Episode 108: Social Media: 4 Keys to Minimizing Regret and Maintaining Sanity
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It all began with my trip to a wonderful destination where our condo was designed for an initial great presentation over the practicality of actually living there for a time.
That concept also definitely leaves me thinking about what social media can do around this same concept.
How many people can scroll through their feed to say, “Yes, these posts definitely mirror my actual life!”
My guess is….No One! And, the truth is, they really shouldn’t.
Sure, you can share a bit about a health scare, or perhaps a quick quip about some unfortunate circumstance.
But, social media isn’t really the place to air all of life’s challenges, missteps, snafus.
The problem is that, as we scroll through other’s feeds we can forget that this is just a snapshot, a small, mostly positive sampling of another’s life.
We live in a world filled with happy, smiling faces on FaceBook and can sometimes forget that those images do not represent a person’s whole life. Most share just the best, brightest happiest moments…. Some of those moments can be very fleeting, no longer than it took to capture the smiling faces for a post then back to unhappy, grumbling, fighting and more.
So, to be our best selves we must stop comparing our full lives to the happy, window-in-time moments depicted on social media. Doing that will, of course, leave us feeling like everyone else is living happier more exciting lives.
These comparisons do NOT serve us!
My first recommendation is Avoid Social Media Comparisons
Here are a few more recommendations to avoid regret as you swirl through the virtual world of social media. Used well, social media can add value, but, forget what you’re dealing with and you can add plenty of frustration to your real life.
Avoid Debates: The reality is that, on social media, Ideas and opinions are shared AT people. Sharing here will rarely mirror an actual conversation like you might be able to have in real life. On social media it’s more about showcasing your use of “smart” words, sticking to the far side of a spectrum of opinion and driving an idea home vs. actually seeking to understand another person’s point of view.
Often in the middle of divergent opinions is a thought that makes a lot of sense. But social media debates don’t move people towards compromise. Instead sharing there continues to highlight and stretch our differences. I do believe it is playing a large role in dividing us……We are all quite similar actually, I just think that communicating on social media helps us forget that as we focus on our differences.
Keep Your Digital Commitments: We have become lax with our invitations and time commitments. Where we used to use a mailed invite, many now use a tag on social media, an email or a text to announce a party or event. As a result, invitations all feel looser and less important. People wait to reply while comparing other options, don’t reply at all, or say they’ll come but just skip it if something else comes up or they don’t feel like going when the event rolls around.
Digital commitments don’t carry the same weight as the formal invites we used in the past. It can lead to hurt feelings and a wedge in what might be important relationships. So, my recommendation is…..at LEAST keep your digital commitments. If some of us continue to do this maybe we can help slow the deterioration of commitment to invites.
Don’t Let Social Media Replace Real Interaction: Social media definitely increases your circle of casual acquaintances. However, we sometimes spend less time in actual connection with those we’d normally see or talk to. Social Media interaction doesn’t count! The problem is that we feel like we know about the kid’s concert or the trip to Florida and there is less motivation to meet up or talk to catch up.
Our closer relationships can then diminish down to meet the relationships that we haven’t invested in at all, where most of our up-keep happens online. Now we are missing real connection and getting only the made-for-mass-viewing version of a close one’s life. This is not the same and can lead to feelings of isolation.
Make the extra effort to stay in connection to those most important to you.
So, can social media play a key role in our world today? Sure!
Share an idea, concept or more in-mass
Find others with similar interests
Reach out in support groups for encouragement
Share about public events, new business offerings, etc……
And, it is nice that we can stay a bit engaged in the lives of those we’d otherwise have zero contact with.
Yes, social media has a place in our world Just use with caution and keep the recommendations I’ve shared in mind to minimize your regret and avoid the frustration that social media can ignite.