Prior to blogging, I admit I wasn’t into the whole social media or online world (unless it was to do some ASOS retail therapy then I was all over it). To me, I never felt the need or really had an interest to update statuses or bore people with my mundane thoughts each day despite having Facebook and Instagram for a number of years. I was even happy to go phone-less for a few days *shock horror* and yes it felt liberating knowing no-one could actually reach me unless they were actually beside me. Since becoming a blogger it’s only natural that I am plugged into the social media world on a regular basis where I get to meet some wonderful people along the way. It’s incredible how we can all support one another in what we do and I honestly feel the internet is a great place most of the time, however, there is an ugly side.
I have seen a lot of negativity recently. Each day I see at least one post about how people have fallen out with certain social media platforms, or how they constantly see unrealistic picture-perfect images which make them feel inadequate and question whether their blog content is even worthy to publish. I have also seen online hate and racism which is totally unacceptable and just angers me so much I feel like throwing my phone or laptop at the wall. Was this the reason why I avoided being in the online world in the first place?
Over the past few months I set myself a few ground rules for myself and little reminders each day to think positively and be happy online (which doesn’t include retail therapy every time).
LIMIT YOUR TIME ONLINE
Practically everyone is online. Everyone is accessible and no one is really “offline” (unless you physically pull that cable wire from the plug socket or switch off that device). Nobody is perfect and we all procrastinate from time to time and I hold my hands up to that. It becomes a habit, picking up the mobile phone and going straight to Facebook/Instagram/Twitter and aimlessly scrolling through post after post, picture after picture, tweet after tweet, you get the idea. There are thousands of profiles at your fingertips and it’s easy to see into the lives of others and before you know it, an hour or two has passed by where I lost all sense of time.
As a blogger, I try to work smarter and limit myself to how often and how long I am online. Certain apps also save a lot of time (Buffer – you are a life saver) as it means I don’t have to worry about manually publishing posts every few hours, copying and pasting #’s also saves you from having to type each one out individually. Even if I am just scrolling through my phone, I make sure I am gathering ideas so that I am still working towards my next post or forming new post ideas. Having that mindset where I am ready to be inspired by what I see has helped me so much in terms of helping me create new content.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO UNFOLLOW/MUTE/BLOCK
When I first started blogging I literally followed everyone back as I felt obliged to, and I can guarantee some of them were probably bots or fake accounts (back then I wasn’t as clued up with the whole buying-followers thing). And so my feeds consisted of all sorts and I wasn’t happy with my feed, it was uninspiring and I didn’t feel any connection between the people I followed.
It doesn’t make you a bad person if you don’t follow people back, you have every right to see what you want to see in your feed. Why should mine contain posts that I have zero interest in or contain rude, offensive comments? I don’t have to see that or listen to them and neither do you.
Over time, people’s style and taste change and it may be that your favourite Youtuber or blogger has content that doesn’t appeal to you anymore. There may be certain posts from your Friends that don’t interest you at all, yet you don’t want to “Unfriend” them in case you offend them – either way it’s ok to not like every single thing you see but there are ways such as Unfollow on Facebook which allows you to remain “Friends” with that person, Mute on Twitter which again allows you to still follow that person but not see what they are posting. On Instagram there is an option to Report images you don’t like or choose to hide certain adverts.
I believe there is never a reason to be horrible online. Ever. Just because you can say something behind the screen, it doesn’t mean that everyone can just say whatever they want. Of course people have opinions and people can get frustrated, but commenting bad things to people over small things is not ok. Don’t forget that there is a real person on the other side and you don’t know their background, there are consequences to what is said and what you may have impact. I find great joy in putting nice comments (who doesn’t to hear nice things?) and sometimes I find it more enjoyable than writing my own blogs.
VIRTUAL vs REALITY
“Don’t compare where you are with the heavily filtered snapshots of a single moment in time that you see on social media. They’re never the full picture” – Blurb
You and I both know that our social media presence is no way near as wonderful as our reality (I don’t know about you but I usually have to take about 50 different selfies before I narrow it down to “the one” and I take about 20 different flatlays before I decide which one looks the most presentable). Don’t get me wrong, I still get those “bad days” where I feel rubbish after seeing everyone else travelling the world, or having that perfect dream house with bathroom goals. But I snap out of it as I know this is their highlights-reel and people don’t have to share ugly parts to the rest of the world. No one wants to see unattractive pictures right? Just remember – try not to fixate on other peoples lives and don’t ever compare your life to someone else’s. I always say to people, focus on your own path and enjoy living your own life.
There is always some sort of drama online and naturally, it always gets attention. Of course we all want to get the latest gossip and who is involved, but don’t forget that the person has feelings and how all the negativity is making them feel. I find that there is a horrible mob-mentality when it comes to interacting social media and I simply don’t get involved as I know it could have a really bad impact on that person’s life.
To put it quite simply, I just don’t give any time to reading or listening to things that I know 100% it isn’t going to make me happy or make me feel good afterwards. Unless I see some positivity from it all then I have no desire whatsoever. Some people thrive on drama whether it’s picking fights or as a result of a misunderstanding. To avoid drama I think twice before I post anything, and ask myself – will it impact on my personal life or my blog? Not all social media platforms have an edit function so once it’s posted it’s out and even if you deleted it, it may appear on other peoples timeline.
What are your tips on staying happy online?