5 Ways To Put the Social Back In Social Media
Remember the good old days (a la 2009) when social media was fun?
Think back to a time before all talk turned to fake news, algorithm hacks and carefully curated influencer feeds. Cut through the clutter of all that content you just don’t care about and take a moment to get back to basics. Remember the sociology behind social media, and why this whole thing started — as a way to allow people to more easily keep in touch with those who matter. Perhaps we’re experiencing a dark phase of social with hyper-relevant targeting, and algorithms adjusted for maximum monetization changing our relationship with social media. Perhaps we’ve veered so far from the original intention of social media that we’ve lost our way.
But let’s remember why we all came here in the first place. We all want to cultivate and nurture our relationships, and rarely have as much time as we’d ideally like to dedicate to them. From personal relationships to professional ones, our social media feeds can be about so much more than inducing FOMO or serving up scary news articles. When used right, they can actually help us create and maintain some of the most important relationships we’ll ever have. With that, here are five ways we can pause and remember that social media can help us maintain relationships, cultivate new ones, and even make us feel good about ourselves:
Double tap on old friends: The best thing about social media is how easily it allows you to keep in touch. No question that it’s not the same as meeting in person or talking on the phone, but you know what, you’re never going to call your best friend from high school because she has three kids and you have a job and five hours of “The Bachelor” to catch up on tonight. It’s so easy to give a double tap or comment on something even if you haven’t spoken to someone in years. So let’s just accept what it is and use these lighthearted interactions as a way to avoid losing touch with people we care about. While it’s certainly no replacement for a good old fashioned phone call, a like or comment is really easy, and it makes people smile to know you’re paying attention to what they’re putting out into the world.
Give love to your LinkedIn: No matter where you are in your career, or where you want to go, just update your LinkedIn. Brag about yourself. Stop getting caught up on how icky it feels. See, LinkedIn is not just for job hunting. I was recently trying to pitch a project and the potential client asked to see the LinkedIn profiles of everyone working on it. LinkedIn is the first stop for people when you start a new job or interview. So make sure it represents you accurately and covers all your experience and accomplishments. Also, enjoy it! While updating your work experience may feel like a chore at the onset, the exercise of going through all your prior jobs, listing out your accomplishments, linking to old articles you’ve written — essentially writing an entire brag sheet about your career can have excellent psychological benefits.
Grab a date: Let’s be honest – if you’re single, you need to have a social media presence. Especially given the fact that dating app algorithms pull in your Facebook and Instagram photos. And that’s just step one. Once you get to talking and actually consider meeting in person, you want to get a sense of what you’re getting into. And so do they. So make sure your Instagram page is what you want it to look like to a potential date. Make sure you show your personality, that you have other friends, that you’re actually single, and you’re not a robot. Pro tip: make sure you have more than 18 photos so they have something to scroll through. Anything less could give off a negative impression – they’ll wonder what you might be trying to hide.
Educate yourself: Say you want to learn a new skill, get a new job or educate yourself on a new topic. Thanks to articles, tutorials, YouTube “how-to” videos and more, there are all kinds of interesting ways to educate yourself without a formal curriculum (or tuition). Set your Google alerts to notify you daily on relevant topics and commit to reading one article per day. Start following people on Twitter who talk about your topic of interest and see what they have to say. If you’re feeling brave, retweet them or respond to them. Ask them questions. Start a conversation. At some point, you’ll feel comfortable enough to bring that conversation offline and all of a sudden you’ll realize just how well-informed you’ve become.
Pay it forward: I won’t get into slacktivism or politics here, but when something happens in the world and really, really bothers you, social media makes it so easy to take action and do a little good for the world. So even if you aren’t picketing, protesting and calling your reps (although yes, there’s an app for that), you can play around on Donors Choose and pick a cause to get behind. Become an investor by signing up for monthly giving – the smallest amount helps, and if you get a monthly email about a donation you made, you’re more likely to read it since you’re literally invested in the cause. And even though you should definitely use social media to brag about that donation you just made to encourage others to follow suit, it’s not all about the money. Being emotionally connected to a cause you care about creates a sense of self worth. Whether your motivation is to find emotional fulfillment or to direct your anger towards a worthy cause, taking action to benefit others is always a good idea. Voila, you’re a philanthropist.
So, weary social media users – to get back in the game does not mean you must dive back into anxiety-inducing newsfeeds, nor need you emulate your 15-year-old cousin who is snapchatting every five seconds of her life. It simply means returning to basics, and remembering what this whole thing was intended for – helping you create and nurture your connections, essentially making your world more social.
Article written by: Amy Schoenberger0