Social media is the new version of personal branding and a not-so-intimate personal connection. It has its positives and its negatives—the negatives being that it can be addictive and self-esteem damaging. Many people use social media to promote how great their love lives are, their travel lives, work lives, family lives, etc. Others use it to vent about how horrible their lives are. Either way, people can be whoever they want to be in social media, and if we take what we see/read literally then it’s possible that we can feel we are falling short in life. Take stock this spring as to why social media has such an important place in your life. Is it the need for stimulation, for confirmation of your importance, to connect with others, to have a distraction when anxiety creeps in, or is to find an escape from the rawness of life and to garner some sense of control?
Questions to Ask To Discover If You Need a Break from Social Media:
1. Is Social Media dictating your Life? It is if it’s the very first thing you are thinking about when you wake up and if it keeping up with it all day is disruptive to your real-world life. It is a voyeuristic habit that often determines our mood, our thoughts about ourselves and if we are important or as important as others.
2. Do you envy what others advertise? When we are lonely or not feeling good in our own lives and we see that others are posting pictures of all their successes and happy adventures in love and with family, we may get the feeling they have something in life we don’t and become envious or depressed. When this begins to poison and downgrade the way you look at your life then you must take inventory on if this is healthy for you and your relationships with those around you and those posting the items.
3. Are you drawn to others successes in what you feel you are failing in your insecurities? It is easy to look out and feel that others are doing better, living better and feeling better than you are, but what you see is simply a snapshot of someone’s life. It isn’t their whole life, and nor is it a realistic picture of what is happening in their life. It is what that person wants people to see. Success isn’t social media oriented. If you are feeling “less than” due to what you see, then look to your own life and make real-world changes that could help you feel more successful and fulfilled in your life.
4. Are you happy when others are posting unhappy situations on social media? If seeing others unhappy on social media makes you happy then unhook because this is not healthy. It is a way to justify and avoid your own unhappiness as comparing yourself to others and what they are posting.
5. Are you addicted to the gossip and drama social media provides? Attention, whether it’s positive or negative can draw you into social media. We can get sucked in to it to fit in, to feel worthy, to get into an imaginary world in an effort to escape our own. Social media makes us feel a false sense of connection, but how real is a connection based in cyber-space. If you have lost yourself to these connections as being the most important in your life, then there is reason to be mindful of this so you can focus on being connected and happy in your real-world life.
Solution: Cleanse Your Presence—your personal brand—is the most precious thing you can give to yourself and also to others. If you unhook from computer-land perhaps you will be less tempted to multitask during face-to-face encounters by being distracted with tweeting, email, “Facebooking” or “Instagraming.” It’s this type of simple but powerful understanding that can help us tame the compulsion to connect digitally when it compromises physical connection. Self-awareness is such an important step. If you realize why you’re turning to technology in times when connection or learning new information isn’t critical, you’ve made the first step to reconnecting with yourself. Spring clean and get back to the real world.