Looking for a New Years Resolution? Improve Your Relationship with Social Media

by | Dec 12, 2016 | Self Help, Uncategorized

Looking for a New Years Resolution? Improve Your Relationship with Social Media

by | Dec 12, 2016 | Self Help, Uncategorized

In my last post I wrote about the results of my 30-day social media challenge. I went from spending 40 hours a week on social media to 10 minutes a day (and, on some days, not at all).

I realised during my social media challenge that I was using social media for temporary distraction, connection, and to feel better about myself. I discovered that social media wasn’t doing any of these things. I was temporarily distracted but took longer to focus back on my main task. I was connected but I still felt isolated. I was happy sharing my achievements but couldn’t help negatively compare myself to others.

As soon as I dropped my social media use my mood improved, I got more work done, and I even found the time to meditate for 20 minutes each day.

These outcomes were a huge incentive for me to continue to improve my relationship with social media into 2017. Social media has its benefits, but when social media becomes something that we must check or disrupts our relationships and productivity that it’s a problem.

Rather than putting our heads in the sand, it’s better to tackle problematic social media use head-on to prevent it getting worse. Improving your relationship with social media makes for a great New Years resolution to kick the year off well.

5 Ways to Improve your Relationship with Social Media:


    1. Reduce and substitute.
      If you are finding that you are checking social media during face-to-face conversations, while walking short distances, or even while in the bathroom, you may like to consider reducing and substituting your social media use. Download the app, Quality Time, and set up a profile to block social media during specified hours. Replace the time that would have been spent on social media with friends, walking outside, cooking, reading, or another hobby.


    1. Improve the quality of information consumed.
      This can be achieved by setting aside dedicated time (e.g., 15 minutes) to engage with posts from friends and acquaintances – whether it be holiday photos, opinions, or with articles they have shared, as opposed to scrolling through. We can also improve the quality of information consumed by applying a critical eye to those we follow – do pages you follow provide positive, accurate, unbiased information? Do they add something meaningful to your life (humour, critical analysis, education)? Unfollow and unlike pages that post spam, inaccurate information, or overly negative information.


    1. Reduce the amount of information to prevent mental overload.
      Our brains only have a finite capacity to attend to the thousands of information we are bombarded with each day. But, the internet has an infinite amount of information. We can help ourselves to fully attend to social media by hiding or unfriending people who post information you are not so interested in or post too often. On Facebook, you can remove yourself from groups that you are no longer interested in or hide push notifications from these groups in the settings for each group.


    1. Remind yourself that social media is only someone’s highlight reel.
      We’ve always had opportunities for social comparison but social media makes that easier and more accessible than ever. Unfortunately, the majority of us have an unconscious tendency to compare in a negative way. When we do this, we forget all the good things about ourselves. We can remedy this situation by first stopping and recognising posts that we negatively compare ourselves to. Then, we can change how we feel about that information. You can remind yourself that most people only post their highlight reel on social media (their achievements, successes, and talents) and rarely post about bad things (losing a job, failing an application, relationship break-down). Comparing ourselves is not helpful then – we all have lives filled with highs and lows.


    1. Ask yourself, ‘Is social media giving me what I want from it?’
      I found this a helpful question to ask myself during my social media challenge. Asking myself what I was looking for from social media helped me to realise that I don’t actually like having long conversations with people via social media – anything more than a few exchanges and I’d rather meet-up in person or talk over the phone. So, now when this happens I ask the person if they’d like to catch up for a coffee and chat about it more.


These are my top 5 ways to improve your relationship with social media in time for 2017.

Social media is already playing a central role in the lives of millions. For many, it’s their primary news source and means of keeping connected with thousands of followers. I believe it’s essential to examine the role social media has in our lives to ensure it’s continuing to benefit us. Social media can be positive or negative. Ultimately, it’s up to each of us to decide what social media is for us.

For me, improving my relationship with social media (and reducing my use) represents a commitment to reading more books, consuming more art, and creating long-lasting relationships in 2017 – things I 100% care about and am delighted to pursue with a new-found perspective.