It’s almost second nature to have some sort of an online presence. For some, that means keeping up with relatives and friends from a distance. For others, that could be that they are on it for a past time. Others use it for work or advertising. Truth is, most of us can easily fall into the trap of making social media more than it was ever supposed to be.
Social Media as Supplement for Real Life
For whatever reasons that we joined the online space, it probably started out small for us. Uploading a profile picture and a quick bio. Maybe we posted vacation pictures or started a blog to keep everyone up to date with their missions trip. But quickly, you may have noticed that you soon started putting more and more time and thought into what you were posting online.
Often times, as I have seen it constantly, social media use transforms into a consuming venture. At that, it becomes one with limited dividends. Which is where a lot of us find ourselves frustrated and not certain as to why.
Social Media – The Candle Stick that Became the Main Light Source
How many of us find ourselves scrolling to the bottom of the Facebook universe, searching for something insightful, entertaining, emotionally engaging and come up empty? I mean every day, if we aren’t careful, we fall into this cycle where we hope to find something that is revolutionary.
I believe that there is content out there that can be that, but we rely so much on chance when we look for it on Facebook or Insta. We become addicted to the hope of finding something that we can pass our time with. And it’s a hope that we can[t count on. All too often we scroll down and down, just to find the same video from yesterday.
Redeeming the Blackhole
The problem with social media for many 45 and under, is that their social media use is unintentional. They have to plan or purpose using it. It’s just a lottery every time they open the app. Even the notifications it gives us “You have 4 new likes on your Post”. It seems exciting, but really, it isn’t.
But there is a way to redeem this useless cycle.
Unplug for a Bit
I think you’ll find yourself very anxious for a while if you disconnect from social media. It’ll be just like going through a withdraw or detox for a few days. If you keep it for a couple weeks you’ll be less stressed, more focused, and probably make new or better friendships.
Unplugging for a bit is helpful because it disconnects you from unhealthy uses and habits you have with social media. Many of us are very use to going to social media as a security blanket. We hold it close to feel good about ourselves. We use it to broadcast our most mundane thoughts; all in the name of self-expression. If you disconnect, it will be a night a day difference for you and you can see just how unhealthy some of your go-to habits are.
Make a Plan
How can you best contribute to people’s lives using social media? This looks different for everybody. Not everyone is going to be a thought leader, writing articles and quick posts with vast amounts of knowledge or wisdom. If everyone did that, it would be annoying. But there are a 100 ways to properly use social media. You can share helpful things you find. Having an online presence make it easy for you to connect with others, so you can be a good source of encouragement to any of your friends. Posting a memory about them, sending them a verse or study that could be helpful, thanking them publicly, the list can really go on and on.
The point of this is to not just decide to be positive about your use of social media. It’s about being specific with how you can best leverage it for the good of others. If you don’t have a clear-cut picture of what this can be like, you’ll fall back into old habits of using it for entertainment and lottery playing for something engaging. You can’t let yourself fall into that.
Set up Safeguards
The last thing that you want to have happen to you is falling into pointless wandering online. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent looking things up that was really me just aimlessly finding my way to weird corners of the internet.
Guard Your Time
This is actually the area that will help you the most. If you watch how much time you are spending on social media sites and outlets, you can potentially save yourself lots of wasted moments. You should limit your consecutive minutes online at a given time. If you to a binge at the beginning and end of your day and spend 30 minutes scrolling, that probably isn’t helpful (or fun). Give yourself 5 minutes a few times a day. Make it quick and remember to stay with your purpose.
Another way to guard your time is to make sure that you aren’t on your phone or laptop at determinantal times. For many people, this is when you wake up, on a lunch break, right before bed, and in the middle of conversations or being with actual people.
Know Your Other Priorities
Chances are, if you took a careful audit of your life, social media would rank way down on the list. If you know all of your priorities and know what is possible with your time you can have a better chance at a content life. For so many people, social media robs of precious time. That’s not okay.
Social Media is a simple beast. It just promises more than it can actually bring about. When we believe its promises we have the chance to get abused by the tool instead of using it for the betterment of our lives.