It’s time to unfollow those republicans (specifically, GOP senators, Trump sycophants, etc.) on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc., that you were following just to “troll.” I am referring to the Republican senators, commentators, etc., that have been popping up in your social media feeds for the last 4-5 years. The ones that raise your blood pressure, but also the ones that don’t. Really. Every. Single. One.
The easiest way to do this is to figure out a time in which you’re probably “wasting” time anyway, and remove them from your followers then (literally)!. Try your best not to waste further time on these people. So, think of YOUR life (YOUR immediate environment), and when you may have time in your life to scroll through your followers and remove them all. For example, maybe you have therapy once a week, and you usually sit in the waiting room for 10 minutes or so. Remove those you don’t respect (can be democrats, as well, in all honesty) from your followers then. Or, perhaps you pick up your son every day but inevitably end up waiting in the pickup line for at least 20 minutes. Do it then. Or, honestly? Maybe you’re just blind with rage one day at Trump– unfollow him and those that support him. It will help you a bit. It obviously won’t fix… Well, anything… but it’s something. You have power, and you have a voice. Don’t give people more of your time/energy than they deserve.
But why? Well, let’s start with the non-scientific reason:
We no longer need to hear from these people. We need to hear from each other, and we need to hear from professionals, like Joe Biden’s all-female media team that was announced yesterday. We need to hear from experts. Like Dobby the House Elf, you’ve earned your sock, and it’s time to stop giving these people oxygen. They don’t deserve it. They don’t deserve you.
They will still come up in your feed, don’t worry. Others’ will retweet their commentary, unfortunately. But you can use the power that you have, even though that may not feel like much. And that brings us to the scientific reasoning behind this.
This type of action, though it may seem silly and small and inconsequential (and honestly, in the scheme of things, it is), is scientifically sound due to the concept of reinforcement:
“Positive reinforcement occurs when a behavior is followed by the presentation of a stimulus event and the future frequency of the behavior increases under similar environmental conditions. Negative reinforcement occurs when a behavior is followed by the removal of a stimulus event and the future frequency of the behavior increases under similar environmental conditions.”
This basically means that the more “reinforcement” they receive (even the teeniest of reinforcement, on social media, encourages these people- really!), the more they will post and believe that 1) people will react to their posts, which is what they are looking for, about 99% of the time (looking at you, Ted Cruz) OR 2) they are disseminating information that is likely misleading, hateful, and/or downright directly harmful to someone, directly or indirectly. Do you remember that whole from elementary school: “ignore your bully, and they will go away” thing? That is actually scientifically sound.
It’s time to remove reinforcement from these people, even the teeniest amount that we allowed ourselves to give these people for the sake of telling them they are, ultimately (and I take no pleasure in saying this), a disgrace to the country. I get the impulse. But this can be step one in taking back our power, as long as many of us are unable to freely leave our homes (if we are lucky enough to have a home, or not be someone being overworked within the healthcare industry currently) because of these individuals’ and the choices they have ultimately inflicted on the American people.
Power is power, no matter how small.
*Please know I don’t reinforce inappropriate behavior, though. 😉