Social media can be like a big flood, carrying you away into the distance in the search of all kinds of weird and wonderful things. It can be an amazing adventure that opens up doors to people, places, and cultures from all over the world.
But the same flood can also be exhausting, overpowering, get you lost and eventually pull you under from all the pressure.
We need to start being more clever with social media. Only dead fish swim with the stream…
There are 5 really simple things you can do to maximize the positive aspects of a community online;
1. Only follow accounts that make you feel good.
If you go on your feed and at any time get a little sting of anxiety or jealousy when looking at a picture or video – UNFOLLOW. Life is too short to be comparing yourself or feeling bad. Once you unfollow an account you don’t have to deal with that feeling in regards to that particular content anymore. Only follow someone when their content truly resonates with you in a positive way.
2. Be 100% authentic in what you are putting out.
It’s really easy to lose yourself in a persona online. It might be fun at first, but eventually, it will lead to pressure and anxiety. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have pretty photos in your feed. As long as you are posting for you, as yourself then you are leading with your heart.
3. Try to post positive things.
Not only will you feel better about what you are putting out in the world, but you will also receive more positive feedback in your comments. Negativity tends to invite negativity, so if you know you are sensitive to any negative feedback, try to stay away from initiating it.
4. Don’t let likes and other stats determine your worth.
It’s easy to see social media as a popularity contest and feel validated when someone likes your photos. However, it swings both ways and once you connect a part of your self-worth to what strangers think of you online, you are on a slippery slope. Our brains tend to mainly focus on the negative, so even if you have only one post that gets less attention than what you wanted, it will affect you in a negative way.
5. Try not to take social media too seriously.
It’s meant to be fun and reality is, a platform could disappear tomorrow. So don’t get too emotionally invested. It’s in the end not real, so treat it as a bit of fun and leave the pressures of perfection and status behind and you will be a lot more clever with social media.
We are living in such a strange time, especially for us who didn’t grow up with social media. Hopefully, in the future, the culture around online content and socials will be both better regulated and less anxiety-inducing.
Since I really made the effort to follow these 5 simple rules, my whole relationship with social media has truly changed. I have taken charge of my own experience.
These days the comparison, jealousy, anxiety, and pressure that I at times could feel in the past, completely gone. I use social media in a completely different and much healthier way.
I think at times, all we need to do is stop step away and look at a situation objectively to realize that social media is a tool. It’s the user who decides what that tool will actually produce in the end.
So let’s take responsibility for our own online experience and make sure we are clever with social media. So we won’t lose this valuable, weird and wonderful tool in the future.
Photo – Roz Alcazar. You can find my outfit here.
This article is a part of the #MINDFLUENCING campaign I launched in collaboration with Instagram in 2019. You can find other articles I have written on the subject of mindfulness online here.