Social Media Check-In
We all know it: social media gives us unrealistic expectations, breeds jealousy and comparison, and contributes to the viral spread of FOMO. You can’t deny it. You can’t argue with it. It’s just the truth. But, I believe, there are ways for us to use these apps in a way that doesn’t compete with our emotional health and positive self-talk. I am just as guilty as the next person for falling into the traps of comparison, FOMO, and unrealistic expectations. I’m not immune. Either are you. But, let’s work together to find some ways to use these apps to do the opposite.
How can we dispel expectations? How can we encourage others to not be jealous? How can we decrease the amount of FOMO our generation experiences? I have some ideas I think are worth taking time to read and think about! I’d also love to hear your thoughts! What are your methods for fighting comparison and jealousy when using social media? Read below to see what I do to sidestep the negativity that can come social media use.
Intentionally comment on other posts that make you feel jealous. I know, I know, you never feel this way, but I’ll be honest: I do. We see pictures of other people going on vacation, or our friend getting flowers (or a kiss) from their significant other, or your sister hanging out with your nieces without you (guilty!), or a friend at Disneyland, or a Insta-famous person getting more followers than you. The list can go on and on. We are bombarded with messages of “look at me! look what I accomplished! look what I can do! look where I am vacationing!” I challenge you to purposefully compliment and congratulate someone when you start to feel jealous. I encourage you to catch your thoughts and remember that social media is a curated picture of real life. Let’s start lifting each other up when we have accomplishments and exciting announcements! When someone else succeeds, it is NOT a threat to you! That gives you the freedom to celebrate them fully and joyfully!
Be transparent with your social media. Sometimes I give a behind the scenes photo of my workspace, or I will confess that I haven’t showered or brushed my teeth. You can tell your audience that you had to stand on a chair in the middle of a coffee shop in order to get the perfect photo. People are looking for connection, and chances are, they have done a lot of the same things as you. They have probably made a fool of themselves at a coffee shop by standing on a chair. They might have a messy room or unbrushed hair. Being able to resonate with your audience and create a connection with not only build a tribe of engaged followers, but it will also create a space for authentic use of social media.
Set alarms for how long you can spend on social media. Sometimes I will set a 15 minute timer and once it goes off, my social media time is done! It’s simple and effective!
Stay off the explore page. I know, this is a little weird. But I have noticed that when I get sucked into the traps of Instagram, it usually began on the explore page. I click on one photo, to another page, to another page, and before I know it, I don’t even know where I am anymore. My sister and I have chosen to keep each other accountable for this. She will text me and remind to stay off of explore!
And that brings me to my next point: find an accountability partner! Ask someone to keep you accountable. Ask her to check in with you once in a while and ask how your mindset is towards social media. I have a couple people who do this for me, and it’s incredibly helpful! It reminds me that there is life outside of social media and encourages me to be more present with what off the screen. Ask someone you trust, who has your best in mind, and can speak the truth in love.
Set a day of the week (or month) as a cell-free day! Turn off notifications, wifi, delete social media apps, or turn off your phone! It could be incredibly freeing for you. Sometimes, I will intentionally leave my phone at home when we go somewhere. I find that if my phone isn’t in sight, I don’t really think about it. If it’s sitting next to me, it is habitual to check on it. Put it away and see if it changes things for you!
I hope you find this friendly “check-in” to be helpful for you and your social media use! It is so important to set your phone down and LIVE your life. There is so much beyond the screen, friend!