32 before 32- Lesson 22: Social Media Guidelines

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Now admittedly, this is kind of more along the annoyances of social media rather than a life lesson. Considering I was in middle school with the amazing AIM screen names kylerulez01 and illinoiboy1789, early high school years were all about Myspace, senior year I stumbled on to some website called Facebook which helped me connect with my future college friends, and recently adulthood has brought me Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest (remember that? I still have it), Reddit, Snapchat, and most regrettably…TikTok: there’s rules that should be observed about social media.

I would be a liar if I claimed social media is not useful. As mentioned, Facebook helps me connect with my friends and family. Twitter has helped me learn from some amazing teachers across the country. Instagram allows me to stay in the loop with my camp friends. Pintrest taught me some great recipes and fashion combinations. Reddit informs me on the happenings in pro wrestling and video games. TikTok shows my students that I am cool and trendy. Social media is great for things like that! I know that I am a better man, a more intelligent man, and someone who has knowledge to pass on to others.

Social media as you know is also extremely toxic. In most ways it is the mental health that takes the most amount of beating. There are three ways in which social media can be detrimental to your mental health and three solutions for those: 1) The access to news has never been easier 2) The goal is making yourself as presentable as possible to the world 3) It is consuming more and more time

Logging in and finding out what is happening in the world has never been easier. It seems every couple generations with the advents of: mail carriers, newspapers, telephones, radios, cable television and of course the internet. Especially being in an election year, there seems to be a surplus on information of the candidates and what they do or don’t support. As you and I know not all information is reputable or factual but whatever draws in more traffic to the website is what wins. The solution? Lateral reading. What that means is this: any piece of news or information that is put out on the internet is subject to inversigation from the consumer. Cross check your news with reliable websites like snopes.com or factcheck.org which are both reputable websites.

I cannot tell you how many times I have wrote, edited, deleted, saved, rewrote, saved, posted then deleted posts on social media so that it looks perfect. There’s an unwritten social media rule that encourages putting your best foot forward…all the time, every time. Anything that is not considered your best should not be put out there into the world or else it would be subject to ridicule. Many celebrities and influences use this unwritten rule to gain millions of support which eventually would lead to money. Wanting to emulate these idols, impressionable people (myself included) would try to put there best foot forward and only release content that is considered top tier. I will talk more about this in a few weeks. The solution? Remember your why. We have social media to connect and learn. There is no need to turn this into a contest on who has the best life. Produce the content that makes you happy, even if it’s not deemed perfect by the critics.

I spend a great deal of my day looking at a screen of some type. Working in a digital setting for school, putting out writing for you all, and staying up to date on the myriad of social media apps on my phone, watching Netflix on my TV, I spend a lot of time looking at social media. I am guilty of sitting on my couch with my fiancé and we are often both engrossed in our phones for a what seems like hours. Missing out on genuine human connection is something that not only the rise of technology has given, but COVID has also caused. Solution? unplug. Designate time to turn off electronics and engage in some other forms of entertainment. Like reading (lesson 23), or just giving your brain a break.

It’s not easy to break away from social media, but taking some time to review why you use it. Make the best usage of your time, and mental health.

Take Care and Be Well!

-YFBF

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