It’s a funny place the online world. And even more so with the proliferation of social networking. From Facebook to Instagram and Twitter to Pinterest, being social has never been easier.
Like any digital technology there are pros and cons with social media. The cons are obvious – we become distracted, concentration spans wane and bullying is rife (among some age groups anyway). For lots of people, logging in can become addictive.
Along with working mums’ guilt, stay-at-home mums’ guilt, childless-by-choice guilt and the all prevailing I-should-be-doing-something-more-meaningful-with-my-time guilt, there’s a tendency to focus on the negatives rather than the positives.
But there’s a reason why these networks and sites have become so popular. It’s a proven fact that reminiscing about your experiences can increase a sense of contentment and positive emotions such as joy. Sharing good news improves your well-being. A New Zealand researcher based at Massey University, Dr Erica Chadwick, spent three years studying what makes people happy. She found that sharing news with family and friends increases feelings of happiness. Social media and the networks we create there provide a forum to share the good stuff and let’s face it, there’s enough bad news around these days.
Of course if browsing social media leaves you feeling angry, bitter or inadequate, don’t go there! But if you gain pleasure from reconnecting with old school/work friends, if you find the information shared uplifting, interesting, funny or educational than allow yourself some downtime to indulge.
Here’s some simple tips for making the most of social networking:
- less is more – join networks where you’ll find like-minded souls who boost your happiness.
- limit time online – just like the kids, you need face to face time too.
- don’t overthink it – if you want to share a special moment, do.
- chain posts – don’t feel obliged to re-share if you’re not into them.
- use accounts judiciously – if you use Twitter for professional purposes, Facebook for friends and Instagram for inspiration, keep posts fit for purpose.
- privacy settings – you don’t have to share everything with everyone. Check privacy and group settings.
Life’s too short to get hung up on the pros and cons of social networking. After all, it’s not compulsory!