Pursue Your Crew- What Not To Do On Social Media
They say we are living in the most technologically advanced period, ever. They say we have more avenues of socializing with a greater likelyhood of knowing and communicating with people all over the world. They say that social media corporations are reporting more and more users each year. Sadly they also say that people are reportedly feeling more solitary and depressed than ever before. So who are “they?” Well, the American Journal of Psychology Online, for one states that, “perceived social isolation (PSI) is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality.” Did you catch that first word? Perceived. We are seemingly more isolated.
I like statistics. I find encouragement and peace in the positive percentages and some level of rebellion against the negative statistics. Do you know what I mean? Like if the statistics say that 42-45% of marriages end in divorce then I find joy in rebelling against that number and working with my husband to make our marriage stronger than ever. On the flip side of that if studies show that chocolate reduces stress hormones then I run to the store to grab a bar. So what do you think I do when I read statistics that say in a world with more readily available avenues of communication people are feeling more alone than ever? “There’s even scientific evidence that suggests social media use is bad for your psychological health,” according to Psychology Today. Well I get bothered, frankly. After the bother wears off I take action, and I think we all should do the same.
Here’s the deal, when I started blogging I also started to get more aware of social media. I have been on Facebook since it began practically. I love checking in with people from high school, learning what friends that have moved away are up to and seeing updates from family or people in my social circle. I began an Instagram and Pinterest account as well, once I got a few blogs under my belt. I for sure see why the statistics say that women have more body image issues after logging onto social media. Yikes! My hair, clothes, shoes, house, food…all of it looked a little drab after seeing what other women were posting. They had beautiful white teeth, hair that was perfectly styled, adorable coordinated outfits, children that were matching and smiling and a photo of a morning cup of coffee that looked like it could transform my life, as well. I was also feeling encouraged when I began gaining followers. Woohoo, someone likes what I’m about! Score! Yay, this really fashionable woman wants to follow me! It was kind of fun…until…I started getting unfollowed (insert sad face emoji).
Gosh that unfollow bugged me…so did the one after it and the 40 since. I don’t know why, I guess I felt rejected. Had I posted anything provocative, political or offensive?…nope. Just your everyday run of the mill photo or post. I know that everyone is trying to build their following. They friend people and then unfriend them after that person follows their account. The ratio of followers to followees (is that a word?) looks more remarkable when someone has 24k followers and is only following 4k. So yup, I’m learning a lot about social media with my new blogging life.
So what kind of person are you? Do you get motivated, good or bad, from statistics?
Here’s my 2 penny takeaway from feeling lonely or less than after being on social media…
DON’T BE A STATISTIC!
I mean, if checking your accounts 5 times a day makes you feel less than you did before you logged on, then stay off. If you are typing up responses to real-life problems on your friend’s accounts then, maybe you should make a phone call instead. Talk to people!!! I’m not gonna lie, sometimes phone conversations are awkward. Sometimes they are cut short because babies are crying and laundry needs to be folded…but dial anyway. STOP FEELING UNIMPORTANT! Yeah, this may not be a quick fix…but you can get started today on rebuilding a life that is important. You can start by making someone else’s day brighter.
A few years ago a friend asked a group of women if they felt worse about their lives after comparing theirs to others on social media. Hands went up all over the room. On the one hand it seems like we are connecting via a text or a short response. On the other hand instead of feeling a real connection we feel lonely when our page isn’t liked, when we aren’t followed and when we don’t receive phone calls when life gets rough.
Instead of feeling a decline in all the warm fuzzy feelings that communication should bring, do this…
1. Call someone that is posting about a tough time. If a friend posts that she is going through a divorce or a child is sick, text her or dial her number. Its only a small step. It is practically free and will mean so much to her.
2. Show Up! This one is tough for a lot of people. Knock on the door when someone’s life is in turmoil and give them a hug. Be available, go on a walk and talk with them, offer to babysit or help do house chores.
3. Porch Drop for those living close by. You can leave a plant, card, iced coffee, homemade treats, something to make them laugh and feel like they were worth the extra effort.
4. Mail a Card. Why does 42c make such a difference? Whenever we get mail that isn’t bills we get excited! It’s a cheap way to send love to someone near or far.
5. The ever popular email is also a good idea! If you don’t want to post your response to a friend’s account for all to see you can email her. Share in her burdens and invite her to call, email, or text whenever she needs a friend.
6. Build friends up when they are going through tough times. Speak encouragement into their lives. Tell another momma how amazing and strong she is.
7. Making a meal is always appreciated. It takes some arranging to figure out a day and time and possibly even a list of food allergies to be avoided, but make a meal for a friend that needs support.
Ok, so this list is all about others. Building up others is so important because it also energizes us. Just think…when you are plugged into the lives of others they are plugged in to yours. When you hug a friend, she hugs you back. When you bring dinner, you are appreciated and thanked. When you are helpful you will be helped when your time comes. Be available. Log off social media if it is making you feel lonely.
Pursue your crew!
Don’t let those in your life experience life alone. Love others and you will find purpose, meaningful relationships, and when you get denied or unfollowed on social media it won’t be as significant. You can shut down your screen anytime and meet up with a real life friend.