For the past two weeks, we’ve been talking about Social Media, and the dangers of how it makes us feel. A brief summary of what we’ve talked about: A lot of us are addicted to Social Media. Using Social Media can make us feel inadequate about ourselves or jealous of others because 1) people only present their highlight reels as false masks of their lives and 2) we can’t help but compare our lives that we know the good and bad of to others lives that we can only see the good.
So far, I’ve been speaking about this experience as a one way street. They post, we read, we feel. Social Media is about connections, however. By its very nature, it cannot be one-way. We, too, can post and make others feel.
So, readers, what sorts of things do you tend to post about? Do you like to post about the mundane things? Or do you like to post about the super awesome things that other people should know about? Loaded questions aside, most of us will post more about awesome things than unawesome things. There is nothing wrong with that, it is entirely human to want to share the cool things that we do.
Like all things, there is a danger to that as well, however. It is one thing to post awesome things, it is quite another to begin living your life for the ability to post those things. Have you ever done something just so that you could post about it? Or less so, have you ever thought about how great it would be to share something while you were doing it?
When we put all of this emphasis on our online life being equal to others’ online lives, something else happens. We begin living for the likes and approval of others. We begin doing things just for the ability to post about it. Even worse, we begin taking ourselves out of the moment, in order to document it to post it later. I’ve found myself, so many times, stepping out of a situation, disengaging from an adventure or encounter, to take a picture of it. I mourn the loss of all of those engagements I might have had if I hadn’t of taken a picture of it.
This Social Media mindset can lead to us over-valuing the documenting of experiences instead of getting the experience.
So how do we fight against this encroachment, this lifestyle? I will not for a second pretend to have all the answers. I can share my own strategies, and hope that maybe you’ll find some value out of them. As always, I would encourage you to leave a comment on the page if you can think of anything I didn’t.
- Be aware. This is really a universal strategy for every type of behavior. Be aware of your choices and thoughts, and think about where they come from. Question your motivations!
- Take Social Media breaks. Even if just for a day at a time, give yourself a rest from Social Media. Forget your phone at home (depending on the type of job or lifestyle you have, this might not be an option). It’ll be scary at first, and then exhilarating.
- From time to time, put away your camera/phone. Try to take in the experience instead of documenting it. Listen to the band instead of filming them.
- When you’re talking to somebody, don’t fiddle with your phone. Keep it in your pocket. To be blunt and honest, this one is tough. I break this one all the time. It is a terrible habit and one that is so difficult to break. However, I’m not going to stop trying.
- Most importantly, try to remember that as perfect as somebody’s life may seem online, they have their own struggles and flaws. Nobody is perfect, and everybody is human.
You are awesome in your own way. Never forget that.
PS: There will not be a blog post next week, as once again, I have a Big Scary Exam (BSE) approaching.