How To Stop Social Media Manipulating You?
If you work online as a marketer, content writer, content editor or anything similar, there is every chance that checking media for stories, information and quotes each day is a key part of your job. You might not want to keep checking social media, but you have to. It’s just a part and parcel of your job.
Social media certainly has its good points. Instagram is home to some seriously wonderful images, while users on twitter are always sharing fascinating stories and insights. And Facebook, of course, is where you can catch up with friend and join groups. Excellent.
But social media has its downsides, too. Especially when we quite literally become addicted to it.
We say to ourselves, “okay, I’ll scroll through my newsfeed just one more time before I crack on with work.” But then we comment on someone’s post and get stuck chatting for another hour!
It can be unhealthy, not just for your eyes and brain, but also for your soul! Many of us check our Facebook newsfeed as a force of habit. We don’t even question why we’re checking it anymore. We just check it because, well, that’s what we do!
There are other problems with social media and they come in the form of manipulation.
For example, have you ever checked Facebook and envied the great life a particular person you’re following is living?
Or maybe you’ve grown jealous of a close friend and their constant partying, their handsome boyfriend, their pug, their apartment and their great hair?
Facebook can make us and our petty lives feel inferior. Everyone seems to be out there having lots of fun and making great strides in life.
Everyone except us.
The thing is that you aren’t stupid. You’re an intelligent, thinking person who knows that the things our friends show us on Facebook are just their highlights reel. They’re just a snapshot of their lives. They only show us the good stuff while leaving out all the bad stuff.
They don’t show us that time they spent four hours on the sofa, curled up bingeing on Breaking Bad while stuffing their faces with candy and crying their eyes out because their handsome boyfriend you’re jealous of hasn’t texted them.
Our friends don’t show us this. They only show us the good stuff, presumably to make themselves feel better while making us all believe they’re having a great time.
And despite you knowing this, you still react badly. Many of us do.
And then there are the people we follow, people who don’t really know all that well. As far as we’re concerned, these people (celebrities, entrepreneurs, YouTube stars), actually live lives as awesome as their photos suggest. They spend all day on the beach, go skinny dipping at night and travel by private jet.
And that’s when we really start to get envious and even jealous. We unfairly compare their lives to our own, and realise that ours kinda sucks.
As well as being manipulated like this, we’re also manipulated in other ways. We develop FOMO – the Fear of Missing Out. We feel as though we’ve become a part of communities on social media, and we don’t want to miss out on the latest news, gossip and photos. We want to see everything as it happens, which traps us in a viscous, never-ending cycle of constantly checking for updates.
Eventually, we lose time. We fall behind with chores. We fall behind at work. We get stressed. We keep comparing our lives and the way we look to others. And for what?
If this sounds all too familiar to you, let’s take a look at how to stop social media manipulating you.
Eliminate Anything That Makes You Feel Bad
We’re not suggesting that there are people who are making you feel bad on purpose on social media. That’s very rarely the case. Instead, we’re saying that if there are people who are making you feel bad accidentally by constantly posting photos of their “great life”, you should probably hide their posts from your newsfeed.
Here’s a home truth: It isn’t their fault that their posts are making you feel bad. The fault lies entirely with you. If you can’t handle with friends posting pictures of their awesome personal life because it causes you to rue your own, the best thing to do is eliminate it. You don’t have to delete the person in question, as that’s pretty drastic. But you could disable their post from showing up on your newsfeed.
If there is a celebrity you follow on Facebook whose awesome life is making you feel bad about your, just unfollow them. You won’t miss them, we promise!
Mute All Notifications
Why must we leave our notifications on? We do it because we want to be instantly updated the moment something happens.
But why? Probably because we have a Fear of Missing Out.
This is something you really need to overcome. The message, comment or whatever it is will still be there when you check it later. There’s no need to check it the minute it happens.
Notifications can make us feel uneasy, and they can certainly distract us from our work. One moment we’re bashing out an article, and then bing! we get a notification, check it, and get stuck on social media for the next 20 minutes.
Then, we forget we were even writing an article and put Breaking Bad on. It’s only at midnight that we remember that we HAD AN ARTICLE TO FINISH!
Turning off your notifications means you can get more done without being a slave to social media.
Find Better Ways Of Filling Up Your Time
Part of the reason we get so manipulated by social media is that we have nothing else to replace it that’s better than it.
A lot of the time, we check social media when we’re procrastinating. It’s a good idea to find ways of overcoming procrastination, or replace checking social media with something else.
For example, you could go out for a walk, hit the treadmill, have a shower, watch a TED talk on YouTube, read a chapter, do the dishes … be creative, and find ways of replacing social media.