Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok… Social media has become inseparable from our lives. We endlessly scroll the feed, and sometimes it brings a negative impact on our time management and mental health. Is it possible to only have a positive experience on social media? Of course! Let’s make social media a better place!
Stop playing the comparison game
Bloggers with millions of subscribers, or friends from school, they all post the best aspects of their lives – gym selfies, fancy clothes, and trips abroad. It makes us feel upset because we think people always live like that.
You start comparing yourself to others. Who wouldn’t? Seeing your Instagram or Facebook friends going on holiday, getting married, and becoming successful, you may feel like your life is less interesting than other people’s. Your self-esteem drops.
However, people aren’t perfect. The friend who posted three holiday pictures in a row does not spend their whole year travelling. Couples smiling in photos do not have perfect relationships. You never see the whole picture.
We tend to underestimate our achievements and feel we aren’t as cool as others. Social media only aggravates our envy. It’s hard, but if you want to have a positive experience on social media, you have to remember two things. First, perfect images aren’t real. Second, you don’t have to be perfect.
Limit your time on social media
Have you checked how much time you spend on social media? What is your activity on Instagram? Have you looked up your screen time?
Decide how much time you want to spend on social media and limit yourself to that. If you don’t trust yourself, you can just use a stopwatch and turn off social media when the time is up. On Instagram, you can set a notification which tells you when you’ve reached the time limit.
If that doesn’t work, there are plenty of apps and browser extensions that help you save time and track your presence on the websites you’re most addicted to. For example, you can use StayFocusd for Google Chrome on your laptop. To use your phone with less distraction, you can download Offtime or Flipd for both iOS and Android.
Unsubscribe from the content you don’t like
Have you ever seen a post and wonder why on earth you’re still following its author?
I know that feeling, so I regularly check whom I follow and unsubscribe from those that do not add to my positive social media experience. It can be bloggers who I no longer support or classmates I never talk to. This simple action changes my feed so that I only see the content I am actually interested in.
If you are what you eat, then how is consuming content any different from consuming food? So, you are what you fill your feed with.
Think about why you use social media and set goals
If you don’t want to play the comparison game and procrastinate, why do you use your social media? Possible answers can be:
- connect with your family and friends
- create or join a community
- create a blog
- get information
- promote your product
- build your personal brand
When you know why you’re on social media, you’re less likely to drown in the sea of photoshopped images and subjective opinions. Every time you engage in any particular activity on social media, ask yourself: does it bring you joy or distraction? Plus, if you value your time, don’t check the “Recommended For You” section on Instagram – it never ends.
Comment your friends’ posts
If your goal is to build connections, then do it! Do not simply scroll the feed but engage in discussions, write comments and reach out to your friends. Commenting on social media makes you happier than scrolling. If your friend posted a photo of their wedding, don’t hesitate to congratulate them. Social media is about socialising, isn’t it?
Avoid toxic comments
Many people express their opinions on social media, and some of them will surely disturb you.
Imagine that you’ve read a controversial post and just opened the comment section, which is full of arguing and trolling. What would your reaction be? Wait, don’t start answering them yet! Are you sure they will change their mind if you tell them to do so?
Social media can be a perfect place for political and social activism. On social media, we are able to talk about important things and reduce stigma. You should not aim to persuade every single person to your point of view. It just adds to the negativity.
Of course, I hope you’re not the one that writes those toxic comments. Spread positive vibes!
Take a break and return later
We all realise we need a break from social media. We can feel overwhelmed by consuming a lot of information, playing the comparison game, and thinking about every other comment we didn’t like.
When you start focusing on the negativity and forget about your goals, stay away from social media for a day or two. You can delete the app from your phone or simply remove it from the main screen.
You might think you’ll miss a lot from taking a break but that is not true. You won’t miss anything. You will find after your digital detox that you will remember your goals and have a fresh start.
It is possible to have a positive experience on social media if we use these principles to improve our digital lives. Social media started as a way to connect and stay together – don’t forget that!
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