Keeping Your Social Media Experience Positive
It is an undeniable fact that social media has let us feel closer to loved ones, friends and family, especially during lockdown. For some it has been the only contact with the outside world. However, the things we see on these social platforms are not always a positive experience. In this article I hope to give you tips and advice on keeping your social media experience positive.
Stay Away From Negativity
Easier said than done isn’t it? It is so hard to have a positive mental outlook if you are surrounded by negativity! It is a lot like trying to fill a sieve with water, your positivity will keep leaking out through the holes. It could be as simple as the constant stream of alarming news that can make us feel anxious, fearful or a bit low. Or perhaps not liking what others post, finding memes or comments in bad taste, or it can be a lot more sinister and you may well find yourself the victim of an internet bully (otherwise known as a troll).
Just Scroll On By
My first piece of advice is to address perhaps the least of these concerns, there will always be comments and opinions we don’t agree with. We can’t all be the same and we don’t all have the same opinions, ethics or outlooks. If you are struggling under the weight of seemingly constant negative posts, try a “water off a duck’s back” approach. I find it helpful when I see things that I don’t necessarily agree with to just scroll on by. Try to adopt a “You do you and I’ll do me” approach. If that isn’t working for you then you can either unfriend or unfollow the people or pages or group. On Facebook you can “Snooze” them for 30 days, which means you won’t see their posts for that time. If you still feel the same after the 30 days, then definitely consider unfriending them. Yes, even if they are family or close friends. None of the social platforms notify a user when they are unfollowed, in all likelihood they probably won’t notice you have abandoned their online negativity ship.
Is It News or Sensationalism?
Next it is time to tackle the constant stream of negative news. Boy, have we had a lot of it! Whilst I don’t advise living in a bubble and forgoing all connection with the news media, I do advocate being more selective over the news outlets you follow. Try to get the latest news from the horse’s mouth. For example, if you want to know the latest safety advice regarding the Coronavirus, then seek out the NHS website. Similarly use government websites to view the latest measures or easing of them. These will be less opinion focused and give you factual content.
Serious Social Concerns
Finally, we address the trolls. Those people who seemingly delight in posting hurtful, antagonistic or inflammatory content. The best advise I can give you is report them and keep reporting them. Ask your friends to also report them. Each social site has this ability, whilst not always easy to find, the method of reporting should be at your fingertips if you google the platform name and how to report a bully you should be able to find a walkthrough – if you get stuck ,send me a private message and I will help if I can.
If you are being threatened, manipulated or intimidated please consider contacting the police. They have cyber teams that are geared up to tackle these kinds of people and they will act!
Take a Break – You Deserve It
My final piece of advice is probably the most cathartic. If social media is making you feel anxious or if it regularly lowers your mood, then take a break from it. You won’t be missing too much. You can always make a post saying that you are fine but are taking a break and you will be back soon. That way your friends and connections won’t worry as much as they probably would do if you suddenly disappeared. Taking a break from social media will allow you to realign your perspective – I know it certainly helped me! During the first few weeks of the pandemic I found it incredibly difficult to do my work, which of course involves me using social media platforms (all of them) for each of my clients. I found taking regular breaks helped me enormously!
I hope the advice and tips in this article help. Social media can be fantastically positive, unfortunately, not all humans are – distance yourself and keep it positive!
PS If you found this advice useful, read my 10 Tips for Keeping Children Safe on Social Media article too!