If you want someone to convince you to stop using social media, I’m not your daughter. I won’t tell you to delete Instagram, limit your use of TikTok with a timer, or condemn society for making it such a big part of our lives. While there is nothing wrong with these approaches and each has its own benefits, today I am sharing a a different approach. Social media is already an integral part of our lives, and I’m not one to waste my energy trying to swim upstream. The only way forward is to work with that maximizing rewards and minimizing risk.
How can we make this happen? Social media positivity. I share how to boost the feel-good effects of social media (they exist!) and give you tips to help you feel more relatedempowered and inspired when using it.
Image selected by michelle nash.
What is positivity on social media?
If you wander away from this article after learning one thing, I want it to be this: Using Social Media in a passive way is a key contributor to feelings of depression and loneliness we often associate with our feeds. It makes sense logically, but it’s also backed up by science. When we prowl, when we scroll for hours without having a single conversation or interaction, we end up feeling emptier than when we started.
Social media is meant to be social.
Humans are wired for connection—we are social animals, after all. When we use social media to connect on a deeper level, we feel less alone and it’s actually supports our mental health. Remember: How we use social media influences the emotions we feel when scrolling.
Don’t be a voyeur
A few years ago, I listened to an interview between psychologist and author, Guy Winch, and Esther Perel, a leading psychotherapist. Their conversation forever changed my social media habits. This was one of my main takeaways:
Dude: There’s a lot of research on what social media creates loneliness, and it depends on how we use it. In other words, it’s the passivity with which many people use social media. Passivity, which means they only analyze other people’s feeds. They do not comment, post or interact with social media. They just use it in a voyeuristic way.
ester: And why does it produce loneliness?
Dude: Because you don’t really interact, because you don’t get feedback.
Engage, Engage, Engage.
If I follow you on social media, know that you will eventually hear from me. It doesn’t matter if we only met once, if you have hundreds of thousands of followers or if we haven’t spoken in years. I can’t consume without committing, especially after hearing the words above. This is one of the reasons Diane Curry and i have a joke inside and how i got my own personal book recommendation from Holiday Ryan. Trust it from someone who knows: by constantly communicating and engaging with other people’s content (in a kind way that respects boundaries), your scrolling sessions will be transformed for the better.
Show the real you
There is a quote that I like Arlan Hamiltonauthor of It’s timeit always reminds me how important it is to appear both online and in real life as my true, authentic self: “Be who you are so people looking for you can find you.”
We’ll never be able to capture our “real lives” on social media, but I don’t know if that would be healthy either. There are things that are too private, too personal to share. And anyway, most of us seek out social media to be energized or inspired, not brought down by other people’s problems. But there are simple ways to pull back the curtain and show some #realreality.
Posting a photo of your messy kitchen right after posting a photo of a gorgeous meal is different. These little bits of reality don’t seem like much, but they communicate that there’s a LOT more going on behind the scenes than you don’t see.
Limit social media around your loved ones
I am so guilty of this. I’m dripping with shame because I admit that I often find myself scrolling through social media right next to my husband in a zombie state without realizing it. Time flies by and I feel so empty, lonely and even a little depressed. Sound familiar? Mental health researchers call it phubbing and shared that when we use social media with our friends and family, it promotes feelings of loneliness and depression.
Spread social media positivity
A genuine, specific, and heartfelt compliment can change someone’s day or week, or even change the way they view themselves. Remember: your words are powerful.
What I promised myself a long time ago was that if I see something beautiful, I Won’t do hold my tongue.
Whatever you call the opposite of a social media troll (a social media fairy?), that’s what I aim to be. An accessible way to do this in your own life (and one of my favorite ways to spread social media positivity) is to leave aggressive reviews (it’s a thing!) on Google if there’s a restaurant there. , a store or cafe where I had a particularly wonderful experience.
Use social media to get to know you better
Have you ever saved posts, videos or reels but never referred to them? There is a treasure trove of inspiration to tap into! I love going through my saved folders and making sure things are organized in a way that inspires me. I’m constantly uploading my favorite images to Pinterest or deleting things that don’t excite me anymore. It is so important for us to have clarity about the things we are passionate about.
There are countless amazing accounts to learn on social media. You can get inspired by fun new recipes or dive into the latest discoveries from NASA. Some of my favorite follow-ups are Maria Popova, creator of The misfit, Wired UKand Anything you can face.
Use social media to express yourself
We all have a deep need to be seen and understood, it is a human truth. Amanda Palm Tree defines this beautifully: “There is a difference between wanting to be looked at and wanting to be seen.” Expressing yourself and sharing your life is a beautiful thing and there is no shame in that.
Use social media as a creative outlet
Do you have a hobby that excites you? Starting a new Instagram or TikTok account dedicated to your niche hobby can be then fun! Most of us have many interests and it can be hard to connect with our family and friends about it without feeling boring. I’ve started more Instagram secondary pages than I can count and can confidently say I wouldn’t be writing this if it wasn’t for this creative outlet.
No longer track wisely
If someone gave you a funny feeling or their content no longer resonates with you, unfollow them. To be clear, I’m not saying you should unsubscribe from people whose views differ from yours. In fact, I try to practice the opposite. There is a lot to be learned from perspectives, ideas and experiences that contrast with your own.
It’s a bit of a careful dance, but trust your intuition and don’t follow anyone who makes you feel like your life isn’t good enough or that you’re less than. If their content sends your brain into a negative spiral, it’s not worth it.
Share things that inspire you
We all influence. To influence is to be human. We already do it and we did it long before social media took over the world. The key is to remember that you have a choice: how you you want to influence people? Possessing this power and choosing to use it for good is the best way forward. I’ve come across some wonderful parts of the internet because a friend chose to share something on social media, and I hope others will too.
These are all social media positivity tips that help me scroll through my feeds and post with confidence, compassion, and plenty of inspiration to guide me. Ideas that I missed? Signed, your social media fairy.