Much has been written about the negative aspects of social media on our health, our stress-levels and even on society. We’ve touched on it here: TMI issues, increased anxiety, and comparing ourselves with others, and there have been countless articles about effects on self esteem, relationships, and our abilities to focus. And as much as it’s important to monitor the ways that social media can have detrimental effects, lately I’ve been thinking about the ways that social media can also be used to promote positivity in our friendships, creativity — even on our health! Let’s be honest: most of us are spending more time than ever on social networks and they’re probably not going anywhere for awhile, so let’s take a look at how we can harness that power for good. (And since I’ve had some great conversations with friends about this lately, I asked a few of them to weigh in)
- Get inspired creatively. My friend Eve (who is the creator of our latest video series) says “Being a filmmaker, to me, a picture is a thousand words, and I don’t want to see all those inspiring quote pictures that float around the web. When I grab my phone in the mornings, instead of thinking of the day to come, I open Instagram. Here I have filled my feed with people that inspire me: minimalist photographers, textile artists, filmmakers, foodies, local fashion design & vintage shops, friends and family. I view these images from a kind-hearted, clean slate without judgement or competition and in turn, they help center me to start my days from a creative place. – Eve
- Send positive vibes. Instead of passively scrolling through your feed, why not give some likes, leave some encouraging comments, and respond to the ones left on yours? Jenn Rose says, “I look at my Facebook page as just another opportunity to be friendly and network. I login about once a day, usually around 8pm, and I always try and “like” and comment on other’s posts. It’s so easy to do and it makes people feel good to have your support and attention. Kind of like a digital high five. I think it feels good to interact with your peers online as opposed to just being voyeuristic.”
- Keep in touch with faraway family and friends. I feel infinitely more connected to my long-distance friends since social media came into my life. On a regular basis, I chat with childhood buddies on Facebook, comment on NYC-based clients’ Instagrams, and send one-liners to my blogging besties on Twitter. It’s tough to keep in touch with all the people I love in this busy world of ours, and social media makes me feel closer and more connected to those I rarely get to see face-to-face.
- Plan a trip. Chanel says, “When I’m planning a trip, I find that social media can be my biggest ally. Whether I’m Facebook messaging a childhood friend for their personal guide to experiencing their new home town, or following a like-minded influencer on Instagram to get the scoop on all the best spots to visit, I love using social media to tailer my adventures to my exact style and interests.”
- Get #Fitspiration. I don’t know about you, but seeing a strong body in action makes me want to get out there and kick some butt, and the plethora of amazing fitness instructors, dancers, yogis, and athletes doing their thing on Instagram provides endless motivation on the daily. From super healthy lunch ideas to partner workout moves, I love that I can scroll through my feed and walk away with ideas for getting back on track or taking my fitness goals up a notch.
I’d love to hear how you guys are using social media for good! Leave a comment and let us know. And a final thought: are we also manifesting good in other peoples’ lives through our use of social media? Are we curating our Instagram feed hoping to impress… or to inspire? As has always been true with face-to-face interactions, if we can find ways to spread joy and make others feel good on social media, we’re guaranteed to get a big dose of happiness right back.
*photo: cub aelera