Now, because this column is about the internet, and because human beings can’t have nice things without wrecking them – I mostly cover things that are nightmarish, hateful and just plain disturbing. But not this month!
That’s right! I’m writing about something nice for once! (And I do mean once because the likelihood of me having another nice trend to write about is very unlikely at this point – so don’t get used to it!)
In a break from our usual programming, I’m talking all things #timelinecleanse. This is essentially a phrase to describe wholesome social media posts often featuring adorable animals which act as an antidote to all the typed arguments that normally fill our newsfeeds.
After a hard day of 'doomscrolling' through all the depressing headlines, bad takes and wars in the comments section, who doesn’t want to see a fluffy corgi having a bath (their cute butts float in water – why are they so hecking cute??).
Video: You're welcome.
In the same way that people (not people I’m friends with) go on a health detox after indulging too much in alcohol or unhealthy foods - #timelinecleanse is essentially like a detox for your mind. Oooh, yeah sounds good right? In the few minutes it takes to watch a sweet video of a mother cat who has adopted an orphaned duckling, it’s like everything horrible in the world just melts away...
In that moment, nothing else matters except the unlikely bond between one fluffy and one feathered animal and we can all forget our trouble and woes, if only for two-and-a-half minutes.
Speaking of #timelinecleanses, there has been a real movement recently towards being more selective about which other accounts you follow in an attempt to cleanse your own timeline. When Instagram and Twitter first came about, we all felt like we had to follow everyone - news outlets, politicians, celebrities – to be completely plugged into what was going on at any one time. But turns out, that kind of 24/7 access to all the world’s misery can really fry your brain – who’d have thunk?
Pictured: There has been a real movement recently towards being more selective about which other accounts you follow.
Putting boundaries in place when it comes to how you consume social media is so important but it’s also ludicrously hard. These apps are literally built to keep you scrolling, posting, commenting and sharing. It’s wild that our squishy human brains have solved some of the universe’s greatest mysteries and borne witness to landmark events across history, but we can’t resist the charms of a toxic website with a blue bird on it.
So, if you’re feeling overburdened with the negativity of the internet, why not seek out some wholesome content and cleanse your own timeline? Of course, it’s completely up to you, but I’ve found the best #timelinecleanses to be:
You’re welcome! Now, go! Free yourselves from the shackles of uncleansed timelines! Seek out calm in the chaos, and you shall find!