Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn… Almost anyone has used one of these services at least once in their lives. Others, including me, are using multiple. Social media has become such a big part of our society that jobs, like “influencer” or “blogger”, were created from it. Our world is now more connected than ever, with links being made worldwide every second.
Social media was made to connect people, yet loneliness has never affected so many of us. People feel rejected, left out and jealous. This is creating a lot of negativity online because some decide to share their sadness by attacking others. I think social media is great, but there are steps you should take in order to use it in the best possible way, and to protect yourself from other people’s shit. If you want to create a healthier relationship with your social media, keep on reading!
I’m sure you can relate when I say that I’ve felt a tinge of jealousy and sadness when going through people’s posts or stories and seeing them out partying, with a significant other or travelling to the most beautiful places. I always felt like I was the only one that wasn’t out every weekend or that hasn’t travelled to more places than I could count. But I’m not. And neither are you. The thing with social media is that it’s very edited. People choose to only show the best things they do in the best possible light.
Filters were created to make reality look more attractive. So when someone posts pictures of their trip to a tropical island and you can’t help but wish you were there, remember that it’s not the full truth. Maybe they’ve had food-poisining since the second day, maybe their room has no AC, maybe they’re not enjoying the company, maybe you shouldn’t assume that what you see is true. Whenever I feel like I’m falling down a rabbit-hole of wishing I had someone else’s life, I remind myself of the things that I do have, no matter how small they may seem. Because I can promise you that when people see your posts, at least one of them wishes they were you.
When I used to go through my Instagram, Facebook or Twitter feed, I often felt very negative after leaving the app. That is because I wasn’t following accounts that were making me happy. I was following people from school I wasn’t friends with, brands that I did not care about and famous people that were unattainably beautiful. I always felt like I wasn’t enough but that I had to follow these accounts. But you know what, it’s your account, so you get to follow whoever you like.
The moment I filled my feed with people I wanted to see and accounts that made me happy was when I finally enjoyed my social media. Think of what you like, what your hobbies are and who/what inspires you. Love nature? Knitting? Football? Cooking? Painting? Puppies? There is literally accounts for anything you can imagine. So unfollow the ones that bring unnecessary negativity to your life and follow the things you want to see, the things that make you happy.
Recently, there have been many changes to privacy laws in Europe. We all know that message that pops up when we visit a website that asks us to “accept cookies to proceed”. With social media, our whole lives are on show online. Complete strangers know our birthdays, sexual orientation, where we live, what we do, what we like and much more. This is why it’s important to keep some things private.
I set my instagram profile to private and created a seperate account for this blog (@relatablesunday). The same goes for Facebook and other social media, where only minimal information is available about me publicly. Having some privacy and control over who can see your content is so important. It will also make you feel more at ease sharing personal photos, from your family for example, when you know that only your friends or people you’ve accepted can see them.
If your profile is public, you’ve probably received likes or comments from complete strangers. It always made me feel uncomfortable, especially when some people were being inappropriate. If you can relate to this, I suggest you make your profile private. If you want an account for your uni work, for a blog or for your photography for example, make a second one for it. You can keep your main account private and the other one for everyone to see the work you post.
I’m sure you’ve encountered some kind of negative comment or witnessed some form of cyber-bullying. Many people decide to hide behind their screens and say things that they probably would never say to someone in person. The internet has almost become like a shield for people to say whatever they want without caring about the consequences. But the people at the receiving end of the hate are people just like you and me.
Although there isn’t much anyone can do against people being hateful, there are things you can do to counteract their actions. If you see someone commenting or sharing awful things, report it. It’s anonymous and will not get you in any trouble. You can also spread positivity by posting and commenting nice things on people’s posts. Do not engage with haters because that is what they’re usually looking for. Just ignore them and block them. You do not have to put up with their shit.
I always get really nervous before posting anything. I always wonder: is it good enough? What if people are going to hate it? Should I add some filters? Should I not post it at all? Should I just give up and crawl under a rock? Slightly dramatic maybe, but nevertheless, many of us feel pressured to post great things. But that is not what social media is about. It’s about you and what you have to say. We always compare our worth to the amount of likes or followers we have, but that is not a good way to live.
Instead of focusing on the numbers, focus on the content. Post things that make you happy, that you want to see more of. Like-minded people will like what you post. Especially today, I feel like people are starting to get over the picture-perfect (excuse the pun) photos we are served online. People want to be able to relate and know that we’re all humans with struggles and insecurities. So be proud of what you share, no matter if it receives 2 or 34,000 likes. All that matters is that you enjoy it – just make sure it’s appropriate though (refer to point above)!
We are constantly connected. People bring their phones with them on holiday, to bed and to the toilet. We are often expected to always be online and available, but that is not healthy. It’s good to take days off social media, whether you’re attending a concert, going out with friends or going camping. Leave your phone in your pocket and be in the moment.
Pictures are great as a way of looking back on things, but if all you can remember is how you could not get a good picture because this person’s hand was in the way, then that picture will be useless. Take a couple of pictures here and there but open your eyes, listen to the sounds around you and enjoy the moment. Trust me, that moment will be over before you know it. So to make it more important, disconnect yourself from your phone and social media – don’t worry it will still be there when you get back to it in the morning or in a couple of days. As they say, you only live once, so make the memories count.
Social media is great when used positively. If yours is not bringing you happiness, change a few things around and I promise it will work wonders! I hope you enjoyed this short and sweet post. Let me know in the comments below what you think of social media and if you have any tips. Come follow me on Instagram and share your thoughts through a comment or a DM. If you’ve read this far, thank you so much. I hope you have a great week and I will see you next Sunday!