It takes special effort to evade social media these days. Initially seen as an interesting past time, this has now evolved to meet multiple professional and personal needs as well. As social media is becoming so indispensable to different aspects of lives, it correspondingly demands more and more of our time and energy. Keeping this in mind, it may help for us to be more aware of how helpful our social media usage is in terms of time and energy.
Some questions that may be helpful when evaluating how you use this medium are:
- What prompts me to use social media in different situations? (For instance, when looking for specific information, more out of habit, boredom, or to intentionally keep in touch with friends or family).
- When do I most use it the most? (It may help to think over situations when you are most tempted to access these sites/apps. For example, during meals, when travelling, during breaks at work, etc.)
- How do I feel after using it? This question is helpful for you to evaluate whether the time you spend on social media is a positive influence on you or not (For instance – relaxed, mentally stimulated, guilty for having wasted too much time).
- Are there particular sites/pages that leave me more motivated than others? What about these sites/pages leaves me feeling this way?
After reflecting on these points, you may have some clarity on what prompts you to use this media type, when this happens the most, and how helpful it is to you.
A few suggestions that may help you build on this learning are:
- Identify the apps/websites that meet your needs (for information, entertainment, etc.) and limit your usage of social media to these, as opposed to registering on multiple sites/apps and being overwhelmed or easily distracted by notifications from them all.
- Use your knowledge of how a particular app or page on an app influences you to plan when you use a particular type of social media. For instance, if you have the tendency to lose track of time on Facebook, try and use the site when you have large amounts of free time, such as a half an hour lunch break and not during a five-minute work break.
- You could also access pages of apps or profiles that inspire or motivate you during smaller intervals when you need a break and may be feeling tired or overworked.
- For the apps or sites that you have identified are more to break boredom, or tend to negatively influence you, try and schedule in other activities that you could do in that time instead. For instance, going for a quick walk around your office or neighbourhood when bored instead of checking social media.
These are a few suggestions on how you can become more aware of how your usage of social media influences you.