Social media is ruining lives. Or, at least, that is what one former Facebook executive would have you believe. Heck, even Facebook slightly agrees. I’m a big believer that adults should take responsibility for themselves and not be quick to blame outside elements, such as peer pressure, media, advertising, etc. However, I do believe that people have a tendency to overuse social media, which can lead to toxic behaviors. As someone who makes a career out of working in social media, I, myself, struggle with finding a balance between loving the medium and being overly irritated by it. I think I may have found methods that work for me, and maybe they’ll work for you, too. Here are the five ways I recommend you use to manage the negative effects of social media. Give them a try, and hopefully, you can find a balance between loving life and living life on social media.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Whether it’s on social media, at work, or in your neighborhood, will you please stop comparing yourself to other people? You are enough. Your car is enough. Your home is enough. Your salary is enough. Your education level is enough. It’s perfectly natural to want to aspire for more—a raise, a promotion, a lifestyle upgrade. Ambition is a wonderful thing. But set goals that are based on your personal level of satisfaction and not for the purpose of keeping up with the Joneses. Focus on what you are grateful for and be happy for the success of others. Doing so will increase your positive outlook on life and keep you grounded.
- Share the positive; eliminate the negative. Like attracts like. So, if you want to attract negative people and negative attention, then sure, go ahead and rant all you want on Facebook. But, if you want to attract positive people, interactions, and opportunities, then consider making the bulk of your social media posts positive ones. Express your gratitude for someone who showed kindness. Share job and volunteer leads. Post a picture of yourself smiling and being happy. Negative emotions are human. If you have a cold and want to turn to your social media friends for homeopathic recommendations, go for it. But if all you ever do on social media is bitch and moan about life, don’t expect anything positive to come from that.
- Share less. Seriously, we don’t need to know about every detail of your life, and you don’t need to post on social media every damn day. I surprised a friend recently because while she noticed that I am sharing less often on social media, what she didn’t realize is that during those seemingly quiet moments, I’m actually out and about with my best friends. But each time I’m with them, I don’t interrupt our time together to take a photo and share it on social media. I live in the moment. I bond. I establish a memory of the great day I am having with my friend. Not every moment of my life needs to be recorded for prosperity. In fact, it’s the moments that I don’t share on social media that tend to be the most special ones. So, if you don’t see me posting on my Instagram for a few days, don’t assume I had nothing going on. More than likely, I’m enjoying life with people I love, and I would rather relish those moments than interrupt them for a photo opp.
- Up your social media game. Okay, this may seem like a weird recommendation, considering where my advice has taken you so far, but hear me out. If your social media game was leveled up, you might feel less likely to compare yourself to others and feel more confident. An improvement in your social media just might make you feel better about yourself. Try these ideas:
- Practice posing. If you’re always saying, “I look fat in my photos,” then take a Sunday to practice angles that make you look beautiful. Find your best side. How should the camera be angled when you take a selfie? Do you look better facing the camera head-on or with your chin aimed down and looking away? Learn what works for you and stick with it moving forward.
- Invest in a selfie light. I recently went to Nashville where I finally got to meet my bosses and coworkers, and when they saw me taking selfies with my selfie light, they knew my secret. “No wonder your selfies always look good!” they exclaimed. Now, they’re buying selfie lights, too. Aside from knowing how to pose, knowing which lighting works for you will also help you guarantee good selfies.
- Use photo editing apps. I totally edit my photos. I rely on three: Snapseed, Facetune, and PhotoWonder. PhotoWonder is my favorite. I use the built-in Filter Camera for photos and the Beautify tools for touching up.
- Figure out the best times to post. This infographic may help, but really, find what works for you. Experiment and when you find your hot times to post, adhere to that schedule.
- Use hashtags. But don’t invent them. That’s pointless. Popular hashtags are the key to finding new friends and followers.
- Unfriend. Unfollow. Mute. Like I said, like attracts like. If you’re tired of the negative Facebook friend who whines, whines, whines, go ahead and unfriend that person. Or, unfollow them. Or, use the Snooze button to temporarily mute them. Control is in your hands. Use it unapologetically.
Social Media Must-Haves