Social media has impacted our lives (and businesses) over the past few years in incredible ways. It’s opened up a huge realm of opportunities for businesses - of any size and industry - to utilize the different platforms and market their brands, in order to reach more customers than what was previously possible and build their online influence.
It’s empowered everyday people of all backgrounds and demographics to share their lives, opinions and voices on their own platforms. It’s also a powerful way to incite social change through advocacy, charity, globalisation and stories. The world is more connected than ever before.
The positive effects of social media on society, arguably, greatly outnumber the negative.
But there are two sides to every coin.
While, as the (biased) owner of a social media management business, and a huge advocate for the power of social media (both as a platform for personal voices and for the voice of businesses), sometimes with over-usage and dependency it feels like it can take a toll on our mental well-being.
There needs to be some boundaries set and healthy habits established around the personal usage of social media. Yes, even as a social media manager!
So here are 5 tips to limit or create healthier boundaries around your personal social media use:
1. Limit your time
The most obvious, but likely the most effective solution. If you’re finding that you’re spending every spare moment glued to Instagram or refreshing your Facebook newsfeed, it may be the time to set some time-conscious boundaries. Did you know that Instagram now tracks your average time spent on the app per day? (To see this, go into Settings and click “My activity”). Take a look at this and see if you can slowly decrease your average if it's getting a bit high.
2. Only follow accounts that make you feel good
As you know, there can be a lot of negative stories that pop up on social media. Or maybe you have a family member or an old college friend who is constantly complaining and “over-sharing” their life woes via their Facebook statuses. And then there’s the social media influencers – people who set standards that can sometimes seem unattainable to the everyday person.
So my recommendation is to only follow people and/or accounts that make you feel good about yourself – and don’t make you feel negative, down, angry, unworthy, or like a failure.
3. Don’t scroll right before sleep - or first thing when you wake up
Research has shown that it’s better for your health (and your sleep) if you limit any sort of technology use right before going to bed. I know this can be difficult – what harm is one last scroll on Instagram going to do? But allow yourself to take a rest from the screen and allow your brain and your body some time to get into the zone of rest and relaxation. Also allow yourself some time to fully wake up before you check your phone in the morning.
4. Turn off notifications before you go to sleep
If there’s one thing worse than having a cheeky Instagram scroll right before you turn off the light, it’s having notifications wake you up during the night (and checking them!). I turn off the data and Wi-Fi on my phone each night so that no sounds or flashing notification lights can disturb my sleep. Set the boundary that, unless it’s an emergency, "it can wait until morning".
5. Don’t let it overtake or replace your relationships
Finally, don’t let your Snapchat streak replace the relationship you have in real life with friends, family or your partner. Make an effort to put the phone down and be present when you’re with people. Although there’s nothing wrong with a quick check of the notifications before you’re about to have dinner or watch a movie, remember that nothing beats an in-person connection and they shouldn’t be taken for granted.