Inside: Do you ever find yourself scrolling online and wondering where the time has gone? Read on for ways to be more intentional with social media.
Some people see social media as a wonderful place where people can connect and converse. And it can be. However, others see it as a place where people are the worst version of themselves and they are left feeling bad after spending time online. And that can happen too.
Your experience with social media is what you make of it. It can be used for good or it can be a place that becomes unhealthy.
To use social media well, you need to be intentional. It takes thought and effort to be purposeful in how you spend your time online.
Today I wanted to talk about some of the things people should stop doing on social media as well as ways to be more intentional with your social media use.
Things to Stop Doing on Social Media
These are not things that everyone does online, however, once I wasn’t just a social media user, but also a creator I saw that these things happen far more than they should.
There are a lot of fake profiles on social media. I know this based on the amount of them that I block from my page on a daily basis. If strangers are commenting on your comments asking you to send a friend request, don’t do it.
There are also many fake pages that have been created in an attempt to scam people as well. Look out for pages that look a lot like the ones you follow but that change the wording slightly and then suddenly offer contests with prizes to the followers. They are trying to impersonate people as well as steal your information.
Hackers are another one to be aware of. We will get into some ways to avoid them in number one of how to be more intentional with social media.
I tell you about this not because I think it’s likely that the people reading this are scammers, but because it’s important to be very aware of what’s out there in order to avoid it, but hey if you are a scammer reading this, then stop it.
Arguing on the internet has ramped up significantly in recent years and I get it. People are at home and feel isolated so they go to social media to share their thoughts and opinions.
Unfortunately, the way those feelings are expressed is often unkind and unhelpful. Rarely does anyone get into an argument online with an open mind and a willingness to see another’s perspective.
By the time it’s reached argument status, both parties get heated and it quickly escalates into a personal attack. Hiding behind a computer screen enables people to say all kinds of things they may not say to a person in front of them.
While having debates and respectful disagreements is perfectly acceptable, that’s sadly a rare occurrence. Most people who argue on the internet are only interested in proving that they are right.
Consider how many times your mind has been changed due to arguing with someone on social media. If your answer is none, don’t waste your time and energy arguing with strangers (or friends) on the internet. It’s not productive.
Similar in some ways to arguing is criticizing. I’ve seen this both as a social media user and a page owner.
People are quick to tear down other people and pick apart their words or even their appearance. This doesn’t do anyone any good.
Not every comment, quote, statement, or blog post on the internet is meant to (or even could) apply to everyone. There is no way to make generalizations that fit every person or circumstance.
Most page owners work hard to create content that is helpful, but of course, no one is perfect. If you really want to offer constructive feedback, great. Do so politely. If someone makes a mistake, point it out privately rather than publicly shaming them.
Unless something is terribly egregious, just move on. Social media would be a better place if more people applied the saying, ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’
It’s possible to disagree with someone, while still being polite and respectful. But it’s also possible to disagree without needing to say anything at all. Keep in mind that words and tone can easily be misinterpreted. Decide if commenting is really worth your time or if it will benefit anyone.
It’s always easier to see the errors in others than ourselves. Let’s decide to stop being critical and instead have constructive conversations. It would make social media a much more enjoyable place!
5 Ways to Be More Intentional with Social Media
Ok, so we’ve gotten some of the things to stop doing out of the way. Here are five ways to be more intentional with social media to help make it a more positive experience in your life.
1. Check Your Settings
The first tip for how to be more intentional with social media is to check your privacy settings on each platform you use. If you don’t want the whole internet to see your posts, adjust your settings accordingly.
Also check your security settings. If you haven’t already enabled 2-factor authentication on your profile, do so now. Yes, the extra step can be a pain from time to time, but it’s worth the added layer of security.
There has been a recent wave of hackers taking over Instagram accounts. Setting up the 2-factor authentication makes it more difficult for someone to take over your account and then lock you out of it.
2. Be Cautious
Speaking of hackers, they’ve gotten more advanced in recent years.
Be very cautious about any email you receive from companies claiming you’re being locked out of your account. Do not click on the links in these posts. They’ve gotten better at making their emails appear official, but they’re trying to gain access to your account.
Likewise be careful of people impersonating others online. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Be very wary of people asking for any personal information or strangers trying to friend you. I know to some people this seems obvious, but there are trusting people that scammers prey on, sadly.
3. Consider who you follow
Social media can be a great way to find new communities and to grow and learn in new areas in life. Unfortunately it can also become a place of negativity and/or comparison where you leave feeling worse off than when you started.
Be thoughtful about which friends, groups, profiles, and pages that you follow. That isn’t to say you need to have your feed be filled with only ideas you agree with. Being exposed to a diverse set of viewpoints and opinions is healthy, but if people are spewing negativity and unkindness, you don’t need that in your life. Choose to snooze, unfollow, or unfriend them.
It could also be that there is nothing wrong with what the person or page is posting, but that it’s constantly tempting you to compare yourself and leaving you feeling less than. Comparison is the thief of joy, so be aware of the thoughts and feelings you’re having and adjust your feed as needed.
You get to control a lot of your experience online. Be more intentional with social media by creating a feed that is helpful, encouraging, or bettering your life in some way. What you choose to fill your mind with matters.
4. Set Limits
Have you ever picked up your phone to ‘do something really quick’ and thirty minutes later you’ve forgotten why you picked up the phone in the first place as you’ve fallen down some sort of rabbit hole on social media?
Yeah me neither (ok, yes I definitely have more times than I care to admit). A big part of being more intentional with using social media is creating limits and boundaries with it.
Decide when and where phone usage is and isn’t ok. Protect mealtimes and your relationships by making sure the people in your life know that they are the priority over the phone.
It’s so easy to get in the habit of mindlessly defaulting to your phone, so it requires ongoing intentional effort to form different habits.
5. Choose Kindness
In a time when people are more physically disconnected than ever before, it’s become increasingly important to create healthy spaces online and each of us plays a part in that.
When in doubt, choose kindness. Look for ways to be encouraging to others. A kind thought that you share with a friend (or even a stranger) could make someone’s entire day.
Thank you to those of you who follow my Facebook page and leave encouraging comments. You all are the best and your kind words bring me so much joy. I love and enjoy the communities I get to be a part of online.
Social media is what you make of it. It can be a great place for creating community and learning from each other as long as we’re being intentional with how we use it. Who could you encourage today?
“Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.” ~Dave Willis
How do you plan to be more intentional with social media? Share it in the comments section!
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