How To Enjoy Social Media
Being a human on the Internet is not always easy. If you have a poet’s soul, as I do, then normal Internet interaction is challenging enough. If you endeavour to create, as I do, then it’s even harder. So easily and are cruel, unprovoked and unwarranted slurs thrown in every direction. After publishing my first novel, I received some interesting direct messages on social media and to my personal email account, but I’m ultimately a resilient soul.
In order to preserve what sanity I have left, I live by a few self-imposed conduct rules which help me keep social media enjoyable.
1. Don’t publish anything you wouldn’t press release
If you wouldn’t want someone to read what you write online in a national newspaper — don’t write it online. Not on Twitter or even your personal Facebook account. A closed/private account is no real protection against screencaps that could land you with more attention that you intended or want. Don’t assume comments will be seen only by the audience you intended them for. Even though social media companies are privately held —they’re technically not public forums — treat them like public spaces.
2. Social media is something that should be fun
There are some sites that are just more enjoyable than others. I find Facebook and Instagram more fun than Twitter and Goodreads, for example. If you’re really not happy with how people interact with you online, delete your accounts on the platforms that just aren’t fun.
3. Use it to find people you would be friends with in real life
The best thing about social media is finding people you otherwise wouldn’t know and couldn’t meet in real life e.g. people who live in other countries but have similar interests as you. This, for me, is the best thing about the Internet.
4. Enter competitions
One of my favourite things to do is enter charity competitions to win experiences that I wouldn’t normally have access to or be able to afford. Omaze is great for this. But there are other sites too. Competitions and giveaways are some of my favourite things. My luck hasn’t been spectacular but I did once win a case of beer on Twitter. So it’s not all bad…
5. Shamelessly tune your feeds to your tastes and comfort levels
I love Instagram, but there is are certain categories of people I just won’t follow. Supermodels, most celebrities, most commercial brands, “influencers”, fitness models who are just too skinny and posey — these brands and people don’t make me feel good, they just annoy me with their pretentiousness and shamelessly hawk products at me in an inauthentic way. I even quit following travel blogs after they made me too jealous of all the places I wanted to go but couldn’t afford to.
Instead, I follow my actual real-life friends, artists, designers, brands I already use (for discounts, mostly), fitness models with more realistic figures, photographers, and food blogs.
You own your feeds. Shamelessly tailor them to you and what makes you happy.
6. Remove anyone and everything that doesn’t make you happy
The delete and mute buttons are your friends. Toxic racist aunt — gone! Ex-boyfriends — gone! That one guy you knew from Uni who you don’t have anything in common with anymore but still makes lewd comments on just about every post you make — gone! Just get rid of them all.
7. Step away if you need to
Don’t be afraid to suspend your social media accounts and just binge Netflix instead. If social media is really having an impact on your mental health, f*ck it. Trolling (when people contact you with the express intention of causing you anguish and offence — and you can’t simply block or disengage with them because they’ve done it anonymously to your personal email or direct messages) is ghastly and women especially suffer from it online. There is no shame in saying: “This hurts, I’m going to remove myself from anywhere and anyone who exposes me to this.” Go cold turkey for however long you need and come back refreshed.
Thank you for reading — I hope you found my thoughts interesting. Agree with me? Don’t agree with me? Let me know either way: @Sayde_Scarlett