“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller
When Black Mirror’s “Nosedive” aired on Netflix in 2016, I became acutely aware of social media’s potentially negative impact. The episode portrays a world where social platforms’ self-curation and validation-seeking are the backbones of society. In this world, humans rate each other from one to five stars based on various interactions.
In 2019, Japan launched an app called “Line” that tracks what they call “social credit,” through a peer ranking system. I read this news, checked my Lyft and Uber scores to make sure I was still likable enough to catch a ride and got a chill. Hello, flashback to “Nosedive,” and the character who couldn’t rent a certain apartment building without the landlord seeing she had at least a 4.5-star rating.
While I could easily spiral into a dozen conspiracies related to “social credit” and the Metaverse, I will focus on what we can control. The difference between the world we live in today and the “Nosedive” world is: how much power we give social media, i.e. others’ opinions and constant concern with how we present ourselves online.
As a social media strategist, it’s vital to stay aware of how I’m viewing social platforms when accessing them each day. As platforms become more work-focused for me, they feel more like marketing avenues and less like actual spaces to connect with friends. Spending extended time online leads to craving more human interaction and real connection.
I’m officially one year into this journey as a full-time digital marketer/business owner, and I’ve come up with some key practices to cultivate mental and spiritual health, keeping social platforms from becoming all-consuming.
Put the Camera Down, Build Memories
My favorite memories typically end with someone saying, “Oh man, we didn’t get any pictures.” Those moments when you’re having such a good time with family and friends that you forget to take that perfect Instagram photo…those are the best moments!
“Imagine: If you weren’t all about getting that snapshot for social media, might you have spent that time engaging with a local, reading the local newspaper in a coffee shop, or soaking up nature with your own eyes,” says Perri Blumberg in a recent Southern Living travel article.
Shifting your focus away from the camera keeps you more engaged with the present moment, and minimizes your focus on the perfect snapshot to present yourself perfectly to some perfect strangers.
Stop Scrolling When You’re Bored
I quickly found myself in the practice of scrolling through social media feeds in bed at night. This was detrimental to my sleep and well-being. Leaving the phone across the room in the evening, and across the bedroom while I sleep, has been a game-changer. Also, it’s imperative that I catch myself when I’m aimlessly scrolling instead of being productive or engaging with the world around me.
God made our brains for a greater purpose than mindless scrolling! I encourage you to set times to scroll and explore. Keep your relaxed/downtime sacred and separated from social media use.
Strategically Choose Who to Follow and Connect With
Because I receive random messages from social media trolls on business accounts, I’ve become more selective about who I follow.
Would you want to get coffee with this person and listen to them talk for hours on end? If the answer is no, why let them into your daily newsfeed?
One of the most troubling memes I’ve seen this year said, “A wedding or engagement is really just a chance to get a lot of Instagram likes.” *Gasp.* How is this concept relevant enough to be made into a joke/meme?!
Your new marriage, the birth of a child, birthday party, or time catching up with friends, is worth more than a lot of likes!!! Get off your phone and prioritize the real world, both the tangible and intangible moments.
Millennials, Gen Zers and Boomers alike: 1. Get real by sharing real life and not just perfect moments online. And 2. Get real by making the moment you’re in more important than the Instagram post you’ll make about it later. Peep my favorite *in the moment* pics from 2021 in the photos above!
Starting 2022 feels like a blur. Isn’t it still 2020?! Do you have any New Years Resolutions? Perhaps even related to your use of social media? We’d love to hear from you on Facebook or the blog!
Cheers to a great year of living in the moment and building real relationships, my friends!
Until next time.
~ Wordy Girl