Is social media ruining your life?
Do you feel energy deprived, unhappy and uninspired every time you scroll down your social media feed?
Here’s why social media should not be ruining your life and what to do to find a balance…
IS SOCIAL MEDIA RUINING YOUR LIFE?
In a fast paced world of force-fed information, social media become our enemies that often serve us useless information, charging our minds and moods with unwanted messages. From the old schoolmate’s trip to Thailand to the blogger’s 4th trip of the month – and more recently, to the baby ultrasound picture posts (total infringement of baby’s integrity!) – social media are flooded with personal content that back in the 90’s, our mothers and grandmothers would be frightened to share even with their closest friends!
Just this morning, I found out that my classmate from primary school is having twins, one of my friend’s brother got engaged and he is celebrating his engagement in Bali, my cousin bought a flat (with en-suite bedroom) and one of my old colleagues had a wonderful weekend to an expensive hotel in London, all while I was ironing my work clothes for the week in between wandering what did I do wrong in my life.
A cup of herbal tea and a bit of talking to myself later, and I figured that there’s nothing wrong with my life! I am healthy and my family members are well in their health too. I have a group of close friends, a house to live and a job that allows me to experience lovely things. I have a boyfriend, two dogs and a cat. It seems that my life is absolutely perfect (or as perfect as it can get!). But still, it only takes a seconds of scrolling through my Instagram feed to think that I am missing out in life and that I do not do well! WHY?
For many, social media is their only link with the outside world. Think of all the introverts, people who are in a disadvantageous financial positions and people who experience health and family difficulties – be in their shoes for a second and feel how social media is ruining their life and day-to-day thoughts and emotions. Even though I am not an introvert or belong to any of the mentioned groups, I still feel like a wrecking ball once I step into Instagram and I can only imagine the greater effect this has on others. Which led me to this…
WHY SOCIAL MEDIA SHOULD NOT BE RUINING YOUR LIFE
Remember what each social media platform* was invented for?
Facebook? To document your big and small life moments and stay in touch with your friends abroad.
Twitter? To express your views on political and other emerging, worldwide matters.
Pinterest? To find recipes, travel tips and general life inspiration.
Instagram? To use the filters and optimise your photography.
I used to get my phone on flight mode just to edit my images on Instagram, quickly after deleting them (because NO ONE was posting on Instagram at the time). Twitter was something I was told to use for work and Facebook was to keep in touch with my friends while travelling around Europe.
Now, think of how we use social media today..
Facebook – to show off our holidays, check-in fancy hotels (even if we are just stepping in to snap a picture by the window) and to humble brag about our life.
Twitter – to complain and criticise.
Pinterest – to save endless images that we will never recreate and never click to find their original source’s content.
Instagram – to consistently convince people, that we barely know, that our life is better than theirs!
Can you now see what has changed and why social media should not be ruining your life? It is not the social media in themselves that are to blame, but the users and how they have changed the purpose of them.
Once you realise this, stop worrying about what others post and use each platform for what it was meant to be used. It’s deliberating to say the least!
HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA IN 2019!
- Consciously, make the decision to log in Facebook only if necessary. Many people use it for free communication, so if the Messenger application is mostly what you are here for, download it on your phone and stop logging in the website.
- Unfollow every person/brand/group that makes you feel unhappy. I personally, very rarely use Instagram anymore (Still under @theedinburghlife if you are interested to see what I mean), but when I post on behalf of the Natbee’s team on @natbeestravels, I choose to only do the job and log out as soon as possible not checking other posts or updates.
- Delete Twitter. I was sceptical to suggest this but Twitter has become one of the most toxic platforms, especially with Brexit being a breath away!
- Pin and create Pinterest boards that might give you information of value (e.g. fitness routines, photography tips) and do not worry if the cake you just baked does not look like the one in the pinned picture. You have enough to worry, no need to worry for more!
- Read more blogs, listen to more podcasts and be very selective with the information you surround yourself. Your brain is programmed to absorb information just as you absorb nutrients from your food. Be as good to your brain as you are to your gut!
HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN INFLUENCER
- Do not drive yourself crazy over likes. As the social media landscape dynamic changes all the time, brands and marketers are not concerned about the likes but the impressions and engagement each post reaches.
- Likes do not mean sales. There has not been a direct formula to indicate that likes/comments translate to a return on investment, which can only be good news to micro-influencers! For example, if you have a 10k followers account and your Instagram pictures receive 100 likes – from a marketers perspective, this is admittedly a very low number for your following – it doesn’t mean that you cannot drive sales. Similarly, if an Instagram account has 50k followers and receives 5000 likes per image post, it doesn’t mean that all people will buy the product/experience/service the influencer is promoting. And I explain why in the next point…
- …Focus on your audience! An influencer is more likely to generate sales due to the trust they have build with their audience than anything else. If your statistics indicate that your audience has an annual income beyond 30k, they are of the right demographic, age and interest, you are more likely to make them ‘swipe-up’, follow links and buy products than a bigger influencer that has audience in the 18-25 age group who are still students/figuring out their life!
- Be consistent and considerate about what you are posting. No one likes unboxing anymore (we are not in 2017!) or humble brag holiday posts. People like to read captions and appreciate a long post more than a short one (or even worse, a line of emojis!). Take advantage of the changes, adapt and only post content that will be of use.
- Before posting always questions yourself: is this going to be funny, educational, of use to my audience?
- Do not overpost! The ‘3 per day’ rule does not apply on Instagram anymore. The more users post, the more chances they have to be unfollowed, so ultimately by posting less and of more quality content you give your audience the time to absorb the information and interact with you without giving them too much!
Last but not least, have fun with what you are doing and get the joy back. Social media are meant to make you more social, not to make you depressed! Use them to communicate with your friends and go out more often. Use them to update your family and friends far away but don’t get obsessed with what everyone else is doing. Use them as a free communications tool. Use them to showcase your photography passion but not to compare yourself to others.
Have fun and it will show!
Is social media ruining your life? Let’s chat in the comments section!