Make Social Media Serve You!
Are You Consciously Consuming Social Media?
There is so much talk about how bad social media is for your wellbeing. I totally agree that it can be devastating if we allow ourselves to be force fed whatever the algorithm decides we need at any given time. But in itself, social media is just an online forum.
It isn't inherently good or bad.
Just like with any other relationship in life, how we choose to interact will determine our experience.
So let's apply these 5 guideposts to the Social Media Experience and see what happens!
Take Ownership of Your Experience
This may sound silly but it is actually integral to changing the dynamic of any relationship. No, unless you are Mark Zuckerberg, you cannot change how Facebook or Instagram work. But you can change how you operate within the system. The best way to be successful in making this change is to first acknowledge that you can do it. You are not a bystander in this experience. You have control over your reality. (Queue the image of you standing tall with hands on hips and cape flowing in the wind behind you...)
Now that you are in charge, let's start with boundaries. No! Don't go! I promise, this won't be painful. Have you ever stopped to think about what you want out of social media? Like, in a perfect world, what purpose would social media serve for you? Would it be to keep in touch with your friends and family? Would it be to connect you with like minded people? Would it be to inform you about current events? I'm not asking what social media CAN do. I am asking, what would you like it to do for you specifically. When you are able to name what you'd like to get out of social media, you have created a boundary. Congratulations! See, that didn't hurt! Ok, next one: What would you like to contribute to social media? Pictures of your dinner? Pictures of your kids? Funny stories about life? All of the above? Decide what you are comfortable sharing in a public forum that will be there FOREVER. This is going to be different for everyone and all that matters is that you are being true to you.
For instance, I want to share pictures of my kid, funny stories about life with a toddler, pictures of plants and flowers, information about plant medicine. I DO NOT want to record myself dancing for any reason. So now, I know there is no need for me to feel pressured to create a Reel that includes me dancing because it would VIOLATE my boundary. Done. No weird FOMO or guilt about not doing what 'everybody is doing' because I already created boundaries. BOOM!
There is so much power in boundaries!
Focus on what Lights YOU Up
We have access to SO MUCH information through social media. Let's get intentional about what comes to us. What are you interested in?
*Here is where Instagram really shines* Did you know you can follow hashtags? So, if you decided you wanted to use social media to learn about a topic, search hashtags related to that topic and follow the ones that pique your interest. This will connect you to the people and accounts who are talking about what lights you up. You can follow those accounts and/or plug in to conversations that matter to you!
Be a Ruthless Editor
In my opinion, this is the most important step! You are in control of who you follow. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE FACEBOOK FRIENDS WITH EVERYBODY!! If you're out in public and someone is harassing you, do you just sit and take it or do you walk away? I hope very much, that you walk away. Let's explore how to "walk away" in terms of social platforms. I know it can be beneficial in many ways to have lots of "friends" or "followers" on both Facebook and Instagram, not to mention YouTube etc. Just like in real life though, ALL of your friends don't need have the same level of access to you. There are options to "hide" posts from certain people, to "unfollow," and to block. Use these options to your advantage! If that one friend is just really on a rant about something that triggers you, it is perfectly acceptable to "unfollow" them. There is merit in confronting people about behavior that is offensive and/or triggering to you. AND there is merit in protecting your PEACE. When you set boundaries around your experience, spend some time on what interactions you are open to. Then edit accordingly!
You do not have to allow yourself to be continually triggered in order to create positive change in the world. You do not have to engage with every invitation. These platforms are only going to show you a handful of what's out there anyway. Don't let part of that handful be content that disrupts your peace.
This editing process is ongoing. Your interests will change. The voices you want to hear will change. Every time you open to a new topic, you open to new voices. Pay attention to how each of those make you feel and act accordingly.
It is entirely possible to be presented with different view points, different perspectives and to have your opinions and beliefs challenged in constructive ways. If you are wanting to grown and learn, to expand your understanding of a topic, I promise you can find people who are presenting information in a way that you can hear. I'm not saying only allow information that makes you comfortable. I am saying, you know the difference between feeling attacked and feeling challenged. If you don't know the difference, let's talk. There is so much rich opportunity for growth and discernment here!
Spread Your Light
Now that you've curated (to the best of your ability) what you see in these spaces. Share the magic of you, in the way that serves you best. If you are your best you when you are talking about knitting sweaters for your cats, DO IT! If you are your best you when you are shining light on opportunities to improve social justice, DO IT! No matter what it is that brings out the best in you, when you share from that place, you light up the world.
I hope that these guideposts will be helpful to you. I hope that you will create a space that serves you on whichever platforms feel best to you. I hope that when you follow these steps, new opportunities for healthy growth and connection flow abundantly to you.