The Digital Age and the development of social media have changed the way you interact with people, the world, and yourself. As a result, you're often more connected to the digital world than your immediate surroundings.
People fight for both sides. Social media has allowed for excellent connections while acting as a severe distraction. The way you use social media determines the influence it has on your life.
What's Good About Social Media?
The culture around social media can often be discouraging. Between people using it as a platform for hate and businesses selling information from your profile, it's difficult to remember the positive sides of social media.
Friends and family. It's undeniable that everyone is busy. It's impossible to call every person in your circles to tell them about your new job, school opportunity, or big move.
Social media provides you, friends, and family a way to keep each other updated on all the significant changes in your lives. However, without social media platforms, you can feel isolated from those people and miss out on notable achievements.
Meet new people. Social media also connects you to people you've never met. You can meet future coworkers, significant others, and best friends across social media.
Social media eliminates many of the real-world boundaries that can prevent you from meeting others. New people can open you up to new ideas and cultures that you would have missed otherwise.
Curate valuable content. The internet can be full of harmful content. However, you can curate your social media feeds to reinforce positivity in your life.
Charity donations, awareness of new causes, uplifting posts, and connected communities are a few ways social media can benefit you and the world.
Mindful engagement improves well-being. Along with a curated feed, actively engaging (not just viewing) can improve mental health and your overall well-being. Positive results from social media require mindful interactions with posts and ensuring a trimmed amount of content.
What's Bad About Social Media?
First thing's first: everyone will have individual relationships with social media. Everyone will interact with social media differently, and the pros may not outweigh the cons.
Fear of missing out. Also called FOMO, you may obsessively worry you'll miss something. You don't want to miss out on the latest joke or trend. Your FOMO may lead you to be on social media too much.
With notifications on, you can find out exactly what's happening when it happens. Everything on your feed is within reach. Follows and likes vibrate in your pocket, and your attention gets pulled to your devices.
Keeping tabs on everyone. Social media allows you to keep track of everyone in your life (or people not in your life). Unfortunately, this instant accessibility may encourage unhealthy stalking behaviors. Alternatively, people can follow your social media the same way.
Scrolling the feed. Mindless scrolling of your social media is often the biggest problem. Endless trails of articles, entertaining accounts, and a variety of information can turn into hours of screen time.
Comparing yourself to others. Following celebrities or people in your professional field can be an inspiration for some. For others, it leads to unhealthy comparison.
For many accounts, you only see their successes. You likely compare your wins to theirs and wonder why you aren't as successful. Comparison leads to a misleading perception of how you should be. It damages your confidence and contributes to poor emotional health.
Many of these problems add up to a toxic relationship with social media. The best way to set boundaries with your social media is to detox, establish guidelines, and practice mindfulness.
7 Ways to Keep Social Media in Check
The first step in developing a healthy relationship with social media is to be healthy with all technology.
- Turn off as many notifications as you can. Keep only the important alerts.
- Establish times to check messages, emails, and other correspondence.
- Establish times to go tech-free.
- Use a separate to-do list and calendar to limit the amount of time you look at a screen.
Next, establish guidelines on how you use social media.
- Actively engage with your feed. Like and comment on posts, don't scroll past.
- Establish social media time. Make sure that using social media is not the first or the last thing you do every day.
- Make sure you curate your feed, so you engage with content that's valuable to you.