How to Reclaim Your Purpose On Social Media

Jun 30, 2024 | Main Blog | 0 comments

It’s 10 pm on a Sunday and you’re dreading the weekend coming to its end. You decide to open Instagram for a quick scroll before you go to sleep. Your favorite influencer has just posted a new reel, and you eagerly watch it before sending it to your friends. Next thing you know, you’ve been up for hours watching an endless stream of content on social media.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone – in fact, US adults spend an average of 3.5 hours on social media before bedtime, according to a February 2023 survey by the Sleep Doctor.

Social media, when used purposefully, is capable of a lot of good. But when we treat it as a mindless activity for boredom or procrastination, it can turn into a huge time sink with serious consequences to our health.

World Social Media Day is on June 30, and it’s the perfect opportunity to think about your social media use.

Here are some tips on reclaiming your purpose on social media, in an age where our lives are now deeply intertwined with being online.

Turn off phone notifications

Don’t let your phone dictate how often you open your social media apps.

Turning off your notifications will not only limit how often you get disrupted, but it will also give you back control over your social media use.

You’ll be making an active choice of accessing social media each time you click into the app, rather than mindlessly clicking through whenever you see a pop-up on your screen.

Bored? Find a more productive activity

Boredom is undeniably a huge reason for why we spend so much time on social media. Maybe you’re sitting in public transport or waiting for an appointment to start. You don’t have an immediate task in front of you, so you resort to the easiest and quickest fix to your boredom.

But just because you’re bored doesn’t mean there’s nothing else better that you could do with your time.

Set up a to-do list for the non-urgent tasks in your life, such as fixing something around the house or researching for a holiday. Next time you’re bored, tap into this list instead.

If you can’t think of tasks, you could set up a to-read list instead. Use a read-it-later app like Pocket or Omnivore to bookmark and save any interesting articles you stumble across online. Reading articles could also be a great way to satisfy your fingers’ familiar urge to scroll on your phone.

Set up boundaries around social media use

Give yourself some rules for when you’re allowed or not allowed to use social media.

For starters, it’s a good idea to avoid accessing social media in the morning, especially within the first hour of waking up. Our mornings dictate how productive we are for the rest of our day, so it’s crucial that we’re not scrolling on our phones as soon as we get up.

It’s also good practice to limit social media usage right before bedtime – we’ve all experienced the guilty pleasures of staying up late into the evening watching endless streams of videos. It’s no surprise that being on our phones disrupts our sleep.

You could also turn your social media use into a reward for good behavior. For example, on days when you hit the gym, allow yourself an hour to scroll through Instagram or TikTok afterward. This changes it from an automatic behavior to a reward that’s now associated with a more productive task.

Remember that you’re not missing out on anything by not accessing social media right this very moment. Content on the internet essentially lives forever and is also continually multiplying, meaning there will always be an endless stream of interesting posts and videos for you to consume.

Follow mindful and purposeful creators

For all its flaws, social media is still a diverse place with an incredible plethora of creators you’d never otherwise meet in real life.

These could be creative people who inspire you to think outside the box, journalists, commentators, activists, or news platforms who can educate you on world events.

These voices are what make social media a great place for inspiration and learning and following them can make your time on social media more intentional.

Go through and curate the list of people you currently follow – how many people on here are providing value to your life? What are the pages you could be following that could enrich your exploration?

And ask yourself – who are the creators that aren’t improving your life in any way? Maybe these are people whose content you’ve outgrown, or people with unrelatable lives who only make you feel worse about yourself. You probably already know who they are.

Don’t be afraid to unfollow these pages. Think of it as a social decluttering – out with the old and uninspired content, and in with the new and value-adding content.

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