Social media is a great way to stay in touch with people from around the world, but it can also cause an individual to become too dependent so they're actually battling an addiction that adversely impacts their lifestyle. If you've realized you're using social media a bit too much, but don't want to go without it altogether, the tips below could help you strike a healthier balance.
Identify Any Triggers That Cause You to Gravitate Towards Social Media
Some people end up using social media too frequently because they're bored, and others might sign onto a favorite social networking site while trying to avoid someone or something. Try to figure out if there are particular reasons why you choose to use social media rather than taking part in other activities. Once you've determined that, it should be easier to pinpoint underlying problems that might be responsible for your current habits.
In some cases, people might use social media to compensate for the fact they don't have very many friends in real life. During those kinds of situations, you could set a goal of doing something sociable in public no fewer than a couple of times per week. Eventually, you may end up creating face-to-face friendships that are so fulfilling you end up using social media less frequently than before, even if you don't get to the point of making a conscious decision to cut back.
Take Temporary and Frequent Breaks
Once you get into the habit of using social media a lot, you may begin wondering how you ever lived without it. After reaching that level of dependency, try going one day a week without social media, just to prove it's possible. After you learn to stop signing onto social media every Thursday, for example, you may naturally come to the conclusion that although social media is great, you can still have a truly satisfying life without it.
Tell Friends About Planned Dry Spells
It can be very frustrating if people who normally contact you via social media find they can't get in touch because you've decided to sign off for a few days. That can end up perpetuating a social media addiction because it can seem to offer evidence that a presence on social media is necessary for your daily life.
Before taking even a day or two away from social media, post a quick update to your followers and let them know you won't be reachable through that method for a certain period of time. It's helpful to give an alternate contact method or two, especially if you partially use social media for work-related purposes. In that case, don't plan your break during times where being away could hinder business. If you earn a living coordinating social media efforts for the Victor Pest Control Company, for example, it's not a good idea to time your break so it coincides with a seasonal push to help customers deal with springtime pests.
If you don't feel like sharing details about why you're doing away with social media for a little while, there's no need to elaborate. Just keep it short and to the point by alerting people you're taking a break and tell how they should stay connected during the absence.
Become More Aware of Bad Habits
Social media addictions often come to light when others point them out. Perhaps a friend recently mentioned how he's noticed you rarely contribute positively to social media discussions and try to stir up controversy instead. Or, maybe you've fallen into a pattern of swiftly scrolling through a feed of posts every night after a day at work, content to sit in front of your computer until your eyes glaze over and your brain feels like mush.
Whether you highlight one of your own bad habits or someone else calls one to your attention, it's important to recognize and associate it with your social media habits when applicable. After gently forcing yourself to see how social media can either enhance or compromise your well-being, it may become easier to tell when it's time to stop visiting your most beloved social media platforms so much.
Social media addiction is a problem that has been scientifically documented. Don't treat it as a source of shame, but it also shouldn't be something you ignore with the assumption it won't get any worse. The suggestions above could make it simpler to notice a problem exists, and then start to tackle it.
Image by The Daring Librarian