Sunday 25 October 2020

How I Crafted A Positive Social Media Experience

Taylor shares his story on how to craft a positive social media experience and how to use it to make you feel confident and empowered. 

- Taylor

It’s the 21st century, so my guess is that you have checked Instagram or your fave social media of choice at some point today. 66% of the UK are on some form of social media. But is your social media experience a positive one? I love social media and it definitely has its positives – I mean who wouldn’t want to send a picture of a cat from one side of the world to another in under a second! But on a serious note, you can create communities with like-minded people, keep in touch with old friends, see what your favourite celebrities are up to in their lives, and spread urgent information at the click of a button (literally nothing happens without social media catching on). 

I have seen so many amazing communities be set up on social media, including a group campaigning for better mental health support, a community of LGBTQIA+ and some absolutely awesome activism groups. They provide a safe space and a feed of simply positive vibes. If you would like to check out some communities, here are my personal favourites on Instagram: @chnge, @impact, @happysmileyblog, @i_weigh, @chicksforclimate, @blklivesmatter, @wetheurban, and so many others. 

You’re probably wondering why I started this article by asking whether or not you have a positive social media experience, but what do I mean by that? Let me explain. Start by asking yourself the following questions… 

• Does your social media make you feel confident and empowered? 
• Is your feed filled people sharing positive and realistic stories? 
• Are the pictures you’re seeing a true depiction of life? 
• Are there way too many ads and promoted posts from celebrities? 
• Do you feel that your friends are the same type of person in real life as they are on social media? 

If you answered no to any of those questions then your social media experience may not be entirely positive and probably isn’t giving you the empowerment that you need. It’s simple to fix though, so don’t worry. This is what I do… 

1) Start by asking yourself why you are using social media.
Is it to connect with friends? Is it as a news outlet? Whatever the reason is, make sure that you are aware of your intentions and you keep them at the front of your mind. 

2) STOP checking social media the second you wake up! 
This is a big one but is so simple to alter. Picture this… you’ve just woken up after a beautiful night’s sleep and you grab hold of your phone, refresh your Twitter feed and BANG! Negative news stories, photos that make you question your confidence, a bombardment of ads. Do you need this first thing in the morning? No. This (maybe without realising) is likely to affect your mood and how you feel throughout the day. Now I am definitely not saying to delay all of your social media experiences until the evening because that will have the same experience of affecting how you sleep at night, but instead just give yourself a break – maybe check it an hour after waking up. 

3) Block, Delete, Unfollow. 
If a profile is making you feel angry or question your confidence then get rid of them – simple! It’s important to remember that just because someone is your friend in real life, doesn’t mean that they have to be your friend on social media. 

4) Engage! 
If you love something that a profile is doing or if you feel empowered by a community then engage and make internet friends with those like-minded people. Drop the account a message or a comment to let them know that you love their content – they will appreciate the time you have taken and it will give them a boost to keep going. 

5) Post whatever you like (within reason). 
Felt like a boss in that outfit? POST! Had an amazing day with your besties? POST! Want to spread a positive message? POST! It’s your social media profile so use it to your desire – stop holding back. I have never thought of deleting my social media profile or completely coming off of social media because crafting a positive experience is so simple. You can have a healthy balance between real life and internet life without throwing your phone out of the window. After all, deleting my social media profile would only have led to FOMO (the fear of missing out) and I guarantee I would have reinstalled it within days (probably minutes). So that’s how I crafted a positive social media experience, and now that I’m filled with confidence and empowerment from my feed, I’m definitely not going back.

For more advice about looking after your wellbeing online, visit Student Minds website.

Hey, I'm Taylor, a student teacher from Kent. Mental health is a topic that isn't in our daily conversations, but why not? I'm an advocate for mental health sharing an equal platform with physical health and in the 21st century, social media is the place it can begin which I why I wrote this article. While we're talking about social media, here's a bit of self-promo: follow me on Twitter @_taylor_gibson_ 

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