There’s no doubt our relationship with social media is complicated. Sure, on the one hand, we love staying connected to our friends and the people we follow on Twitter and Instagram and Tiktok — and at the same time, there are times when we’re staring at the phone in our hand and secretly wishing we could toss the damned thing into the garbage can and enjoy life without the glowing screen.
How many times have you picked up the phone, intending to just spend a few minutes on it, and somehow Time has rocketed past and it’s two hours later? When that happens, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably feeling bad about yourself and about this disgusting social media habit you’ve developed.
Is there some way that we can enjoy social media without hating it or hating ourselves for being overwhelmed by it? Yes.
The first step in breaking free of the Social Media Web is to clear out some of the “dead weight” apps. Do you really all those apps on your phone? Probably not. Here’s a helpful hint — you don’t need your phone to access your social media accounts. You can reach them through your computer, right? So why not just keep the apps on your phone that you’re going to definitely want to check out during the day and your other accounts you can look at when you’re at the keyboard.
Stop being so “likable”
That’s a cute picture of a puppy. Let’s just click on “like” and move on, right? Wrong.
Take a minute to comment. Engage the person whose post you’re liking. When you do that, two things happen. The first is that you’re actually consciously taking action with the person that you’re following or who is following you. There’s an actual benefit to doing that — when you comment on something you like, you get a quick hit of dopamine from your brain and that gives your mental health a quick hit.
The second thing that happens is the person that you’re commenting on gets to see that what they’ve posted has actually made enough of an impact on you to warrant a comment — and that makes them feel good.
Sometimes, that leads to them commenting back to your comment and before you know it, instead of just following someone’s social media account, you’re connecting with them on a level that is so much stronger and mentally healthy.
Do you really need to be notified every time someone posts something on social media? Probably not. And yet, when we’ve got notifications on and we hear that special sound, we grab our phones to see just what’s going on out there. It’s time for us to stop acting like Pavlov’s salivating dogs and take back control over our actions.
We are better than our phones, you know. We should be in control of our phones and not the other way around. Turn off notifications and only look at the apps when you’ve got the time to do so. That way, when you’re enjoying time with friends or family, you don’t automatically reach for the phone when you get a notification.
No, I’m not suggesting that you only send snail mail letters and make actual phone calls instead of sending quick texts. What you can do is simply take the time to put your phone away and walk away from social media for short periods of time. When you’re with friends, focus on just enjoying yourself and not looking for opportunities to post pictures to make others jealous or to show the world how much fun you’re looking like you’re having.
Throw away the dead wood
We’ve all got accounts we follow that make us wish we had a different life. The thing is — we don’t. This is the life we’ve got. Instead of wasting our lives looking at someone else’s life and wishing that was us, let’s spend time away from the social media accounts and working to make our lives better. We’ll feel better about ourselves at the end of the day — and, who knows? Doing that might give us the kind of life that others will wish they had.
This is your life, right? Spend more time enjoying the life you’ve got and less time watching the lives of others.