Lately, there has been a lot of news around the negative and debilitating effects that social media can have on users. Especially young people. As someone who helps people use these tools, I find this terribly upsetting. I hate the idea that the tools I am promoting to grow their businesses, could, in fact, harm them as well.
In this post, I will share a healthier approach to social media use.
While you may use some of your profiles for business the truth is, you are probably scrolling mindlessly through lots of streams that have nothing to do with work or career advancement – and that is where the damage is usually done. Here, we will look at some ways to make those non-work related visits more enjoyable, less stressful and hopefully a bit more relaxing!
We are all addicted
Most of us cannot get through the day, many, not even through an hour, without checking our social feeds. Studies have shown that there are all sorts of physical and phycological rewards we now associate with these visits.
This insight is from the Addiction Center:
“The phenomena of social media addiction can be largely attributed to the dopamine-inducing social environments that social networking sites provide. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram produce the same neural circuitry that is caused by gambling and recreational drugs to keep consumers using their products as much as possible. Studies have shown that the constant stream of retweets, likes, and shares from these sites cause the brain’s reward area to trigger the same kind of chemical reaction seen with drugs like Cocaine. In fact, neuroscientists have compared social media interaction to a syringe of dopamine being injected straight into the system.”
I am not even pretending that I can address or stop this addictive behavior in users. What I am hoping is that I can make some suggestions that may make those visits a little healthier by including more positive content. There are many, many accounts out there that are upbeat and life affirming. Let’s get your stream filled with more of THOSE.
Control what you can
Given the algorithms used, you do NOT have full control of what you see in your news feed on any given platform. But you do still have some control – make sure you exercise it!
Keep in mind that what you click on, like, comment on and share, will drive what you are later ‘fed’ (the content which will automatically show up in your feed). But no matter which platform you are on, you can always CHOOSE what you see by either clicking on a profile (to see more of that person or group’s content) and/or by SEARCHING for someone or a topic of interest.
Yes, part of the appeal of social media is the mindless scrolling – watching or reading what they send you. But I suggest that you take a few minutes to consciously curate who you are following and what you WANT to see more of rather than just watching what they choose to push to you.
Break the cycle of endless scrolling by actively CHOOSING the profiles you wish to visit. By taking control of these choices, you have a better chance of having a more positive experience.
Who You Follow + Who Follows You = Your Experience on Social Media
Back in 2011, I wrote a post Who You Follow + Who Follows You = Your Experience on Social Media – check it out, it still holds true.
If you follow people who are spending all their time yelling at you to buy their stuff or showing you their (super re-touched, staged and artificially crafted) ‘body’, ‘life’ or ‘family’, it is no wonder you log off feeling deflated or ‘less than’. There are acres of research showing that this is both deliberate and an effective way to get you to feel you need to buy what they are selling.
Step off that treadmill of mindless scrolling.
YOU get to decide how you spend your time
If you aren’t looking forward to spending time in your stream, and/or your aren’t finding anything worth liking and sharing, take action – find new accounts to follow.
If you are finding too much drama, violence, misinformation or outright lies, unfollow those sources.
If you are feeling worse when you get off, than you did when you logged in, you need to double down on adding some GOOD to your stream! See below for some suggestions.
Not the Usual Suspects
This post’s focus is on taking a healthier approach to social media so I will not include the usual suspects – the heavy hitters and industry influencers. The list below comprises accounts that will hopefully help brighten your day and lighten your mood. Some accounts may expand your mind, soothe your soul and/or educate you. Most will bring light and beauty to your stream. Not the artificial kind, designed to beat you down, but content that will resonate and lift you.
What to do
First, unfollow, disconnect and/or delete any connections or sources that are creating negativity. If you don’t want to make the time to do this all in one sitting, just get into the habit of unfollowing accounts as you see anything negative.
Then, check out some of my suggestions below or just go to your platform of choice and search on a term or hashtag of interest. Build up a stream of POSITIVE, life affirming and/or just plain fun accounts.
I actually recommend against following celebrities and influencers as they have agendas that are probably NOT aligned with your health and welfare. If you are looking to relax, unwind, get inspired or just laugh, look for people and groups who provide this – there are zillions of them out there, across most platforms. Search them out.
A list to get you started
Here is a list of accounts, across platforms, that I find positive. Check them out and see if they resonate with you.
And this is true for the other platforms as well, please add any that you enjoy and/or leave you feeling better and more positive!
Disclaimer: I have no control over the content that these accounts post and cannot promise that it will only be positive or that they will never include promotions of any kind. I have included them because up til now, they have been reliably positive. If for any reason you find them objectionable, please just don’t follow them.
I tried to include a variety but these are by no means a definitive list – I hope that all of you will contribute to it and that it will become a good resource for those looking to add a little light and positive energy to their days!
When you need a pick me up:
For a laugh or smile:
Inspiring words, wisdom + stories:
I tried to time this info so it arrives during a week that is a bit slower and hopefully allows you some time to check out these accounts, clean up your news streams and brighten your days!
Please let me know, in the comments below, which accounts you would like to add and check back for new additions by others.
Thank you and stay well!