Social media developed really fast over the past decade. There was so much hope and promise from this new networking to connect people, still there is but over the time, it became something of a mainline drug into the limbic system. Which has led to extremes of panic reactions, depression, self-obsession, cyber bullying and the list goes on.
The best framework to analyze social networking is a concept known as “Co-emergence”. It refers to the ability of any particular phenomenon or experience to manifest as either wisdom or a prison. Phenomenon are in themselves neither positive nor negative, but they only become helpful or harmful according to how the mind attends to them and fixates upon them.
Think about it, is social networking the greatest tool for connection and camaraderie the world has ever seen? Or is it dangerous, time-sucking, isolating us from the real world? Well it’s both.
We love the connections and the friendships. We love the knowledge and the inspiration. We need each other and we need our relationships to stay healthy and vibrant. But we don’t love feeling like less than enough and Facebook tends to leave us feeling that way. We don’t like feeling stressed and overwhelmed by other people’s to-do lists and living room arrangements as we see on Pinterest.
So, I hope you only choose to read what’s working for you right now, what’s lifting you up and inspiring you and not adding more noise to your day. Your online time should feel productive and leave you feeling confident and happy with your life.
Mindfulness is a great tool for managing social media use. Here are some tips:
Set aside a specific and limited time. For example, resolve to set aside 30 minutes after dinner to post all of your Instagram photos from that day, rather than posting as you go along.
Notice whether or not you are checking in with social media on purpose or simply out of boredom or habit. Ask yourself whether or not using this particular moment for social media is consistent with your values, your priorities, and your intentions for the day.
Notice whether or not your impulse to connect on social media corresponds with emotional cues. Every time you feel the urge to tweet or Instagram, take a second to tune in to how you are doing emotionally. Are you sad, angry, frustrated, or jealousy? Can you, even for a minute, sit with the experience, by yourself?
Use technology to remind you to take a few mindful breaths once an hour.
Unfollow every single negative person because reading or seeing their negative behavior can lead to negative energy in you.
Follow blogs and businesses that make you feel good and worthy.
Share what makes you happy to spread love and make others happy. Don’t share junk.
Forget FMO (Fear of Missing Out) of your online world. Fear of missing out on the real things happening in your real life.
Be more selective of your friends and the content you see online, try grabbing news and other knowledgeable facts instead of junk.
Stop reading Facebook in bed, it’s really not inspiring or soothing at all.
Take time away from being online. Each month take a short “Internet Cleanse”; say three days where you are completely unplugged. The cleanses can be difficult, but they are also amazing.
Dedicate the benefits. When it’s time to log off, log off. If its past time to log off and you notice you are still on, just notice that fact, and aspire to have a more structured, mindful session the next time.
Know your intentions. Are you logging on for acknowledgment, attention, approval or appreciation? Ask yourself: Is there something more constructive I could do to meet that need?
Use phone social media sparingly. If you choose to limit your cell phone access, you may miss out online, but you will not miss what’s in front of you.
Mindfulness doesn’t mean avoiding social media. It simply means avoiding automatic and habitual social media use, and making wise and conscious choices about when and how to use it.