Social media consists of a digital platform where people interact with each other, communicate, share information and ideas, learn, and market goods. Social media platforms have been around longer than we think, but the earliest and first recognisable social media platform was “SixDegrees.com”, launched in 1997.
Six Degrees enabled users to create a profile, make online friends, and communicate with one another. Since then, social networking sites have evolved into what we know them as today. Follow on for 5 Healthy Ways to Deal with Social Media!
Benefits of Social Media
Social media has benefited individuals in more ways than not. Regarding digital marketing, business owners have turned to social platforms to advertise their products and services. According to Statista, in 2021, over 4.26 billion people were using social media worldwide, which is projected to increase to almost six billion in 2027 (Dixon, 2023).
Due to the popularity of social platforms, businesses have taken to these social sites to market their product and services to reach their desired customers. Healthcare industries have also taken to social apps to improve the health and well-being of the population.
This is done through sharing health information, creating awareness of mental health and well-being, and helplines, creating awareness on campaigns and preventative medicine and advocating for better living conditions.
It is without a doubt that many people have gotten jobs through social platforms. An example is LinkedIn. LinkedIn users upload their educational background, professional experience and skills to find possible employers. Regularly optimizing your LinkedIn profile and following the right people makes your chance of securing a job higher.
Disadvantages of Social Networks
Social media has many benefits, but the dangers of social networking platforms are also present.
Although social media is meant for networking and interaction with family and friends, studies have shown that increased use of social media is associated with anxiety, depression, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts. This could be because of the decrease in face-to-face interactions and increased comparison on social media.
Cyberbullying is another potential harm caused via social media. People hide behind their electronic gadgets and post comments that hurt the feelings of other users. Comparison on social media also reduces self-esteem. Spending too much time on social media distracts you from your real-life goals
Increased use of social media leads to addiction and loss of sleep. Some people spend their sleep time on social media, which disrupts their sleeping patterns. Consumers are also likely to encounter fake accounts and fall into the hands of scammers. Users are also liable to be exposed to illicit content, foul language, and fake news.
Social networks online have both benefits and its drawbacks. The key to using it is being mindful while on these types of media, moderating, and filtering the content you consume. Another essential thing to note is verifying accounts and information on social media.
Here are Some Healthy Ways to Manage Social Media
1. Spend Time with Family
Spending too much time on social networks will affect physical relationships with family and friends. It distances us from those that are the closest to us. Instead of giving full attention to those present physically, we are paying more attention to friends online who do not have any relationship status with us whatsoever.
To deal with this, separate family time from screen time. Spend more time with those that are physically present because they are the ones that matter the most when we need emotional support.
2. Prioritize Sleep Time
Getting adequate sleep is necessary for our mental alertness and well-being. Sufficient sleep gives you a working body and mind, but some people take away from their sleep time, mindlessly scrolling through their feeds on social channels.
When it’s time to sleep, turn off all social app notifications so you will not be tempted to read that “last message”. We tell ourselves, “After this, I will go to bed” until we realize that the last message took four hours of our sleep time!
3. Double Check What You Post
Often, we post content or comments without considering the damage it causes to other users. Before we post anything online, we should ask ourselves these questions.
- Does this post pose any threat to anyone?
- Does it add any moral value to the receivers?
- Is it beneficial?
- Is it misleading?
- Is it appropriate for public view?
- Is it necessary to comment?
Asking yourselves these questions filters what you post online, preventing you from becoming a bully or posting inappropriate content.
4. Choose Friends and Pages to Follow Wisely
The content you see on your feeds depends on the people and pages you follow. Follow pages and people that will be of benefit to you. People that share your ideas and points of view or whose content aligns with your goals. You do not have to follow people to gain followers. Filter out your contact list and remove any pages that seem inappropriate.
5. Take a Break
Take a break from social stuff online occasionally to reconnect with reality and refocus on your real-life goals. Increased use of social platforms distracts us from achieving our goals, which leads to procrastination and piling up of work.
Social platforms are filled with people with evil intent. Do not post all your wins, success or important information online. Not everyone that congratulates you is happy for you. Your IP address can easily be traced online, and you could be in danger if you are located.
Do not compare yourself with people on these platforms. Do not overburden yourself by following trends or what others are doing. Some of the things posted online may well not be genuine and are mere illusions, and people will go the extra mile to gain attention or likes. Be yourself, and do not be fazed by what you see online.
Social media is made to enhance our success. It makes life easier because you can easily organize a meeting online without needing to appear physically. We get vital information, and we reconnect with old friends online.
The benefit of social media is enormous no doubt, but it also has its bad side. What we consume online defines our thoughts, actions and behavior. Social media should be used in moderation, and we should try to keep it for our real-life goals. Use social media wisely, then it will serve you well.