3 small ways to change the way you use social media

Social media plays a significant role in many peoples lives. However, when used in certain ways it can come with negative implications such as wasting time, unnecessary feelings of jealousy and distracting you from what you really care about.

Here are 3 small ways to avoid or at least reduce those negative implications whilst still using social media:

Set a timer for how much you can use it
It could be 1 hour a day or it could be 15 minutes. If your aim is to regain more time try and figure out how much time you spend on the app before it begins to take you away from things you’d be better off doing.

Regularly update who you
Every few months I update who I’m following and unfollow the accounts I’m no longer interested in seeing. It could be a content creator who shares amazing photos but is always trying to sell me something, someone I went to school with 10+ years ago who I haven’t spoken to since and rarely interact with or someone I came across a few months ago whose images don’t interest me as much as I thought they would.

Use your phone to post and your desktop to browse and interact
I’ve found that I spend much less time browsing on Instagram and twitter when I’m on my laptop compared to my phone. And so if you’re able to, try just using your phone for posting and do everything else from the big screen.

Clubhouse probably won’t become the next Instagram

We already have Instagram, it can’t be replaced.

It’s more likely that other apps will copy it and it will die out or become less popular, like snapchat.

When it comes to the growth and longevity of Clubhouse, there is a lot to be considered.

Firstly, there is likely to be a period of rapid growth once it becomes available for android. However, when it comes to longevity in the next 3 months, 6 months or even a year I think that things are much less certain.

Once the app becomes more easily available the amount of users will increase for a period of time as people that didn’t previously get access can now join and see what the hype was about. There is likely to then be a decline in users as some will lose interest in the app after a few weeks.

In terms of how long the app will last, unless we all become addicted like how we are with Instagram I think it will be a question of ‘Is what I gain from this going to be worth more than the time that ends up being wasted?’ or ‘Is what I can gain from this different from what I already have access to through youtube, podcasts, IGTV, books, articles etc? and lastly ‘Is what I can gain for this better than the alternatives on apps I’m already familiar with?’

I think there is something to be said about being on the cusp, on showing up in the early stages because you’re interested, not just because something is trendy or popular.

The reason why I think clubhouse is such a big deal is because it’s very rare for a new social media app to show up and gain such traction in such a short space of time, especially because it has resulted in 2 of the biggest social media apps to add a similar features so that they can compete.

I also think it’s great that there are so much options for what you could do with the app: read a play, discuss pop culture, live podcast, talk show, etc that it can appeal to a range of age groups.

I’m looking forward to see how the app grows and develops in the future. Will it last, will Twitter/Instagram/Discord alternatives force it to die out as people already have followings on those platforms? But also what new features will it have and once things go back to ‘normal’ will we still be interested?

Why I stopped listening to my favourite podcasts?

Over the past couple of months I have become more and more aware of all the thoughts and opinions of others that I consume each day.

If you also use social media and regularly consume content such as podcasts or YouTube videos then chances are, you’ve felt it too.

I had began to find that even though podcasts, Twitter and Instagram were a regularly part of my routine, I wasn’t really enjoying them the way I used to.

And this had nothing to do with the people I was following or listening to as their content hadn’t really changed. It was more that I had changed. I decided that, even if it was just a temporary thing, I wanted to honour the fact that at that point in time, I wanted something different.

So, I logged out of my social media accounts and I stopped listening to the podcasts that were once my favourites. That gave me room to explore new things and spend time listening to podcasts that I enjoy rather than simply listening out of habit or familiarity.

Entertaining and addictive

The thing about social media is that it’s great when you’re on it. It’s entertaining, it’s addictive.

It’s so much of those things that I find myself thinking, I’ll feel like I’m missing out if I take a break.

When you’re logged into social media it can feel like you need to check it 20 times a day. Even though you know there is nothing there that you need to see, the apps are designed in a way to keep you coming back.

And so you check the app again and again even if you don’t really have a reason to.

Checking social media multiple times a day means you’re constantly taking in other peoples stuff. It could be a useful infographic, educational twitter thread or a new recipe to try on IGTV. However, it could also be celebrity gossip, peoples thoughts on relationships or people making fun of someone.

That’s why I think logging out is so important. It allows you to disconnect from distractions and might even remind you that you don’t it as much as you think you do.

That probably won’t mean quitting all social media for good but instead simply using it less.

Reasons to log out

Every so often I log out of social media.

I do it to remind myself that I don’t need to use it as much as I think I do.

I do it to free up space in my mind for my own thoughts and opinions.

I do it so that I can spend my free time doing other things that will be more fulfilling.

And when sometime passes and I choose to log back in, I am always reminded that if I’m not mindful I can end up wasting a lot of time and energy.

Airplane mode

If you find that your screen time is increasing and has gotten to a point of being much higher than you’d like, put your phone on airplane mode.

Sometimes it’s difficult to comprehend a world when we were much less connected because at any time someone can contact you on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, email, call, text or Whatsapp. That’s 7 different ways all from a single device and that can be overwhelming.

As much as it can have benefits, it’s also worth considering that you don’t always need to be so available. One could argue that you may miss something important but it’s highly unlikely.

The point is not to put your phone on airplane mode and be eternally unavailable. The idea is to turn it on when you’re not using your phone, that way when you randomly pick it up to mindlessly scroll you’ll end up just putting it down again as you’re not connected to the internet.

It’ll also make you aware of how often you reach for your phone for no real reason and after a short while you end up reaching for it less.

The best place to share your work

Coming up with an idea of who your customer or target audience is incredibly helpful. For example, if you are trying to attract a younger age group you would use different methods than those you would choose to attract an older age group.

That could mean promoting your work on a Tik Tok account instead of setting up a Facebook page.

But you can even take things further and really carve out what sort of person would be interested in your work.

Perhaps it is someone that spends a lot of time reading, isn’t on so social media much. Maybe they are introverted or they prefer meeting people in person rather than online. Keep going with that until, you eventually begin to cultivate this conceptual idea of a person and then you’re able to look at different ways of reaching that person.

Ask yourself, ‘Would this person want updates on twitter, insta stories or by email?’

Once you can answer these questions, it can provide a useful base for figuring out the best place to share your work and promote your stuff.

Keeping up with strangers

Social media makes it really easy to keep up with everything going on in the world around us. From crises happening across the globe to personal details about people we’ve never met.

And on an average day for many, I don’t think I’d be wrong in assuming that little thought goes into it.

How often do you find yourself questioning whether you need to know all this information you’re consuming?

I’m guilty of clicking on trending topics out of curiosity but on reflection I know that this information isn’t something I need to know.

The goings on of celebrities (and even just people we’ve never met) has always been a popular form of entertainment which is why gossip magazines were so popular. I guess those magazines have now changed to social media, something that is free and consumed by even more people.

And as much as you control who you follow, you can’t control what they post, tweet, re-tweet, like or share on their stories.

But what you do have control over is your active consumption. As much as knowing certain things might tickle your fancy, upon reflection would you really choose knowing details about a strangers personal life over reading a book, working on your craft, writing, planning ahead etc.

Of course you can make time for both (if you so wish) but this is more about being intentional with what you consume rather than getting swept up in it all.

If you leave the twitter thread, video or post feeling fine that’s great but if you feel like you’ve wasted time then maybe you need to start making some changes.

How it feels to be moved

he things you can connect to and resonate with, the things that move you, fill your life with more of that.

I find myself energised, motivated and inspired by certain things. Whereas other things perhaps annoy me or bring out my low mood.

It doesn’t help to consume things that leave you feeling blue. It’s not the kindest way to treat yourself which is why it’s important to remind yourself that you have options.

Social media is a place full of content that can move you, if you let it. It’s great when you’re being moved by something that inspires you or makes you take action on the things you’ve been working on or if it teaches you something new.

On the other hand, if you’re being moved to publish a thread of angry tweets on something you don’t really know about that you’ll regret posting in a week or 2 then maybe think twice about what you choose to follow.

But also think about the ways you’re allowing yourself to be moved. It can be a beautiful thing.

I listened to a podcast recently that moved me to write something and from that I started planning for a future project.

I was moved to create which is something I enjoy and that’s what is important.

The things that move us can have the power to influence us into doing or feeling things we don’t enjoy and a lot of people aren’t even aware.

I think that’s pretty interesting.

Online attacks and 21st century pitchforks

Maybe I’m old fashioned but I’m a firm believer in treating others in a way you’d like to be treated.

If I made a mistake or said something that wasn’t well thought or shared an unpopular opinion, I’d like to think that people’s intention would be to broaden my perspective or give information in a way that would be useful rather than come at me with pitchforks (which in this case is tweets) .

When I see the way people react to things online it makes me wonder why these people are responding: to offer something useful or just to be involved in drama by adding fuel to the fire.