There’s no arguing that social media is changing the way we socialize, make friends, do business, and more. But the trolls will always still come out to play.
Negative experiences on social media can be discouraging, but at its heart, social media is just another medium for sharing the content we love. Users are just now discovering the best practices for social media use, and how to navigate platforms like Twitter and Instagram in ways that are safe, healthy and ethical. Here’s a few tips to get you started.
Quit the comparison game
This one’s a biggie, and although it doesn’t only apply to the world of social media, Instagram in particular makes it all too easy to peek over the fence into the neighbour’s yard. It never hurts to check out what others are doing via social media, but there’s a big distinction between admiration and resentment. The next time you come across a model who always seems to be on a yacht in the Caribbean or a blogger with a shoe closet the size of your apartment, remember that everything you see on Instagram isn’t reality—it’s a highlight reel curated to look beautiful, and you can never know how someone feels inside by their Instagram pictures.
In the digital age, inspiration is everywhere. One of the most constructive ways you can use apps like Pinterest or Instagram is to gather inspiration for creative projects you’re working on, or find new ideas for DIYs, recipes, or even outfit ideas. The online world is basically one massive, endless vision board, so you should have no excuse to be bored or uninspired ever again. Find and follow accounts you love for fashion, interior design, or photography inspiration, and instead of feeling envious of what other people have created, use their work as motivation to get more creative in your own life.
Speak up about causes or issues you believe in
Social media has supercharged the way we communicate; information spreads at supersonic speeds, and news catches on like wildfire. Depending on the information you share on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, this can either be a blessing or a curse. Whether you’re passionate about body positivity, animal welfare, or working towards a cure for cancer, social media is one of the best ways to create buzz around an important issue and get the conversation started. You could start a blog about living an eco-friendly lifestyle, post vegan recipes to Instagram, or become a political Twitter star—the world is your oyster, and social media is your personal megaphone.
Don’t be a troll
This one is a given, but you’d be shocked at how many people think they have a free pass to be rude or downright mean when they’re behind a screen. The online world is full of content about touchy topics like nutrition and politics, and social media creates the perfect storm for comment wars. No matter how triggered you feel by someone else’s viewpoint or opinion, resist the urge to troll. If you must, let them know you disagree, but never lower yourself to name-calling or hate speech. The same goes for trolls who visit your page: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
Set clear boundaries
One of the major downsides of social media is that it can be totally addicting. Watch yourself during the day to see how many times you reach for your phone while you’re working or reading. You might be surprised to find yourself more attached to social media than you thought—but don’t feel like you need to chuck your phone in a river and live off-grid just yet (unless you want to!). Just make an extra effort to set clear boundaries around social media usage like unplugging an hour after you wake up and an hour before you go to sleep. That way, you’ll have time to decompress and check in with yourself without being inundated by news and information 24/7.