Why do people spend hours on social media? You can argue that it’s to feed the ego and yes there is some truth to that — but the most important reason is that it brings connection. Social media connects us to family, high school and college friends we no longer regularly see, office mates, business associates, and other people in our lives. Now more than ever, we need social media to feel our connection with one another. Are we using it right? Here are some tips to use your social media for good.
Is your post benefiting yourself or anyone? Or is it hurtful and aggressive? Remember that posts are a reflection of yourself, so before posting anything, think whether it feels right to you.
A lot of people go to Facebook or Twitter to rant and complain. This is totally understandable especially given today’s climate. But for a change — think about something posting something that inspires, that feels good, that makes you or someone else smile.
Have you ordered or cooked a delicious food? You can share that food photo. Have you started your own garden? Share about the growth of your plants. Have you seen good news lately? Share that bit to remind others that despite what we often hear on media, life goes on.
Do you have cats? Everyone loves cats. Post a picture of that furry baby.
3. Show support.
If you know someone who is starting a business or starting a service online, share it with your family and friends. This won’t cost you anything but a few seconds of your time.
If you’re a volunteer or member of any non-government or charity that goes out to help people, share posts about what you do, what you need, and how other people can help.
Give a shout out to people whom you’re grateful for. Most of us only do it on occasions, but how about just letting people know that they are important to you and their presence enriches your life?
You can also send a message to others to let them know you’re thinking about them or to ask how they are doing.
These acts are simple, but they can improve your relationships in real life.
5. Be respectful.
Sometimes, we forget that we’re also interacting with fellow human beings — people with feelings, dreams, and aspirations. Behind the “safety” of the social media, it’s easy to attack others, call names, and other aggressive behavior.
Do your best to be respectful. If you think that is not possible, step back and stop engaging. Sometimes the best resort is to not do anything.
6. Pay attention to what you’re for, instead of what you’re against.
This is something that the teachers of our time have been hammering on: Pay attention to what you’re for, instead of what you’re against.
I’m just going to be a bit spiritual about this. This is an especially challenging time for humanity. We’re faced with unprecedented changes and we may never live the same way again. It’s chaotic. So it’s important to remain in your center and consciously pay attention to things that you want, rather than things you don’t want.
For example, let’s go to politics. Normally, I would advise to stay away from politics because of the negativity it brings up, but today it’s important for people to uphold their duties as responsible citizens. Politics triggers a lot of people.
What you can do is share posts about politicians that are doing a great job or great policies and strategies that help, instead of those that do not. React with likes and love to comments that make sense to you rather than wasting your energy on those that do not. Learn to ignore things and scroll past. It will help you keep your peace, and if majority of the people do this, it will help create an online culture where only positive, meaningful, or helpful engagements remain at the top of conversations.
A lot of us check on our Facebook several times a day, even spending hours on it at a time. It’s good to practice detox days every now and then too, so you can do something productive or just have time to have fun or relax.
Finish a work or project, read a book, watch a good movie, or draw or paint. If you’re living with other people, spend quality time with them.
Remember that social media isn’t necessarily good or bad. It’s how we use it that determines its value in our lives. We can use the social media to form and strengthen connections, to freely express ourselves, and to decide what we want to see and experience in our lives.
*Featured image: People vector created by pikisuperstar – www.freepik.com
How do you use social media meaningfully? Let me know in the comments section below!
Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).