I think we all sometimes can get caught up in social media, whether it be dreaming of the perfect future house, figuring out how we can make our makeup look flawless, or wishing we were on the vacation that our old coworker took. While social media can be used for a lot of good intentions, it can also hurt us by damaging our self-confidence, making our expectations a little too high, and increasing the amount of jealously we feel toward others.
As a blogger, I’ve found myself being especially susceptible to some of these damaging social media repercussions. I’ve had to learn ways that I can be on social media but not have it be in the focus of my day-to-day life. Here are some things I do that help me use social media as a tool for good:
Set a limit on the amount of time you’ll spend on social media each day. Otherwise, the minutes can turn into hours.
Have a purpose for going onto social media. If you’re on social media without a purpose in mind (for example, when you get on just to have something to do because you’re bored), that’s when you’re most likely to waste the most time.
Remember the bigger picture. A lot of people on social media are only showing the good parts of their lives, and it can make it seem like all they experience is constant sunshine and rainbows. But you don’t see everything. Behind the scenes, their lives are probably just as hectic as yours. Don’t compare yourself to others. You have enough, and you are enough. Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reminded us, “Comparing our own seemingly average existence with others’ well-edited, perfectly crafted lives as represented on social media may leave us with feelings of discouragement, envy, and even failure.”1
Don’t feed into negativity. If there’s something that’s constantly bringing you down, unlike, unfollow, or unfriend. Social media shouldn’t leave you feeling depressed. Follow, friend, and like people and things that will help better you and your everyday life.
Seek to love, encourage, and inspire others. Rather than using social media to make yourself look good, try posting to help others feel loved and important. Share goodness. Be aware of people who might seem like they need a friend and reach out to them to share an uplifting message!
Elder Stevenson also said: “As Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson reminded us … , success in life doesn’t come down to how many likes we get or how many social media friends or followers we have. It does, however, have something to do with meaningfully connecting with others and adding light to their lives.”2
That should ultimately be our goal when using social media.
Remember that as we view social media through the lens of the gospel and seek to use it in positive ways, we won’t get stuck in thoughts of comparison or discouragement. Instead we will come away from social media feeling uplifted and motivated to do good.