I used to have this eternal battle with myself every time I opened up Instagram. Was I wasting my time scrolling through my feed or was I genuinely connecting with my friends? There seems to be this never ending discussion surrounding social media that it is either the greatest thing to happen to our generation or the absolute worst. It has me constantly going back and forth between deleting all my social media entirely or leaning in with the risk of it becoming my whole life. Now I’ve more or less established a balance that allows me to use it in beneficial ways and not let it become my only sense of identity.
Firstly I got better at acknowledging that social media profiles are usually not accurate representations of individuals’ lives. I know this is very cliché, but it can be really easy to feel left out or inadequate when you compare yourself to others on social media. Something that helps me with this is to remind myself that I could never open Facebook, or any other forms of social media, again and live a completely happy and fulfilled life. Social media is not a necessity to successfully participate in society. You should have it in your life only if you want it, not because you feel as though you need to.
This mindset helps me have a more connection focused approach to social media, rather than a comparison centered one. I’m better now at using social media to enhance or grow communities I’m already a part of in real life. I follow tons of clubs or organizations I like at my school online so I can stay updated with them. Now I seek out accounts or people who have similar interests as my own for inspiration or more genuine connections. Social media itself is not inherently good or evil, rather it is up to us to control what sort of impact we allow it to have on our lives.