It’s no secret that social media can be a breeding ground for negativity. Having a positive experience on social media is more of a challenge than ever in today’s challenging world. But it’s definitely possible to have a positive, healthy social media experience, whether you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, or all of the above. All it takes are a few extra steps and mindset shifts to make social media a better place to be.
How We Use Social Media Today
According to Statista, the average social media user in the United States spends 65 minutes a day scrolling through feeds, consuming content, posting updates, and responding to messages on social media. That’s over an hour a day! If we’re going to spend all of that time online, we should at least take some steps to make those hours enjoyable, positive, and healthy.
The Pew Research Center says that 64% of Americans believe that social media has a mostly negative effect on how things are going in the United States today. An additional 25% say that they think social media has neither a positive nor a negative effect, and a mere 10% say they think social media has a positive effect. Social media also has a negative effect on the individuals who use it if the user is not mindful about how they consume.
Below are our six steps for having a positive, healthy social media experience.
Have A Positive Social Media Experience
- Focus on your friends and family.
By prioritizing your friends and family in your social media usage, you’re focusing on what matters most in life. You’ll be able to keep up with what your friends and family are doing while avoiding interacting with influencers and celebrities whom you will likely never meet in real life. There’s nothing like seeing a new photo or video of your nephew’s latest antics when the alternative is seeing an influencer ad by someone you don’t even know. Though liking and commenting on the posts of your friends and family can’t replace in-person connection, it’s a fine supplement to phone calls, FaceTime, and text messages.
- Consider sharing personal family photos on a private account.
When you post on social media, the images and information that you share is officially available for public consumption. Consider only posting photos of your family on a private account that is followed by only friends and family. That limits the chances that your personal information will fall into the wrong hands.
- Set social media screen time limits.
Most smartphones allow users to set time limits on apps. This helps limit mindless, endless scrolling. Receiving a notification saying that you have only five minutes left on social media for the day will help you wrap up your session. Try setting a time limit for 30 minutes and see how it feels to log off when you hit your limit.
- Follow only accounts that entertain, intrigue, or inspire you.
Have you heard of the Marie Kondo method? It’s time to only follow accounts and people who spark joy and unfollow the rest. If you are following users who make you feel upset, insecure, or anxious, do yourself a favor and unfollow. Afraid to unfriend someone on Facebook? Simply press the “unfollow” button. You won’t see any of their posts anymore, but you won’t have to deal with the potential drama of unfriending.
Be relentless in your unfollowing, and only interact with posts that add value to your life and your social media experience. The algorithms of social media apps pay attention to the kinds of posts you interact with, and they will send you posts that are similar to the posts you interact with. So, interact wisely!
- Limit your screen time before bed.
Our phones and computers emit blue light, which tricks our brains and bodies into thinking that it’s daytime and we should be awake. Try limiting your social media use and screen time right before bed, and you may find that you’ll fall asleep more easily. Instead of scrolling before bed, try reading a book. Reading engages your brain and enlivens your imagination, and you’ll likely find it much easier to fall asleep.
- Share on social media if you want, and don’t share if you don’t.
If posting on social media brings you joy, then you should post. And if it doesn’t, then you shouldn’t. It doesn’t always feel that simple. Sometimes, you may feel like you should share moments from your life with your followers, but you may wonder what it’s like to keep things private. Other times, you may feel nervous about how posting will make others perceive you. Worrying about what others think of us is only natural. Try focusing on what brings you the most peace.
- Know that it’s okay to take a break.
If you take a break from social media, you won’t miss anything. Social media can make even the most conscious user feel stressed and anxious sometimes, so try unplugging for a few days, a few weeks, or even longer. You may find that it’s easier to focus on connecting with people in real life.
Having a positive, healthy experience on social media is more possible than you may think. By focusing on your real-world connections, setting screen time limits, engaging only with content that brings you joy, and using the apps in a way that is authentic, you’ll find yourself feeling better. You’ll feel less drained and more inspired after spending time on social media.