Is Twitter Affecting Your Mental Health? Here’s How to Use It More Mindfully

There's so much negativity happening on the platform and that can affect one's mental state.
by Karla Gabrielle Trillanes   |  May 31, 2021
Image: Shutterstock
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Twitter is one of the OG social networking apps and it has been around since we all started getting really into the internet. But admittedly, in the past few years, it has lost its charm because of the culture it has created. It has gotten to the point that sometimes all you see are hate tweets and fights from people you only know through the internet. There's so much negativity happening on the platform and that can affect one's mental state. Today, we'll talk about how to use Twitter more mindfully if it's starting to affect your mental health.

But before anything else, let’s run through a brief background of the social networking platform:

When was Twitter launched?

As most of us already know, Twitter is an American microblogging and social media application where users can post and interact with messages called "tweets." The social networking site was initially conceptualized by board members of a podcasting company called Odeo during a "daylong brainstorming session." Initially, the service was used internally for employees of the said company but was eventually introduced to the public on July 12, 2006. By April of the next year, it spun off into its own company and became the platform that we all know about today.

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Through the platform, users can share their tweets - which may be accompanied by photos and videos - within a character limit. Before November 2017, tweets were only restricted to 140 characters, but the limit was eventually doubled to 280 characters for non-Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages.

By 2012, the platform had over 100 million users who posted 340 million tweets a day and in 2013, it was one of the ten most-visited websites in the world and was dubbed as "the SMS (aka text messages) of the Internet." As of 2019, Twitter has an average of 330 million monthly active users and currently remains one of the most popular social media apps in the entire world.

Twitter Fleets, Spaces, and other new features

Just recently, Twitter also released new features like Fleets and Spaces. Fleets officially launched on November 17, 2020, and through this, users can share photos, videos, and tweets in a story on their profile which then disappears after 24 hours. Spaces, on the other hand, allows users to have live audio/podcast-type conversations straight from the app.

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In the past few years, Twitter has become the go-to platform for new information. Through the app, it's become easy to both share and receive news because of how the social networking site works. But as we all know, too much of anything isn't good for anyone. Admittedly, Twitter can be toxic at times--especially when it comes to your mental state.

With that said, we have a few tips to make sure the platform doesn’t get the best of you.

Here’s how to make Twitter less taxing for your mental health:

1. Only follow people you'd like to hear from

With its millions of users, it can be tempting to follow everyone you find interesting. However, doing so may cause more harm than good. Twitter is built to have some sort of conversation. But if the conversations on your timeline are not beneficial for you, don't be afraid to hit the unfollow button. Treat your timeline as a safe space for things that are interesting to you.

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2. Set an app timer and follow it

With the constant stream of information on your timeline, it's easy to lose track of time just scrolling endlessly. However, this may cause overstimulation and give you a sense of info overload, which can then further dampen your mood. By setting rules on how long you can use Twitter, you're also limiting the amount of information you're receiving. Find that sweet spot of receiving the news while still keeping your mental state in check.

3. Make the experience more personal

With how the platform is built, it's easy to get caught up in other people's opinions and thoughts--to the point that you may end up completely forgetting your thoughts after a while. But by being mindful that you're there completely on your terms and thinking of it as your personal space, you might be able to use it more mindfully. Share the thoughts that come to mind (that you'd be willing for other people to see, of course!). Aside from this, you can also decorate it on your terms--use dark mode, place a cover photo that makes you happy every time you see it, and maybe write a bio that describes who you are.

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4. If all else fails, take some time away

The deactivate feature is there for a reason. If it gets too much, don't be afraid to leave the platform--even just for a short while. There are always other ways to receive information and Twitter will always be there. Don't be afraid to take some time off and recharge. If you're ready to go back, you can always reactivate by logging back in again.

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Karla Gabrielle Trillanes
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