How to counteract the negative effects of social media
If you crave genuine connection online, you have to be authentic. Some people mistakenly believe that to be authentic, you have to share your entire life online with absolutely no filters. But that’s not true.
You can be authentic and build lasting relationships without oversharing or annoying your community. Here a few ways to show your true self to your online friends and followers…
Social media affects self-image and can cause depression and anxiety
Most people automatically share their good moments on social media. They take a selfie of their new hairdo or post about their vacation adventures or proudly display their sonogram.
There’s nothing wrong with publishing these details online. But if you only show the good side of your life, people may struggle to trust you.
You’ll appear more genuine if you post about your bad moments occasionally. This means you can go ahead and upload that post-workout gym selfie, broadcast a shot of your messy workspace, or share a snap of how your fuzzy hair looks after you run in the rain.
Social media affects self-esteem when we feel like we must live up to our curated social life
Sometimes, being authentic can be as simple as posting about a common occurrence that other people can relate to. For example, I like to post about fun sensory activities I do with my kids.
Just because I do these activities and post about them doesn’t mean I am somehow a trained professional in sensory play. If I tried to act like a pro in real life I would surely fail, which in turn leads to one of the avoidable negative effects of social media.
So if you feel like “oh, I posted this so it must be true in real life” just don’t. You can post a picture of a nice calm moment in your perfectly clean kitchen but that doesn’t mean you have to have a calm, perfectly clean kitchen all the time in real life!
Social media has psychological effects on how we connect with others
You wouldn’t take your friend to a crowded restaurant and spend the entire meal ignoring her. If you did, your friend wouldn’t feel loved. She’d be upset and wonder why you bothered inviting her if you had no intention of spending time with her.
It’s the same concept with social media. If you have friends and followers responding to your updates, take a moment to engage with them. You don’t have to write lengthy responses. When a friend comments, you can say something simple like, “Thanks for listening!” or “Hearing your perspective on this blesses me!” Use actual conversations to connect with others on social media. You will only see and feel the negative effects of social media when you refuse be actually be social.
The trouble with social media is feeling pressured to conform
What do you geek out about? Maybe you love Harry Potter or Star Wars and are constantly vegging out with marathon movie watching. Maybe you live for cute shoes or you’re obsessed with trying different coffee flavors.
Sharing something you love and showing off your inner dork is a great way to be authentic online. You’ll attract other people who geek out over the same things and you’ll have a good supply of frequent content since your hobby is already part of your life.
You can be authentic online and still have your privacy. The key is picking which parts of your personality and life you’d like to showcase online.
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