Recently, while taking a class over winter break I had an assignment to write a paper about the positives and negatives of social media. I thought a two page paper about the thing I stare at on a daily basis would be a piece of cake, but then I started doing some research and finding different opinions about social media. It’s the number one thing people want to give up for lent or to cut down on for new years and I constantly hear from my friends talk about how they want to slow down on their usage of Instagram and Twitter but then the next day they are asking me ideas for a photo to get over 100 likes. We all know it can be a distraction but why can't we actually get ourselves to put down the phone and look at what’s around us? I will easily admit that I use social media constantly, I use so many outlets to keep up with different groups of friends and family and up to date on new things happening in the world. I dream of working in the news and with sports so I always keep updated on stories and the happenings around the world but how do I notice when it starts to become an issue and I should be spending more time with my textbooks rather than texting my friends?
There comes a point when we all want to delete every account and app we have and throw our phones at the walls because we realize how obsessed we’ve become, but I think the best way is to understand that social media brings a lot to our lives that many before us never had. We get to keep up and in contact with people that we could never have without a phone and Facebook. If we learn to manage our time and use social media wisely I believe we can all move away from going in and out of a happy relationship with social media to a healthy relationship with our phones.
Here are a few tips to use social media for your benefit and not get too attached:
1 - Social media is your friend with benefits. Get what you need but don’t push it, if you feel your legs falling asleep and your hands cramping because you’ve been scrolling for too long, take a break and eat a snack or go to something healthy – talk to your friends in person.
2 – Use social media to make plans – don’t ask your friend how they’re doing over text if they live right down the street, text them and ask to meet for lunch or coffee and catch up, and leave your phone in your pocket the whole time you’re with them.
3 – Find other things you love – Whether you enjoy working out or going to a game or event or concert like me, find something you love that will keep you so busy that you don’t even want to check Twitter.
4 – “Pic or it didn’t happen.” – I can admit I love my photos, and taking pics to remember a moment but sometimes your lunch CAN go unphotographed and put on Instagram, sometimes its nice to do something for yourself and have nobody know about it, its your little secret.
5 – Don’t be scared of silence - Sometimes its not bad when your phone dies before it hits the charger, when it dies or you left it in your room while making food enjoy the silence and the moment without a screen and look up to see what’s around you.
6 – Keep it real – keep everything you put on social media real, its not a runway or a stage and everyone who is truly interested in what’s happening in your life would rather the truth than fake photos…
7 – Its just business, baby – use social media like LinkedIn to make real connections with real people to help your career and show off your real accomplishments, and you can use Twitter and Instagram to show the real side of you, respectfully (because bosses look at everything nowadays).
In light of 2016 approaching so quickly and all of the new years resolutions flooding into your head why not start with trying to use social media and your phone to your advantage and let go of the bad ideas associated with looking at your phone?
Good luck my lovelies and I hope to make coffee plans with you soon!