It will come as no shock to anyone that our screen time is currently higher than it ever has been. I’m personally guilty of falling down the scrolling rabbit hole that is TikTok (even dabbling in a few trends myself during lockdown 1.0… whatever passes the time, hey).
Unfortunately, like any vice, social media has its downfalls and they can really affect us for the worse. I recently had the opportunity to sit on a panel discussion as part of the Electronic Sound Summit, discussing the topic ‘Social Media: Friend or Foe?’ to delve into exactly what the issues are and steps we, as professional social media managers, take to combat them.
I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. So, read on for my tried-and-tested steps to making social media a more positive place for you…
1. Turn those notifications off, honey
This is my ultimate must. Go into your social apps and switch them off. Each and every one.
While this step might make you feel a looming sense of FOMO, it’s honestly the most refreshing way to take back control of your social media usage. You choose when to access the apps, not when @janedoe365 has tagged you in something. While her tag may be well intentioned, it can encroach on your day and lure you back in when you just don’t need it right now.
This is also a big one for those of us who struggle with procrastination as it can lessen the temptation. At least when you do start procrastinating, it’s because you went into the app on your own free will.
2. Unfollow accounts that make you feel rubbish
Blossom & Preen touched on this last year in a social media post and it really is a solid piece of advice. If we’re following the accounts that don’t serve us, social media can sometimes make us feel that our lives aren’t good enough, our abs aren’t visible enough, we didn’t go out for enough cocktails on the weekend, and so on. I’ve even heard people cut it out of their lives entirely because it has such an impact (and this might work for them), but it really can be a positive space.
Follow the accounts that make you feel good—the ones that fill you with inspiration rather than envy. These accounts are often the supportive bunch, so they’ll be recommending other feel-good accounts too if you take a look around their pages.
Follow your close friends and family who make your life feel blessed. Replace the accounts of people who make you feel rubbish with those who add value to your life. That really is the main thing to consider when you embark on your ‘Following’ cull… Ask yourself, “Does this account bring value to my life?”
3. Reduce your screen time
My go-to when it comes to reducing screen time is giving myself simple rules to follow. First and foremost, no phone before a certain time in the morning. We can all be guilty of logging on as soon as we wake up because our alarms are in our phones, but try to set yourself the task of no social media before 9am.
This gives you your morning to do something you enjoy while sipping your coffee, rather than scrolling scrolling scrolling. Likewise, cut yourself off after a certain time in the evenings. Your phone even has a setting to assist you in this too, so if you don’t feel like you have the self-restraint to stick to it, your phone might be able to encourage you.
4. Follow hashtags of topics you’re interested in
This tip is mainly Instagram specific, but it’s a simple way of filling your time on social media with the things you are really interested in. I personally love an illustration so my feed is full of illustrators and relevant illustration-based hashtags, meaning I can scroll through some beautiful creations that make me smile each day.
5. Just get rid…
It might appear pretty drastic, but sometimes a certain network just wasn’t made for us and that’s ok. I personally don’t find that Twitter enhances my life—it actually sometimes fills me with a sense of dread. So for that reason I logged out of my personal account. My sister doesn’t enjoy Facebook, so likewise, she no longer has an account.
Everyone is different and you don’t have to be on every single social network, so take a minute to reflect.
Try out the above steps, see how you’re feeling once you’ve implemented them and go from there. Small adjustments can make a world of difference.
How are you cultivating a positive relationship with social media? If you have any tips of your own, let us know below. We’d love to hear them!
Mary-Kate (who everyone calls MK) is a small business owner living in Leeds, UK. Her company, Many Moon, specialises in meaningful marketing & holistic branding for ambitious wellness and lifestyle business owners. Before founding Many Moon, she was an Account Director for a music marketing agency, where creative campaigns and social media filled up a big part of her days. You can find her sipping on her daily iced coffee in the week, opting for a Prosecco at the weekend, burning vanilla incense, listening to Taylor Swift on repeat, and laughing at her own jokes (frequently).