During these times of self-quarantine and isolation, where we perhaps have a little more “free time”, it has become clear to me that each of us have the opportunity to grow, to get more in tune with our true selves, and align with our purpose in life.
Many of us are spending more time than usual searching for reliable information about this pandemic on social media.
How many additional direct messages are you receiving with toxic content per day?
How many direct messages are only showing us the same worrisome information without offering any solutions?
Although we must all keep ourselves informed and abide by public health guidelines, we must also become aware of the possible adverse effects that this “overdose” of information is having on us—anxiety, loss of sleep, stress, hypertension, and more. Understanding the additional impact in our wellbeing in addition to negative socio-economic at the personal or familial level.
We all have a different way of dealing with the current situation, and it is up to us to learn from it so that isolation brings not only negative effects but also positive ones. That is why it is so important to take an active role in monitoring and modifying our habits on social networks.
Ideally, when the pandemic ends and we can once again restart the portions of our social life that have been put on hold, we should strive to have a better relationship with the electronic devices that we use so often. That way, the interactions we have with them will allow us to sustain our happiness instead of depriving us of it.
I am convinced that we must take this opportunity to find truth not in what is happening out there, but in what is happening within us—our thoughts, our emotions—which ends up being reflected in our use of social media.
Because people have developed the tendency to spend more time consuming content on social media, the impact it has on society as a whole has also increased. So, regardless of our follower count, we must use social media more responsibly, becoming more aware of the content we post, share, and expose others to. We need to use now more than ever, Social Media for Social Good.
If we’re able to moderate our use of social media, consuming information responsibly and preventing overreaction, I’m sure that we will have a much healthier and more compassionate society after this situation.
Here are some tips and recommendations that will help you get the most out of social media, so that both you and your followers can have positive experiences meeting your better self during the pandemic:
- Regulate your exposure time to Social Media and electronics in general:
A good way to start here would be to compare your screen time from the time before you started quarantining to how much time you spend on screens now. (Depending on your phone’s operating system, you should have access to the data for previous weeks.) If you are spending more time on social networks now than you used to, this should be a red flag; and you should cap the amount you spend on social networking apps in your settings app. This will help you keep track of the amount of time you spend on these sources of content. I recommend you not exceed 3 hours of social networking in any given day—which might be surprisingly difficult to some—if you don’t depend on social networking for your income.
- More Positive Accounts, Fewer Negative Accounts:
Identify the type of accounts that you follow. Increase your consumption of content that provides peace of mind, motivation, educational material, and hope, while reducing your consumption of content that causes panic, restlessness, and hopelessness. Unfollow accounts that are desperately trying to capture your attention or posts from accounts that only seek to sell you things that you don’t really need. The goal is to be able to add as much favorable content as possible to your timeline, allowing you to learn and grow instead of instilling fear and hopelessness.
- Protect Your Sleep Cycle:
Keeping your sleep cycle stable is still important, even in times of crisis. I’d suggest that, after 8pm, you should reduce your consumption of the news and turn off notifications from apps that aren’t directly related to personal or family issues. If you can, why don’t you try leaving your smartphone outside of your bedroom while you sleep? Make a habit of getting a good 8 hours of sleep, which can improve not only your mental and emotional health, but your immune system as well.
- Bypass Promoting and Spreading False Information:
Try not to spread dubious information or untrusted sources. Even though Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Snapchat are doing their part to reduce the spread of fake news (but they might not always succeed), try to keep track of information that might sound strange or might not seem credible. By not spreading misinformation, you will help prevent others from taking steps that might to be counter-productive or even harmful, especially during this public health crisis.
- Support Your Community
Identify causes, business, and even families that you can donate to during this time of need using social networks. Invite your followers to donate, too. Many people will be depending on our help—perhaps you might, too—so take advantage of the time you have now to start on the path to finding people that you can help.
- Avoid Pretentiousness and Post with Intention:
Instead of posting things and thinking “How do I look?”, post about how your post can positively impact others’ lives. The amount of likes and comments you get on your posts isn’t really what matters. The impact that your post will have on your followers is far more important.
The duty is on us, as users, to reverse the trend of constantly seeing and consuming negative stories while trying to find solutions outside in the current media outlets.
Our main goal is to sprinkle in happiness throughout our day, being more compassionate, kind and encouraging those who might otherwise be using social networks irresponsibly or without purpose to take advantage of the crisis and isolation to focus more on their well-being and that of their followers.
It fills me with joy to see how, during this global pandemic, more and more of the influencers we interact with are making content that adds value to society regardless of the nature of their accounts (be they focused on food, fashion, travel, or comedy). I invite you to join this initiative and become an Influencer for Good.
Now that you have more time to evaluate and identify what moves you, you can put into practice our shared goal of spreading happiness one post at a time.
Whether your next post is picture-perfect or a little rough around the edges, use content that helps to boost happiness instead of causing others to lose sleep by promoting negative content.
Let’s fill all the social networks with positive and encouraging content during these times of “social distancing,” so that instead of spreading a deadly disease, we can spread kindness, gratitude, and compassion to others and help make the world a place where we can all say “Good morning, happiness!”