If you want someone to convince you to stop using social media, I’m not your girl. I am not asking you to delete Instagram, to limit your use of TikTok with a timer or to condemn society for making it such an important part of our lives. While there is nothing wrong with these approaches and each has its own benefits, today, I am sharing a different approach. Social media is already an important part of our lives, and I’m not one to waste my energy trying to reverse the tide. The only way forward is to work with it by maximizing reward and minimizing risk.
How do we make that a reality? The positivity of social media. I’m sharing how to boost the effects of social media (they exist!) and giving you tips to help you feel more connected, empowered, and inspired while using it.
Featured image of Michelle Nash.
What is the positivity of social networks?
If you left this article and learned one thing, I want it to be: Use social media in a passive way is a major cause of the feelings of depression and loneliness we often associate with our feeds. It makes sense logically, but it’s also backed by science. When we’re hanging around, when we’re scrolling for hours on end without a single conversation or interaction, we feel more empty than when we started.
Social media means social.
Humans are interconnected — we are social animals, after all. When we use social media to connect on a deeper level, we feel less alone and it really donate our mental health. Remember: How How we use social media affects the emotions we experience when scrolling.
Don’t be a stalker
A few years ago, I listened to an interview between psychologist and author, Guy Winch, and Esther Perel, a leading psychotherapist. Their conversation changed my social media habits forever. This is one of my key lessons:
Guy: There is a lot of research on how social media creates loneliness and it depends on how we use it. In other words, it is the passive that many people use social networks. Passive, that is, they just scan other people’s feeds. They do not comment, do not post and do not interact with social networks. They are just using it voyeuristically.
Esther: And why does that create loneliness?
Guy: Because you really don’t interact, because you don’t get feedback on you.
Join, Interact, Join.
If I follow you on social media, trust me you will eventually get a response from me. It doesn’t matter if we only meet once, if you have hundreds of thousands of followers, or if we haven’t talked in years. I cannot consume without participating, especially after hearing the words above. It’s one of the reasons Diane Cari and I have an inner joke and how I got my own personal book recommendation from Ryan Holiday. Get input from someone in the know: By continually communicating and interacting with other people’s content (in a kind, boundaries-respecting way), your scrolling sessions will be better converted.
Show your true self
There is a quote that I love from Arlan Hamilton, author of It was a damn timethat always reminds me of how important it is to appear both online and off-line for the real, authentic me: “Be who you are so those searching can find you.”
We’ll never be able to document our “real life” on social media, but I don’t know if that’s healthy. There are things that are too private, too private to be shared. And either way, most of us look to social media for morale or inspiration, not someone else’s problem. But there are simple ways we can pull back the curtain and show a bit of #reality.
Posting a photo of your messy kitchen right after you post a picture of a gorgeous meal will make a different impression. These little pieces of reality may seem like nothing, but they inform that there’s a LOT more going on behind the scenes that you don’t see.
Limit social media around loved ones
I am very guilty about this. I’m shedding tears of shame as I admit that I often find myself scrolling through social media right next to my husband in a zombie-like state without noticing. Time passed in the blink of an eye, and I felt empty, lonely, and even a little depressed. Sound familiar? Mental health researchers call this phubbing and shared that when we use social media around friends and family, it promotes feelings of loneliness and depression.
Spread the positivity of social media
A sincere compliment that’s specific and from your heart can make someone’s day, week, or even change the way they think of themselves. Remember: Your words have power.
One thing I promised myself a long time ago is that if I see something beautiful, I will not preserve the mother tongue.
Whatever you call the opposite of a social media troll (a social media fairy?) is what I’m aiming for. An accessible way to do this in your own life (and one of my favorite ways to spread positivity on social media) is to leave positive reviews (it’s a great thing!) On Google if there is a restaurant, store or coffee shop where I’ve had a particularly great experience.
Use social media to get to know yourself better
Have you ever saved a post, video or Story without ever mentioning them again? There is a treasure trove of inspiration to be tapped! I love going through my saved folders and making sure everything is organized in a way that inspires me. I constantly import my favorite images onto Pinterest or remove the ones that no longer interest me. It is important that we have clarity about what excites us.
There are tons of great accounts to learn from on social media. You can get inspired by exciting new recipes or dive into the latest NASA discoveries. Some of my favorite followers are Maria Popova, creator of Editor, Wired UKand All you can face.
Use social media to express yourself
Each of us has a deep need to be seen and understood — it’s human truth. Amanda Palmer defines this beautifully: “There is a difference between wanting to be seen and wanting to be seen.” Expressing ourselves and sharing our lives is a wonderful thing and there is no shame in it.
Use social media as an advertising outlet
Do you have a hobby that you are passionate about? Starting a new Instagram or TikTok account dedicated to your niche can be therefore fun! Most of us have many interests and it can be difficult to connect with family and friends about this without getting bored. I’ve started more sub-pages on Instagram than I can count, and I can confidently say I wouldn’t be writing this if it weren’t for that creative outlet.
If someone gives you a sense of humor or their content no longer resonates with you, unfollow them. Just to be clear, I’m not saying that you should unfollow people whose opinions differ from yours. In fact, I try to do the opposite. There is much to be gained from contrasting perspectives, ideas, and experiences with your own.
It’s a careful jump, but trust your intuition and unfollow anyone who makes you feel that your life isn’t good enough or that you’re not. less than. If their content sends your brain into a negative spiral, it’s not worth your while.
Share what inspires you
We are all influenced. Influence is to be human. We’re doing it, and we’ve done it the way it was before social media reached the world. It’s important to remember that you have a choice: How to friend Want to influence people? Possessing this power and choosing to use it for good is the best way to go. I came across the wonderful parts of the Internet because a friend chose to share something on social media and I hope to do the same with others.
Those are all social media positivity tips that helped me scroll my feeds and post with confidence, compassion, and lots of inspiration to steer my path. Any ideas I missed? Signed, your social media fairy.