Curate Your Media

Nov 28, 2022

Audrey PalmeriAs humans living in the 21st century, we are programmed to consume mass quantities of media. Whether it be watching the news, scrolling through social media apps, reading, listening to music while working, or anything in between, people are engulfed in media. Previous research has found that consuming too much “bad” media, such as heavy, dark news, and high use of social media can lower our well-being.1,2,3,4 Given this, some recommend entirely cutting out social media. 

But, this recommendation glances over several important issues. First off, there are positives associated with social media that are often minimized. Social media can be a tool that connects you to your loved ones and strangers all across the world at the touch of a few buttons, which was especially vital amidst the global pandemic.5 Additionally, there have even been findings indicating social media was also associated with positive mental health outcomes.6 And on top of that, the recommendation to entirely cut out social media is so much easier said than done and unrealistic for many. Another suggestion is that people curate their media consumption. By this, I mean becoming more thoughtful of the type of media you consume. By curating your media consumption, you recognize that you have a choice in what you consume and the emphasis is on becoming crafting a portfolio that makes sense for you.  

Here are some realistic ways you can curate your media consumption. 

  1. Be cautious and conscious of how much “bad” media you are consuming. Try to consume less “bad” media when possible by taking a break from the news every now and then. If you don’t think this is possible, focus on balancing out the “bad” by prioritizing the “good” media. 
  2. Cut out (or minimize) the toxicity. If you are following someone who makes you feel bad about yourself or brings negativity to your life, unfollow them or remove their content from your feed. If it is someone you do not feel comfortable unfollowing or removing (like a loved one who has different beliefs than you), mute their content so you are better off and don’t have to awkwardly interact with them if you see them in person. 
  3. Prioritize the media you enjoy! If you have a favorite TV show, podcast, or musical artist to listen to, try to consciously listen to them more.  
  4. Invest time into a podcast or audiobook. I recently have gotten more into podcasts and have felt more inspired and uplifted just by listening to them in my daily life.  
  5. Ask your inner circle for recommendations of new media to consume. Because we trust the people in our inner circle, we should also trust their recommendations.  
  6. Build positivity into your feed. If you are a serial scroller, then try to incorporate accounts that post affirmations and positivity into your feed. Here are some recommendations for accounts that post affirmations and ones that post good news. 
  7. Set time limits on apps to minimize your media consumption. These limits can act as ways to consciously recognize how long you are spending on the apps. You can do this on your own or download one of these apps to provide more balance. Even if you find yourself breaking these limits daily, you will at the very least be more aware of how much time you spend on each app.  
  8. Recognize that everything takes time and progress does not happen overnight. Each small step you take to carefully curate your media consumption to be overall more thoughtful and positive will eventually add up. 

Curating one’s media consumption can be very powerful. It will ultimately help you build a healthier relationship with all types of media and might even make you happier.  


  1. Johnston, W. M., & Davey, G. C. L. (1997). The psychological impact of negative TV news bulletins: The catastrophizing of personal worries. British Journal of Psychology, 88(1), 85–91. 
  2. Boukes, M., & Vliegenthart, R. (2017). News Consumption and Its Unpleasant Side Effect: Studying the Effect of Hard and Soft News Exposure on Mental Well-Being Over Time. Journal of Media Psychology, 29, 137–147. 
  3. Blades, R. (2021). Protecting the brain against bad news. CMAJ, 193(12), E428–E429.
  4. Karim, F., Oyewande, A. A., Abdalla, L. F., Chaudhry Ehsanullah, R., & Khan, S. (n.d.). Social Media Use and Its Connection to Mental Health: A Systematic Review. Retrieved October 27, 2022, from
  5. The Pros and Cons of Quitting Social Media. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2022, from
  6. Bekalu, M. A., McCloud, R. F., & Viswanath, K. (2019). Association of Social Media Use With Social Well-Being, Positive Mental Health, and Self-Rated Health: Disentangling Routine Use From Emotional Connection to Use.


Audrey Palmeri received her B.S. in Psychology and Economics from Union College in 2022 and currently works as a research manager at the Well-Being and Measurement Lab with Dr. Louis Tay. Her research interests are widespread and include topics such as attachment, well-being, relationships, emotions, personality, development across the lifespan, risk, and game theory. 


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