Many people spend hours and hours scrolling through social media, looking at content and in some instances, the type of content may affect a person’s mood. Some content may be happy and uplifting while others can cause persons to become self-conscious or cause individuals to struggle with their self-esteem. In addition, persons may have a fear of missing out and social media may encourage them to live a life that is beyond their means. There are also instances where persons use their social media to reach out and uplift others. As we tailor our social media towards our individual needs, I want you to ask yourself some questions: what is it that you want to gain from your social media usage and what are you hoping to give to others from your social media page. Are you aiming to build awareness on a particular topic or are you going to use it as a platform to share memes to make people laugh?
Let us take a look at how you can make your social media usage a more positive space for you to engage with. You can do so by doing the following:
Firstly, set your intentions as to why you are on a particular social media platform. Is it to stay connected with friends and family, is it to find your tribe on a particular issue, are you there for the jokes, or do you want to become a content creator?
Limit the amount of time that you spend on social media websites; the more time you spend, the more you might be indulging in something that is not bringing you joy. Has your phone ever updated you on how much time per week you spend on a particular app? Now ask yourself, was this fun and engaging, sad, or time that you could have used to engage in a more positive activity?
Be mindful of the content you consume. Follow pages that you have interest in, that give you inspiration and unfollow pages that make you feel down and question yourself.
Clean up your page – delete, unfollow, unlike and cultivate an environment that is not going to make you feel sad, anxious or judged.
Use your page to create content that is fulfilling to you, and if that means sharing memes that make you laugh, that is ok!
Follow pages that inspire you to do better, be better and try new things.
Don’t use social media to lurk and judge but to uplift and encourage. Making others feel good and encouraging other persons will help you to feel good yourself.
Remember that social media does not entitle you to access to others beyond what is shared nor does it entitle people to have access to you beyond what you share. Have healthy boundaries.
Be vigilant of “fake news”. Do not accept information solely because you saw it on the internet. Research and fact check so that you are not led astray.
Don’t use social media for the intention of geting validation because that is a slippery slope into becoming sad and self-conscious.
Remember, social media is a highlight reel and it will never reflect a person’s real life.
Lastly, have fun with social media. It’s a fun space that fosters creativity, teaches new skills and empowers persons to do more of what brings them joy.
Ms. Ellica Matthews
MSc. Clinical Psychology