Remember when social media was fun, uplifting … even inspiring? These days, the constant stream of bad news on our feeds, not to mention the added threat of fake news, can make going on social media downright depressing at times.
But the “good” is still out there. It’s just that using social media now, more than ever, requires having a game plan of sorts. These tips are by no means rocket science, but—as someone who lives and breathes social media—they’ve helped me derive more value, and hope, from my feeds.
In all things, moderation
There’s something undeniably pleasurable, even addictive, about Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other networks—from the little hit of dopamine you get from liking a post to the thrill of connecting with a friend halfway around the world. But too much simply isn’t a good thing. In fact, some studies suggest that this constant atmosphere of distraction is actually lowering IQs and contributing to “continuous partial attention.”
That’s why the first step to getting more out of social media is using it less. One fix is to schedule dedicated “social media times” in your daily agenda, just as you would for meetings. Or turn push notifications off so you’re not constantly interrupted. Apps like Forest, Freedom, and Self Control even let you block your own access to certain sites for pre-determined periods of time. The goal is to treat social media less as a snack-food binge—all empty calories—and more as a deliberate gateway to richer, more nourishing content.
Be a savvy media consumer
Back in the newspaper days, the old mantra was, “If it bleeds, it leads”—editors knew that violence attracted eyeballs and played it up accordingly. These days, social media sites are laden with “triggers”—provocative cues that beg for a response—from posts that deliberately incite negative emotions to the gratuitous use of the color red, which humans are programmed to treat as an alarm signal.
Awareness here is half the battle. Scan your news stream with your own internal radar up. Am I being baited into clicking on something here? Is this update preying on my need for distraction or a quick, thoughtless…
CEO & Managing Partner Trajectory Capital. Lifetime serial entrepreneur, CEO, Board Member, mentor, advisor and investor. Obsessed with the infinite realm of possibility in the disruptive innovation driving global digital transformation in tech, digital media & advertising, cloud-based infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and the blockchain.