Up until about a year ago, social media was a scary place for me. I followed people who didn’t look like me and people who didn’t like me. I didn’t like that I was investing so much time into something I didn’t even enjoy. I was always shy about posting certain things or pictures—on MY social media. That didn’t change until I did something about it. And although social media can be fake, it also gives us a platform to express ourselves, inspire others and do good. We can use it to share when we feel confident or when we need some positivity. Here are some of the things I did to make social media a happy place:
1. I unfollowed people who I didn't want to follow anymore & followed people who inspire me.
Ah, the most obvious rule but sometimes the hardest to follow. Once you get to college, you realize that you’re no longer friends with everyone you follow on social media. People from your hometown are practically strangers now. We get too worried about what that girl from 10th grade will think about the Instagram story clothing haul you really want to do. If the fear of someone judging you is stopping you from posting something, unfollow them. And while it might be awkward if you ever see them again, unfollow anyone who makes you feel any less confident. This rule even includes celebrities. I remember unfollowing the Kardashian sisters, some YouTubers and so-called “influencers.” I started following more friends, more artists and more women who look like me. It’s so empowering to take back your social media and make it a safe space for yourself.
2. I created a close friends list.
Even after you unfollow people and follow who you'd like, sometimes you don’t want everyone seeing everything you post. Add your friends on a private Snapchat story, make yourself a finsta or put your twitter on private. Make sure you have a close group of friends that are going to cheer you on and comment uplifting things on all your posts.
3. I shared causes that are important to me.
As we’ve learned in the past few months, social media is a catalyst for spreading important and meaningful information - with the Black Lives Matter movement at the forefront—we’ve seen an increase in informational graphics, videos, podcasts, and so much more. People are sharing petitions, donation sites and protest information. [If your social media doesn't look like this, you're following the wrong people]. Social media gives us a platform to share the causes that are important to us. And although social media has always been capable of this, we’re now seeing the huge effect it can have. We have the power to inform ourselves and others - to take what we learn on social media and actually do something about it. Tell us your story. Uplift someone else’s. Just please, post the causes that matter to you. But whatever you post, make sure it’s genuine. Performative activism doesn't help anyone.
4. I took the time to make social media a happy place for others too.
One thing I wish I was better at is giving people compliments. I always get so shy and don’t say anything even though I really want to. But it’s important to let others know when they’re outfit is nice and that you love their cooking videos. Social media lets us brighten other people’s day from wherever we are. Tell someone you love the song they're listening to. Tell someone that you love their smile. We have the power to spread love and make social media a kinder place. So why not do it?
5. I only post pictures and content that I truly love!
Social media can be so stressful at times. It’s so much pressure to be perfect all the time, to look good, be positive and have lots of friends. But we have to start posting what makes us happy. Show us your Taylor Swift cover, show us the cool graphics you’ve been working on, show us your workout routine, show us that pretty tree that you see on your walks! Post what makes you feel confident. The point is: post whatever makes YOU happy.
We spend so much time on our phones. Why spend so much time on something that doesn’t bring us joy? Why are we letting others dictate what we do? When I made social media my happy place, I stopped wondering what people would think. I started posting things that make me happy. I’ve been wanting to post more about the books I’ve been reading, so I think I’ll go do that now.