Healthy Social Media Use – Staying Social Online
Author: Sarah Crowe
Modern technology makes sharing ideas and content easier than ever, but striking a healthy balance between how much media is enough can be tough, especially when there’s a pandemic occurring. It’s totally normal to feel anxious and want to know the facts as soon as they’re published, but consuming too much media could make that anxiety worse for some people. Online social spaces can be a fantastic resource for staying social though, so finding what works for you can be a powerful resource for getting your human interaction in!
We reached out to some brilliant people who work on social media to ask them for their top tips on staying healthy when you need to be online often, and we’ve decided to discuss a few of them here!
Curate your feed to suit you
Social media platforms are designed to make sure we’re seeing the content we want to be engaging with most, but with so many people speaking about the pandemic, it can get overwhelming really fast. Thankfully many of these platforms also have some fantastic built-in tools that can help us curate our feed to suit what we want to see! Some people may find muting specific words on twitter useful, or perhaps temporarily unfollowing someone’s Facebook feed if they’re posting too often could be helpful for you.
“As for personal social media interactions – I limited them to Insta and Twitter, and tend to follow/consume information from scientific sources rather than “opinions” – besides, science stuff is genuinely interesting. And cats: I follow and post a lot of cats, because they always help feel better. To sum it up, I only pay attention to what makes me feel interested and not scared/overwhelmed.” – Orchid @orchidgoth
Stay connected in communities, it’s still important to be social!
Now is the time to be grateful for online communities! For many of us, going out to socialise with people isn’t an option right now, but there are lots of welcoming online spaces where you can chat, play and even co-work together with other people! We at CheckPoint have been working on making our Discord community accessible and as welcoming as possible for those who might be new to online socialisation, and there are plenty of other great organisations doing it too.
A lot of Discord servers I’m in have created a special channel for those conversations so that communities can still breathe and exist without being consumed by it, but folks can still discuss if they need to. It’s important for folks to be able to vent and get those feelings out! But it’s also important to recognize that the folks around you might not be in a place to receive that, particularly on platforms like Discord where you often don’t really know a lot of the people there. – Leanne @amblingpanda
Healthy habits for being on social media (especially for work!)
For people who spend a lot of time online, especially for work, setting boundaries and taking steps to maintain your mental health can be really important. Lots of the people we spoke to reported that their biggest tip was to take breaks! Having a bit of a vent and talking about how you feel with other people can be a great way to unwind too.
My top tip is to take breaks as much as possible. In this time, I think the urge to be online or do things quickly is not feasible nor should we feel pressured. It’s okay if you have difficulty concentrating, we all are. Take that extra break. – Trish @TravelSizeTrish
Be deliberate with your social media usage. We don’t have the opportunity a lot of the time to just not check it, but we CAN be conscious of when we’re on it by checking it at specific times during the day, who we follow, and what we choose to consume. – Victoria @TheVTran
My top tip for keeping my mental health in check is to know when and how to take breaks. It’s okay to step away, and come back later with a clear head and fresh eyes. Maybe rant a bit to someone who’ll just listen to what you have to say. That usually helps me, at least! – Jens @jevaaler
To sum things up…
Things will feel different at the moment, lots of people are anxious, and lots of the content we’re used to seeing on a daily basis has changed. We can use online media to feel connected to our world in a healthy way. We can all be mindful of the content we share and the media we engage with.
Always remember that it’s okay to go AFK!
If you or someone you know needs mental health support, please check out our global mental health resources page here.
If you would like a safe, online space to chat to people, our Discord community GamerMates is open and available for you too!