April 12, 2018

Social Media & You: A Healthy Relationship

It’s no secret – I love social media. Instagram is my favorite – people really tend to show their creativity, their personality, and sometimes if we’re lucky, their puppies on the gram. What’s not to like!? Granted, at this point – some platforms are beginning to be over-saturated with negativity and everyone’s opinions about everything there is to have an opinion on. Oh, also, some platforms are stealing your life info and jacking up the government. Ya know, no biggie.  It all gets to be a bit much sometimes but it  can be a wonderful way to keep up w/ friends, current events and culture.

 

Many people will warn you away from social media – basically telling you it’s a satan incarnate created to rot your brain and make you addicted to filters that give you dog ears. Honestly, there is an element of truth to that. Those who have only that view, I think, are simply not aware of social media’s proper use & place. If we are intentional about the relationship we allow ourselves to have with it, social media can be an amazing tool. Let’s talk about some ways to remain healthy while getting your fix:

1.Understand

Insta, twitter, snap – they can be dangerous places. For one, everyone’s intentions on there are not good. Some have found ways to harm others and we have to be aware and vigilant that these ppl are out there.

Also, it is a platform. Weather you have 12 followers or 12k, your social media is a platform that lasts forever. You are sending a message about yourself and your beliefs that people will take at face value. Parents, friends, bosses, coworkers  and potential mates all have access to what you put out. What is your messaging?

Are you airing your dirty laundry in front of errybody? Are you vague-booking, hoping someone will pay you some attention? Are you getting too personal – making your business know to too many people? Putting all your bidness & every personal detail in front of all is not productive or healthy. If that what you’re using this platform for, it is probably time for the following numbers…

 

2. Moderate

There are not many things in this life in which copious quantities are good for you. Jesus and naps are the only things that come to mind. Social media is no different. Don’t let it rule your life. Have spans of time, be it hours, days or weeks and/or month(s) where you don’t engage. Don’t forget to live real life. If you do, you’ll get sucked into the curated world social media perpetuates and it will get harder to tell the difference between created “reality” and the real deal.

 

3.Communicate

Don’t forsake humans for the interwebz. Snap streaks & DMs are not the same as conversation. It may be less intimidating, but it doesn’t count as human interaction (introverts – I’m looking at you!). Social media is a great communication tool but keep in mind, people are not obligated to answer your message the first minute or hour – even day – in which you send it. Neither are you. Be ok with that.

Talk to people w/out the use of your phone. Go to dinner w/ them. Have game nights & hang outs and adventures, and leave your phone out of it. Sometimes when we go to dinner w/ a group, we’ll stack our phones face down in the middle of the table and leave the sound (or at least the vibrate) on – this way it sparks interest if one goes off. If anyone touches their phone to check it before the end of dinner – they pay the entire bill. It’s fun, it’s helpful. Try it.

If you are looking to social media for help with personal issues, you will get opinions – not necessarily help. Talk (real life talk on the phone or in person… I know, how archaic) to a trusted person who can actually help you. Communication is key – not just surface connection.

 

4. Appreciate

Appreciate it for exactly what it is – a platform for people to showcase curated content of their lives. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this if we keep that in mind. It’s basically a personal magazine of which we all get to be editor & chief. It is not necessarily a gauge of reality. It is not all of who anyone is. It is a highlight real. It cannot show life’s complexities. It can, however, open us up to experiences through the lens of others. That’s the dope part about it.

Don’t make it about comparing your life to others. Don’t be out here schadenfreude-ing. Love all the wonderful perspectives and creativity there is to witness. Connect with folks. Double tap some stuff. Pray for those you see who need it. Keep it moving.

 

5.Likes & Love

Likes are awesome. They feel good. If you’re a (micro)blogger like me, it helps us know what people like to see, the kinds of things they appreciate and we can tailor our content as such and it just feels nice when people identify with what you share. It is, in one sense a community.  If you’re not in the social media business, it’s just a cool aspect of it all.

At the end of the day, though, they can’t mean everything to us personally. They are not a gauge of how much we are or are not loved. They are not, in any way, a commentary on our worth. Some people who like your pictures most often would never lift a finger to help you. Some people who’ve never liked a post would move heaven & earth for your well-being. Even without them, you are already enough. You don’t need validation from anyone for that to be true. It simply is the truth.

If you are starting to feel too attached to your “like”quantities, go back to the top of this list and repeat the steps.

 

In the end – it all means nothing. What will sustain you are the actual, tangible relationships you’ve built with people that require something from both of you (time, resources, etc.). Social media platforms will come and go – don’t be left with nothing of worth when they do.

Speaking of social media – you can hang out with me here. It’ll be cool.

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