Jun 2, 2020
When Instagram begin hiding likes for many of its users last fall, social media was in an uproar given the importance of likes as a value metric. For influencers, likes could be an actual measure of impact for potential brand partners. For others, a simple notion that what they are doing on social media is, in fact, working.
But now that likes are largely gone for many, vanity metrics including retweets, reshares, and others are grown far less critical. Sure, they matter, but not near as much as your mental fitness. Spilling over in anxiety over such social metrics start to take a ton on your personal life and relationships.
How to Cope: Exercise good social media wellness habits by trying to eliminating the need to compete or be accepted. You were intelligent, powerful, and thoughtful before social media. Again, this is not to discredit the importance of social media or social media engagement. This is about putting yourself and your well-being in the real world above the impact of the digital one. Moreover, once you are at peace with certain vanity metrics, you’ll be more at ease and approach what you post in a more organic way.
Although many social media platforms are about as public as public gets, several of them allow you to communicate with friends and acquaintances in a more private manner. Lean into those private forums to save some room for yourself, even while using social media.
Be it Twitter or Instagram Direct Messages (DMs), Facebook Groups/Messenger, or WhatsApp, take some of your communication out of the public light and into a more private place. Remove the anxiety from public comments and captions and speak freely in private while still being active on social.
Back in 2019 when Mark Zuckerberg claimed that “the future is private,” the Facebook CEO was among the first to forecast this exercise in social media wellness. Instagram took it a step further with its “Close Friends” list, and companies like Twitter have had follower lists for some time now.
How to Cope: Balance your public social media interaction with private interaction. Give public and private spaces each time and consideration, that way one never feels overbearing or all-consuming. Privacy, above all, allows you to create space for yourself, and to save things for yourself and those closest to you. It’s a kindness to yourself.
Whenever the word responsibility is thrown around is feels like a big task. And while practicing social responsibility is a task, it’s something we’re already programmed to do.
If you’re a user, be cautious of the information you’re consuming. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to steer clear of social media accounts or information that makes you feel less than or cause you emotional harm. Although it’s not exactly easy to eliminate all the detrimental things on social media, with just a little bit of effort, you’ll quickly see that you can avoid much of the negative pitfalls of social media.
If you’re a brand dishing out content, there’s always an overarching responsibility to be thoughtful about your content and how it impacts viewers. Being considerate of the people who support your brand with the content you push out helps create brand loyalty, consumer trust, and it raises your awareness as a digital thought leader.
Authenticity isn’t just some buzzword for social media marketers or wellness gurus. In the digital landscape, it’s the only way to maintain your inner self while also being a public figure (which everyone on social media is to a certain degree).
Being true to yourself isn’t just a digital selling point – it primarily ensures that you don’t get lost in the sauce in the world of influencers, hyper-targeted advertising, and the vanity that social media status and/or celebrity brings. Authenticity is about staying grounded. It’s about always being tethered to the things that make you, you.
How to Cope: Work on loving the person you are and embracing who you’re becoming. Be kind to yourself in moments of growth. When you practice self-love, being authentic on social media is empowering and creates trust among those who follow your journey.
Social media relationships should be held to the same standards as your in-person relationships. They should be positive, uplifting, and bring out the best in you. If they don’t, maybe now is a good time to reevaluate those relationships and consider if they’re beneficial to your growth.
Of course, social media can be a great place to foster new and existing relationships. In contrast, it can make it easier to stay in toxic relationships. That’s why it’s important to always evaluate the impact of your relationships as some could be causing your emotional harm. Make it an exercise to take stock of all your digital relationships.
Related: How Social Media Affects Relationships, from Partners to Friends
We were never given the rulebook for balancing social media and mental health. Much of what we’ve experienced over the last decade we learned on the fly. But now that we have so much valuable experience, it’s time to create better boundaries for our relationship with social media.
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