Social media has evolved to play such a large role in our daily life. It allows us to keep in touch with friends and family all over the country (or the world). We can see breaking news up-to-the-minute at the same time as a puppy learning to trust fall.
This is great and all, but social media also has a dark side.
“The more you get connected to Facebook, the stronger you feel that the items you post — the pictures, for example — are part of your identity and the more likely you are going to view these as your virtual possessions” via
How many times have you gone back to your newly uploaded profile picture to see how many likes you got and, more specifically, who thought your picture was worthy of their like? How often do you go back and edit a status to “find your funny”? We thrive on the number of likes our posts receive. When you don’t get as many as you expected, do you feel let down, disappointed, like you don’t even matter? Well.
Some people prefer to just scroll as opposed to commenting. Others may feel that they aren’t close enough with you to justify interacting (more on this later). It’s not you. Don’t use your average number of likes as an average of how much people, well, like you. I know I read into every little thing way more than I should, but we can’t forget that so much gets lost in translation.
This should go without saying, but keep all personal drama and arguments offline. Each party involved will be less likely to listen to what the others have to say when they know there’s a hidden audience watching how it all goes down.
If you back down from an argument or find your facts contradicting each other online, it’s so easy to take it as a blow to your self-confidence. When you handle matters privately, you don’t feel like your pride is at stake.
Another way to help cut down on virtual misunderstandings is to actually know the people you add online. Sounds simple, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the profiles of acquaintances or those you see randomly in passing. I’ve definitely had my share of “adding sprees,” but it’s just as quick to go on “removing sprees” as well 😉 .
The Friend List
I first got Facebook in 7th grade and for the first few years I would add anyone I saw that was in my class. It didn’t matter that I only ever said two words to them during our time together. It just mattered that my profile numbers were going up.
But seeing your number of Facebook friends or Instagram followers increase absolutely does not mean those people will be there for you like a friend would. I see some of my friends with thousands of followers and there’s literally no way they really know all of those people.
There is most certainly a difference between an online follower and a close friend.
In the past few months, I’ve been going on sporadic friend-list overhauls. I sit down, pull up my list, and unfriend anyone who a) I no longer keep in contact with, b) I don’t remember where we met, and c) I don’t have in my life anymore.
My system is pretty simple. If I would feel weird about liking someone’s profile picture, family album, or general status updates, I unfriend them.
I’ve had some people who I talked to in 6th grade and now I’m seeing pictures of their new baby or new school and I just don’t connect with them anymore. The point of social media is to interact with people you care about, so if I don’t feel comfortable interacting with you online, I don’t need you in my online life at all.
Another method I’ve seen is to use Facebook’s birthday notification system to your advantage. Whenever you see it’s a Facebook friend’s birthday, evaluate your friendship using what I mentioned above. Additionally, if you wouldn’t write “happy birthday” on their wall or send them a text telling them to have a great day, unfriend them. If telling someone “happy birthday” is weird, you aren’t friends. Don’t pretend to be.
I understand that what I’ve said so far may seem harsh at first, but these are the people that are affecting your self-worth and shaking up your confidence. We’re constantly exposed to perfectly filtered selfies or #squadgoals or “feeling accomplished” status updates and we compare them to how our life is going in that moment.
I’m not saying sharing the big things in your life is wrong; that’s basically the point of social media. The problem lies in your perception of this information. If you’re having a rough day and you log on only to see six posts in a row about how great everyone’s life is, you log off feeling so much worse. Make it a point to avoid social media altogether when you’re feeling down. Make it a point to…
Block the negative.
If you notice some of your friends are regularly posting things that really bring your mood down, consider hiding them from your timeline. You stay friends with them and can go visit their profile to see what they’ve been up to, but you don’t have to scroll past dozens of negative or intense quotes/memes/articles/etc every day. If it doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself, it’s simply annoying, so spare yourself any future unnecessary emotion and solve the problem right away 😉
*note- If you think someone needs serious help, don’t ignore it. Reach out to them and be there to listen, regardless of how distant you think you are!
“And on the days when you peer into the screen of your laptop and all you see are other people’s peak experiences that highlight your lack in that moment, remember that life isn’t about the story you tell about yourself on the Internet. It’s about a million more beautiful and complex things than that, like love and faith and really listening. It’s about using what you’ve been given to craft a life of gratitude and passion and grace. Remember that the very best things in life can’t be captured in status updates.” – Shauna Niequist
We put so much of ourselves on the Internet these days, but we often don’t notice how much the Internet puts in us. Take charge of your online presence, stay confident, and connect with those that truly matter to you <3
~How do you make sure social media doesn’t consume you?