Scrolling through social media – it’s the most popular form of procrastination of the 21st Century. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying the impact it has on our daily lives. It’s a distraction from deadlines and a comfort blanket in awkward situations – who knew scrolling aimlessly with your head down and your thumbs busy could bring such comfort when walking past a group of strangers in the street? It has the ability to make people feel both loved or hated, and popular or lonely. For all of its positive aspects, social media can have a negative impact on your wellbeing. It’s important to make sure you look after yourself whilst you’re scrolling, and keep the following in mind:
Take everything at face-value and form your own opinions.
It’s easy to form opinions of people based on their social media profile and based on what other people post about them. The same can be said for most things – when people are outspoken on social media about something, we read it and absorb it and sometimes, albeit subconsciously, it can influence our own opinion. If you want to learn more about an issue that’s being discussed on Facebook, come off it and head to the internet. Look it up and read about it. Social media isn’t always a reliable source. Know the difference between fact, opinion, and of course fake news! Be sure to form your own opinions based on the facts.
There’s more to life than profiles and digital presence.
It can seem so important sometimes. I’m sure at times you’ve noticed you haven’t posted on Instagram in a while, and you don’t want people to think that you live a boring life. Not everything has to be posted online. Nobody needs the evidence that you went out at the weekend. It’s always nice to share a good picture, and you definitely should if you want to, but don’t be afraid to keep some of the special times in your life for yourself and appreciate them as private moments. Appreciate what’s around you and live in the moment. As a regular gig attendee, I always used to take loads of pictures and videos even though I’d never look at them again – they were just for social media. Now, I hardly ever get my phone out at a gig, and I stand and enjoy the moment with my eyes, instead of through a phone screen that I’m trying to focus and angle between the heads bobbing up and down in the crowd.
Remember you can’t really compare yourself to others.
Sometimes you can feel as though your life isn’t as exciting or interesting as those that you follow on social media. I know I certainly feel that way sometimes and it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. Sometimes you just have to take a step back and remember that social media profiles are basically the best bits of somebody’s life – it isn’t reality. They decide what you can see, and chances are it’s only the exciting and interesting stuff. So, you’re comparing somebody’s best bits and their polished profile with your unedited life that you live 24/7. They can’t possibly be compared.
Know when to stop scrolling.
We’ve all done it – you’re sat with your laptop on your desk with your work open, but your head’s down and your eyes are glued to your screen as you scroll each social media platform in turn. Before you know it half an hour (or sometimes longer) has passed and you’ve made no progress. It’s a common form of procrastination, but it’s a sign you need to focus. Why not put your phone away and out of reach whilst you’re working with your notifications muted? Maybe you could give it to a flat mate to look after in another room? Or if you know you’ll still be tempted to take a look, there’s apps available that allow you to lock your social media for any duration of time you like. Apps such as Flipd or Moment are useful for limiting social media use and staying focused.