Social media is a huge part of my life. Not only have I built my career around social media marketing, but I also love to connect with friends and family on my personal account. It was only a few years ago that social media was more of a novelty than anything else, but now it is practically a necessity! Recently, studies have been coming out about the negative affects social media has on our society because of its addictive nature and the comparison culture it promotes. On the other hand, social media is being used as a catalyst for good- spreading the gospel, bringing believers together, and raising awareness for worthy causes!
So how should we engage with social media? While there are definitely pros and cons to using social media, the important thing to remember is that social media is simply a tool that we choose what to do with! Just like with our diet or finances, we need to make a conscious decision about how we want to steward our time spent on social media.
As a social media manager, I have struggled in the past with finding the balance of curating my social media feed while still making sure I connect with the people who are physically in my space. As I have walked out this balance, I have found five easy practices that help me enjoy using social media, while still living my life to the fullest.
5 Tips For Healthy Social Media Use
No Social Sunday
One of my favorite social media practices that I started a year ago is taking one day a week completely off of social media. No posts, no scrolling, no commenting- nothing social media related! I actually found that taking this one day off helps me clear my brain and enjoy social media more the rest of the week. I choose to take Sundays off because that is my time to reconnect with God and rest, but you can pick any day of the week. Seriously do it, I promise you won’t regret it! Still afraid you’ll miss something important? Don’t worry, stories still last for 24hrs, so they will be there when you get back. Or if you use social media for your job like I do, you can always schedule posts to go out on your day off.
Pictures Now, Post Later
Have you traveled to a historic site or gone to a sold-out concert, but when you look around everyone is staring down at their phone instead of actually experiencing what they came to see? Probably all of us have seen these people… or even been them. I know that I have! Nothing is wrong with wanting to document moments and share them with your followers. But if we aren’t careful in our desire to capture these special moments, we are actually missing out on them. One way I like to stay in the moment is to take my pictures or videos and then save them to post later. If I start trying to edit or tag people or write a caption, I spend more time staring at my phone in an effort to create a memory rather than actually making one. So, take your picture, put away your phone, go experience, and post later.
We have all been there before- the moment when you realize you have lost track of time and watched way too many Facebook videos. Mindless scrolling. On a small scale this is not really a problem, but many of us don’t even realize that we are addicted to our social media. So how do we keep from getting sucked into the black hole? Create boundaries around your screen time. Set a timer on your phone. Put your phone away at dinner. Choose a specific hour to be on your social platforms. Whatever you choose to do, be intentional and notice when you start to mindlessly scroll and stop yourself.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is just take a break! Especially if you deal with anxiety or have a lot of stress in your life, a social media fast can really help you disconnect and refocus on your spiritual life and mental health. Whether it is a week or a month or the whole summer, I like to pick a time where I delete my social apps from my phone and focus on other areas of my life.
This last tip is a hard one for me to do, but it really is a game changer. You always have the choice to unfollow someone if their content makes you unhappy. If you ever find yourself constantly comparing your life to someone else’s- even if they are a nice person- maybe it’s time to unfollow. Unfollowing someone does not have to be a vengeful act, you are simply choosing to prioritize what you need to be seeing on your feed for your own mental and emotional health.
The main thing to remember when using social media, whatever boundaries you decide to set in place, is to be intentional. If you are not controlling your social media, then it is controlling you! Maybe like me, you have struggled with how to be engaged on your platforms and still fully experience the world around you. The good news is you can find that balance without having to sign off of Instagram forever!
I hope these five tips will help you be present on social media, while still being present in your own life! Another easy way to bring some positivity in your feed is to follow us @MercyMultiplied on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!