3 Ways To Use Social Media Productively For A Change

image - Flickr / Michael Critz
image – Flickr / Michael Critz

Now that we have the internet in our pockets and on our wrists, we have removed any reason for actual human contact in almost every situation imaginable.

Even a doctor’s visit can be avoided with a steady hand, comfort with needles, and the WebMD app on your phone (it’s a joke please don’t ever try this). Rather than fighting against the current, we should embrace the possibilities and find ways to make social media work for us. Well, that would be the purpose of this post if you were reading Lifehacker, but you are here instead. So letís just agree that these three applications will just help to make us all slightly less terrible people.

1. Limit Your Pinterest Boards to Actual Projects

Just kidding! Nobody who uses Pinterest uses it responsibly. Asking a bored housewife to limit herself to pins she actually plans to use is like asking that same housewife to limit her Costco trip to a single mega-box of Stove Top Stuffing. But the kids’ snack supply is in danger of falling below two months! We only have 40 boxes of tissues in the house, and we’re coming up on second allergy season! And why are you following me around Costco? From personal experience, I can tell you that it is a whole big thing.

Let me offer a compromise: create a few boards that contain ideas you will actually consider using. Home renovation project? Rather than pinning 500 options for the door pulls on your new cabinets, and then spending three hours in Ikea looking at their three choices trying to decide which will best compliment the dogís fur color, use the internet to do what it does best: allowing you to sift through massive amounts of information while sitting on your couch in your pajamas at two in the afternoon. Sure, you can still make your decision in your pajamas at two in the afternoon while standing in the kitchen display at Ikea, but people will judge you. Mostly on your choice of Hello Kitty PJs over Dora the Explorer, but they’ll still judge.

2. Use Facebook for Its Original Intended Use: Talking to People

So you never talk to your Aunt Rose way out in Iowa, and once a year, when Facebook tells you itís her birthday. You spend three minutes of your very busy day battling with your conscience. Your conscience chooses guilt as its weapon. You choose vodka, or Candy Crush. Ooh…Candy Crush Vodka why doesn’t that exist yet? Anyway, you do nothing. Well, about talking to your aunt. You totally destroyed that level that kept beating you last week.

If you wanted to be a less terrible person, you could — follow me here — use Facebook to wish Aunt Rose Happy Birthday. And I don’t just mean post on her wall like everyone else, half of whom she met at last yearís Regional Crossfit Charity Lift (she was there as a supporter, not a competitor, don’t you know). I mean using the messaging app to strike up an actual conversation, like humans used to do back in the dark ages (known to scientists as the ICQ Epoch).

In less than the time it takes you to decide which three songs from the new Ariana Grande album you want to download, you could have had real, meaningful interaction with a person you ostensibly care about. It makes you happier and it made your Aunt Rose happier, and we all know that happiness leads to longer lives and better sex, so your Uncle Frank thanks you, too.

Also, the next time you need more lives for Candy Crush, Aunt Rose, still high on the warm fuzzies from your conversation, will be more likely to do you a solid.

3. Use Twitter to Share Funny Cat Pictures and Videos

Take it from a professional: everyone needs to find an appropriate outlet for their vices, lest they destroy your productivity. I am a writer. It’s my job to be on the internet all day. If I didn’t have a Twitter account dedicated to sharing cat videos, this post would contain approximately 17 of them. Ainít nobody got time for that.

Research has shown that short bursts of off-topic interneting (trademark pending) help make you more productive, because these sessions allow you to blow off steam and refocus more effectively. Twitter is the perfect outlet for meme-related vices. You post as many as you want to satisfy your compulsion, your friends donít actually ever read what you tweet so they wonít be bothered, and everybody wins. And you get back to work more quickly. Besides, the sooner you get your work done, the more time you have at the end of your day to bug your friends for more lives in Candy Crush. TC mark

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