I spoke with a friend the other day who complained about the endless notifications she receives from all her social media apps. This wasn’t a new conversation. I regularly have the same conversation with other friends.
Yesterday, MySpace was the place to be online. Today, we may scroll through Instagram. Tomorrow? Your guess is as good as mine.
As our friends and family members spread across the country or even the world, we want to stay connected. If our loved one has a Facebook page where we can keep in touch, we get Facebook. Instagram with fun pictures and stories of the grandchildren? Sign us up!
How Do We Control Social Media and Not Let It Control Us?
When does too much, become too much? How do we use social media without feeling like it is taking over our lives?
Let me share some of the actions that work for me.
Dump the Account, not the Platform
A friend of mine recently shared she closed her Facebook account. She explained she had over 700 “friends” but did not have 700 friends. Rather than try to clean up the mess by unfriending random people like Aunt Judy’s daughter’s friend who needs career advice, she opted to start over.
She decided to reach out only to people with whom she really wants to stay connected with her new Facebook account. Sometimes, we just need a new start.
Take a Social Media Vacation
I delete all the social media apps on my phone for 30 days at least once a year. At the end of that month, I can add them back if I choose.
I realize I do not miss out on as much as I thought I would. I also seem to “find” time in my schedule for other fun activities. Sometimes, I even discover I don’t want to keep one of the social media accounts after all. This is how Twitter and I parted ways.
Social Media’s Responsibility … or Ours?
Social media seems to be heavily marketed to draw us in, for hours. Partially true. In truth though, Instagram does not show up at my door, sit me down and force me to use their app.
I must take some of the responsibility. So I do, daily. I limit the amount of time my children spend on their electronics – Why shouldn’t I?
● I keep appointments with my social media.
○ I check Facebook in the morning after I am ready for the day. I belong to a few professional groups and this is how we communicate. I also check the app after work, but before dinner. That‘s it. After that, I spend my time with the people in front of me.
● Turn off the notifications already!
○ In my phone settings, I turn off all social media app notifications. When I sit face to face with my husband to talk about our day, I don’t need to know a friend tried a new recipe or that her grandkids love it. I can read about it later, and I might even ask for the recipe. But at that moment, how would my husband feel if I stopped our conversation to check out that notification? We all know that feeling and it’s happened to most of us. It feels crummy.
Fun Social Media History
According to Social Media Today, social media in some form was around as early as 1844 when the first telegraph was sent by Samuel Morse from Washington D.C to Baltimore, MD. Can we call that a text message?
Social media has been around a long time and it is not going anywhere, anytime soon. There are many positive and fun aspects to using the apps on both personal and professional levels. The key is to make them work for us. So go ahead and “Like” your friend’s pictures of their newborn grandchildren, ask for that recipe and check out the reviews on the new restaurant in town.
Share with us what you do to keep social media working for you. We’d love to hear your tips.
Stephanie Gonzalez is a freelance writer and blogger that has worked for non-profit organizations, public service and education organizations during the last 25 years in her primary career. As a wife to a husband that challenges her to life adventures and a mom to two fun-loving sons, she is excited about diving further into her next career. She is absolutely passionate about educating others on two things. First, on nature and its’ impact on our health throughout our entire lives and second that when women retire from their primary careers, they aren’t done yet. You can catch up with her at windyhillwords.com.