize your feed for that purpose.
2. Follow fewer people.
You follow too many people on social media.
Go through your followers and unfollow at least 10% of them and you’ll find your social feeds instantly become more interesting.
Don’t follow people to be polite. Only follow people who regularly provide value to you in your feed.
3. Follow curators, not publishers.
Most big publishers, not matter how good their content, will flood your social feeds with a bunch of links to content you don’t really care about. Or, they’ll repeatedly promote the same content you’ve already seen as they chase more clicks.
Curators on the other hand, do the hard work for you. Assuming you follow the right curators based on your interests, they’ll give you a steady stream of quality links.
You don’t need to see every article a publisher posts, you only need to see the ones really worth your time.
There are a ton of great curators out there, but if you don’t know where to look you can always start with things like ReDef, Dave Pell’s Next Draft newsletter, and Mediagazer.
4. You know the most interesting people you follow? Check out who they follow.
This is so simple, but I don’t know anybody who regularly does it.
If somebody you follow consistently shares good stuff, check out who they follow.
This is publicly available on most platforms and you’ll discover a ton of new interesting people to follow who will immediately improve the quality of your feed.
5. Spend more time on Twitter and Medium. Less time on Facebook.
There’s nothing wrong with checking out your friend’s new baby photos or discovering your aunt had a lovely dinner with her friends, but the stuff that populates your Facebook feed probably isn’t super interesting.
The more interesting stuff tends to be found on platforms like Twitter and Medium, so if your goal is to get more value out of your social media browsing, then you should shift your time to the platforms where that’s most likely to happen.
6. Interact with posts that provide value.
Social media feeds are powered by algorithms that gauge what type of content you will most likely enjoy.
Those algorithms are driven by your usage habits — when you like, share, comment, or interact with a post, that data informs what content the platform shows you in your feed in the future.
As a result, the single best way to influence the quality of your social feed is to pay attention to what you interact with and send signals to the platforms that match what you hope to see more of in the future.
If you don’t want to see more baby pictures, then you should probably stop liking every one you see just to be nice.
And if you thought that New York Times article was fascinating, you should like it and share it as opposed to just thinking to yourself it was a good read.