Social media is like that person who’s butt crack is showing while they are sitting down — you don’t want to look but you can’t look away. But really…it’s addicting. It’s informative. It can be interesting and fun. It can be depressing and alienating. But whether or not we like it, social media is now part of the way our society functions.
Sometimes people think that social media is the devil. But just like everything in life, there are pros and cons to being so overly connected with the world. Social media platforms such as instagram and facebook enable us to capture moments in beautiful pictures, share them with friends and stay up to date with events and news happening all around the world. Even Snapchat is a news source now. Social media isn’t all bad.
If you let it, though, social media will swallow you whole. It is too easy to be obsessed with your instagram photos and how many likes you receive. It is too easy to be constantly checking your snapchat. Or to scroll through posts and pictures on facebook, seeing all of the fun things people are doing and making you feel left out or like your life has no meaning. So in order to find a balance between the good and the evil, start with these three simple rules so Social media doesn’t take over your life.
1. Put Your Phone Down When You Pick Your Fork Up.
My mom has the rule that there are no phones at the dinner table. This should be a world-wide rule. How funny would that be if restaurants had “No Phone Zones” just like they have No Smoking Zones? Eating is one point throughout the day where you can take a break from social media madness and just enjoy the company of your friends, colleagues or even just the presence of your own thoughts. Even though it is tempting to check your phone between bites, give your brain at least a 30-minute break to slow down and enjoy the moment without trying to be somewhere else. Plans can wait. Seeing a photo recently posted can wait. Savor your food, your friends and your own ideas.
2. Airplane Mode Is Boss.
Another small way to give yourself a break from the social aspect of technology is by utilizing airplane mode. I like to put my phone on airplane mode when I work out or when I walk to work. This way I can still listen to music, podcasts or read online news articles that I’ve already loaded, but it disconnects me from texts, and updates. Airplane mode is a handy tool to have when you still want to be on your phone but don’t necessarily want to be receiving tons of extra information from social outlets.
3. Know Your Enemy.
Just know that social media has the ability to affect you. Take a second to realize how much time you spend on your phone. Remind yourself that each like does not equate to whether you are valued or not. If we begin to be aware of how much we are on our phones, we can cut down the time we spend on social media that is unnecessary. For example, when you have to wait outside a restaurant for a friend running just 5 minutes late, take a couple of minutes and study the neighborhood, the people, the décor of the restaurant. Just take a minute to notice the world as it runs around with you before scrolling the instagram feed for the millionth time that day.
Even though these guidelines are definitely easier said (or written) than done, they can really help weed out the unnecessary moments when you pick up your phone. You do not need to see that the one kid from math class you’ve only met a couple of times is now dating another girl you don’t know (thanks, Facebook!) in between bites of your Chipotle burrito. I know it makes you feel cool to have your phone blown up with alerts, but is it really necessary to open up a snapchat while on the treadmill? It is impossible to completely quit social media, or maybe not impossible but just not fitting with the world we live in. So instead of quitting, just moderate! Give yourself some air to breathe, some time to think and exist without social media — even if just for your 20 minute ab session in the gym.