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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

A Balanced Digital Diet: Having a Healthy Relationship With Social Media

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Social media. It is a double-edged sword. Everybody has some form of social media account these days, and while there are so many benefits, we can very easily get caught up in social media. Learning to be healthy these days isn't just about utilizing the right information which, ironically, we would likely get through social media. It's also about learning to have healthy relationships with everything in our lives. Many people talk about a balanced diet, but we need to have a balanced diet with regards to our social media. How do we do this?

Think About Who You Follow
You may very well use social media as a guide on living a certain way of life. Influencers like Sierra Skye that have 4.1 million followers on Instagram are going to promote a certain lifestyle, but you have to think about who you follow really carefully. There are people that we admire but when we look at these people and start to envy them or make us feel left out, our self-esteem can soon start to dwindle. We can spend a lot of time idolizing certain individuals on social media and sometimes our friends will post things that make us feel that the grass is greener on the other side. It is perfectly okay to unfollow them or hide them from your feed. When you start to slowly wean yourself off social media for a respectable amount of time every day, when you do go on it, you will only get information from the people that you truly value.
 
Think Before You Post
It's so easy to post on social media in the heat of the moment. But you've got to think about what you are going to post before you put it up for everyone to see. In many ways, it's like making a massive announcement in the middle of a crowded room. Those people that have been so frustrated that they threatened to cause damage to someone or, in one case, threatened to blow up an airport, found themselves on the receiving end of a lot of anger and legal troubles.
 
Schedule Social Media Time
It's so easy to find ourselves scrolling through social media idly. You can find one of the many apps that show you how long you've been on social media during any given day. This may very well be an eye-opener if you don't think you go on any social media platform that much. But if you find it saps your productivity, set limits for your social media time. When you limit your login time to 15 minutes or less, it gives you the opportunity to do what you need, and nothing more.
 
Remove Apps From Your Phone
Staying away from social media isn't easy. In order to make it more difficult for yourself, remove apps, and make it harder for you to log in. Remember when we had to check social media on our computer? There wasn't much of an opportunity to do it while we were out with friends. And it can be the perfect opportunity for us to actually focus on the people that matter.
 
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
One of the biggest side effects of using social media is that you see other people's lives and start comparing yourself to them. We have to remember that one post doesn't tell the whole story. We see people posting a wide variety of amazing pictures that, to you, communicate that they are having the best life. One photograph or post is a moment in time, and that’s it. At the same time, when someone else has amazing news, that doesn't mean it diminishes your own. The more people compare themselves to others on social media, the more inadequate and depressed they get.
 
Be Genuine in the Posts You Make
If you want to have a healthy relationship with social media, being genuine in your posts and photos that reflect who you are and your values is a far more beneficial approach. Many people use social media as a soapbox or a promotional tool, but if you find the online persona you create is different from who you really are, you will soon start to see the pressures mount, so you agonize over the types of posts you make and when you post them. We can argue that we are getting away from authenticity in this world. Social media is only compounding this.
 
Stepping Away From Online Arguments
Some people live to bait trolls. An online debate can be very healthy. But as we've seen with any social media post, there comes the big divide. After a while, any form of debate can descend into smears and negative remarks that serve to insult a whole group, culture, or creed of people. We don't have to engage in arguments. We need to know that trolls are a part of social media, but they are those people that lived to bait us in the schoolyard. Having the courage to step away from an argument on social media is about telling yourself that you don't need to lower yourself to their level. An online argument can go round in circles. There is never the potential to show anybody another side of the argument if they don't want to see it. Ultimately, they can block or filter posts, so why should we waste our time?

Social media can be a cause for good. With #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, there have been ways to discover others who have experienced similar trials and tribulations. And having a healthy relationship with social media isn't about learning to step away but it's about using it for the right things. The question goes back to those people that originally created social media. Did they want it to be a force for good or to truly highlight the disparities in the world? Whatever their decision was, we have the power to use our little corner of the internet for good.

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