“This is my year!”
“Here’s to 2021!”
“Let’s do this!”
On Monday, January 4, I was inspired, lit up, and ready to tackle all my big goals for the new year.
Were you too?
Ready to kick 2020 to the curb?
Leave the election, social unrest, and coronavirus in last year?
By mid-week, it was clear that flipping the calendar to the new year did NOT leave anything in the past (not that I really expected it too, but I’m always optimistic). And with the Capitol insurrection, Republican v. Democrat, and social media dumpster fire of it all, I had had enough. I deleted my Facebook app for the weekend so as to quit dwelling on it.
But I couldn’t shove my fingers in my ears and “la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you” to current event. I have a responsibility to my followers and to my social media client accounts. So instead, I had to set boundaries around what I wanted to use social media for.
When I notice that it’s time for me to take a little break from the 24/7 social media circuit, I go through the following steps to put some healthy boundaries in place.
- Do I want social media updates from friends and family so I can see their kids grow up from far away? Yes.
- Do I want to be called names and have people jump to conclusions about my voting records when I share a video of Joe Biden? No.
- Do I want to continue using social media to create friendships and help business owners meet their sales goals? Yes.
- Do I want to contribute to the back-and-forth, fiery rhetoric to prove a point? No.
- Do I see how social media can be a double-edged sword? YES.
- Do I believe that we can change the current tide of social media and use it for good? UNDOUBTEDLY YES.
But to do that we as a collective need to take responsibility for understanding how the algorithms on these platforms work and how that can impact our decision-making and the conclusions we draw about people and events in the world around us.
We need to be able to debate instead of question each other’s intelligence. We need to know what is healthy use of social media and what’s an addiction. We need to be neighborly to our social media friends just like people we meet at the grocery store.
So, how can we be socially responsible as we move forward?
Setting Healthy Boundaries
Ask yourself how YOU are showing up on social.
Are you creating content, sharing happy stories, participating in community news, and uplifting others? Do you choose to share your opinion and participate in heated debate? Or do you observe and keep to yourself? Different personalities will choose to show up differently on social. But I challenge you to SHOW UP and show up with joy if you want to see a different social media newsfeed in ’21. Don’t click on the clickbait headlines, be intentional with the accounts you follow and engage with, and make it a point to spread some good on social.
Educate yourself with unbiased, objective news sources.
If you get your news from social, you have to be very careful with the source. Due to algorithms on social platforms, you will see more of the types of news you click on and less of the kind you don’t click on (ie: if you only click on articles and videos from left-leaning news sources, you’ll eventually only SEE left-leaning news. Which will then create a large empathy gap with other viewpoints.) This can lead to siloed echo chambers where we only hear the information we agree with and block out or discredit everything else. To combat this, read sources of news from objective news outlets like npr.org or go to http://www.instagram.com/allsides to see side-by-side headline comparisons or http://www.instagram.com/susiesaysso for American government lessons for adults.
It’s ok to mute someone who is stealing your joy and peace of mind. It’s healthy to unplug and step back from the social networks. Take a beat to think about if someone’s comment is worth your response before you react. And I highly encourage having important conversations around a dinner table or with a beer instead of behind a keyboard. When we interact in real life, we get cues from body language of the other parties involved, and even if it is a passionate exchange we remember that we are engaged in conversation with a real person. Which can be easy to forget behind the screen of a device.
Use social media to create good things.
Make art. Share recipes. Show off your kids. Make people laugh. Celebrate someone you love. If enough of us were devoted to celebrating all we love about our lives, we could influence these platforms for the good of us all.
Join the Joyful Social Challenge
I am NOT perfect, nor do I perfectly implement the above steps at all times.
I am committed to being a light here on social. I want to share education, empowering stories, and love with all of you. And to help you do that too, if you wish to participate, we are sharing our 7-day #mkmjoyfulsocial challenge this month.
Click here to get a PDF with 7 days of joy-boosting ideas for your social media feeds. You don’t have to be super techy, and you don’t need to be a business owner.
You just need to be a person who wants to see love and neighborly values when you log into Facebook. Let’s flood the social networks with happy smiles and reasons we love our lives and the people in them.
Let’s reconnect over our commonalities rather than divide over our differences.
Thank you for being here and being a catalyst for change in all the right ways.
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