Whether you like it or not, social media plays a huge role in our everyday lives - and that's not changing anytime soon.
Just think about how we've relied on social media in the past few months specifically. From COVID-19 to #BlackLivesMatter, the world has taken to social media to share, connect, influence, sweat, educate, grieve, shop, express, evolve, and so much more. Social media isn't so little anymore.
Whether you're building up an online presence or just use social media to stay updated with family and friends, these apps are tools that come with some responsibility. Like everything else in life, we have to be mindful of our behaviors, our thoughts, and our impact when it comes to how we use social media.
There are no rules when it comes to how you bring the world of social media into your life. The goal here isn't to claim what is right or wrong, but instead, to figure out how we each can enjoy social media with intention.
Keep It Real: When we say "keep it real," we simply mean this: be yourself. Social media has become one huge "highlight" real filled with staged pictures and Photoshop. It's easy to feel pressured to post picture-perfect content and only share on SM when things are going great. We're not saying to never use filters or to go disclose your entire personal life online. Instead, be open to showing up on social media just as you are. Marilyn Monroe said it best: "Imperfection is beauty."
Use Your Voice: Online activism is becoming more and more of a thing, and it's time to talk about it. It's easy to think "I'm not an influencer" or "I don't have any followers" - it's easy to think your voice doesn't have an impact. But that's the same mindset as saying there's no impact if you pick up one piece of trash while out on a walk. It ALL counts. If you believe in something and want to share a post around it on social media, go for it. Never underestimate the impact it might have. Even if it causes one person to think twice, you've made a difference.
Know Your Standards: Remember, everything that goes online, stays online. Once you upload something or comment on someone else's post, you lose control as to how far that content might go. Consider social media to behave like receipts - everything you do on these platforms has a track record. And you have to be okay with pictures, captions, or comments potentially resurfacing down the line. As long as you're cool with what you share on social media, more power to you!
Set Boundaries: This isn't a one-size-fits-all model, but the reality is, we need to set some boundaries when it comes to how we use social media. For some, this might be an honest conversation with yourself about how much time you're spending scrolling everyday. For others, it might more of a reflection on privacy and how you want to teach your kids what social media is all about. The important thing is to realize these apps were built to keep us hooked! We have to create some limitations and remember to live life mindfully offline rather than mindlessly online.
Be Mindful: Keep perspective and approach social media with mindfulness: they're just apps at the end of the day. Yes, social media has become a major form of communication in modern times. But it could all be gone tomorrow. While that might not happen, we must realize we have the power to delete every social media app off of our phones right now if we wanted to. If you choose to keep them around, remember that using social media with intention requires us to be mindful. That doesn't mean hours of scrolling, or prioritizing content over happiness. It means it'll be a constant practice of keeping things in balance.