Social media has invaded our lives and the big wigs, like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, seem to be here to stay. As we scroll and like and comment and stalk, it appears our levels of happiness are ultimately decreasing.
Some friends of mine have forgone the entity of social media altogether, deleting their Facebooks and Instagrams with visions of joy and the free feeling of not having their smartphones constantly binging with notifications.
For those of us who can’t let go, or simply don’t want to, here are some tips to steer clear of FOMO -- a very real thing -- and comparing our lives to the filtered ones of friends, family and celebrities.
1. Do not -- I repeat, do not -- search, stalk, friend or follow exes.
This seems obvious, but if you find yourself typing in the first letter of your ex’s name in the search bar on Facebook and his or her name is the first profile to pop up, then I’m talking to you especially.
Social media is meant for keeping in touch with friends and family, building a platform and sharing memories, but one thing it should never be used for is checking up on an ex.
Chances are, he or she is seemingly leading a happy life, hasn’t gained weight and only shares the best experiences of his or her life for the world to see, so no you won’t find validation that you are better off without him or her in your life.
Instead, focus on finding people who want you in their lives. When it comes to social media, I delete, unfollow or block all exes to keep my newsfeed free from the depressing nostalgia of seeing a past boyfriend or one-night stand cozying up to a girl who isn’t me.
2. Limit yourself.
Limit time spent, followers or friends accumulated, and the amount of hashtags you insist are hilarious and necessary.
When you’re out drinking or socializing with friends, watch how many of them are one their phones. You’ll start noticing the eerie white light that illuminates their faces and what they miss out on by updating, posting and sharing.
Who cares if you’re Insta-famous and have 500 followers? Unless you’re making money off your fame, which you likely aren’t, stop focusing on getting as many likes, followers and friends as possible and focus on sharing fun moments or hilarious photos.
Also, please stop with the hashtags. No one thinks you are as clever as you do and we see that the #sunset looks #beautiful with #nofilter by simply looking at the photo; there's no need to tell us again.
3. No more food porn.
I get it: You eat. I eat. We all eat to survive. Whether you’re dining at the nicest restaurant in Chicago or you just learned how to make eggs over easy, I don’t care.
Chances are, I’m probably hungry, and if anything, your annoying, repetitive posts are making me hangry.
Nothing is more ridiculous than sitting with friends over a meal and watching as they snap picture after picture before touching their food to get the perfect shot for optimal likes. Stop photographing it and just eat; your stomach will thank you.
4. Don’t post rants about what’s wrong with an opposing political side, your boss, professor, superior or another person’s religious beliefs.
For some strange reason, people feel like social media is the perfect place to say everything they have ever wanted to say, usually with improper grammar and an alarming amount of misspellings. I’m here to tell you, it’s not.
You will most likely make a fool of yourself and invite comments from equally ignorant or negative people who will only bring you down. Also, the Internet is the Internet: Nothing is private. So before you blast your incompetent boss, be sure to consider what would happen if it went viral or got back to the person.
Instead, try confronting the problem in real life rather than resorting to your keyboard to post a passive-aggressive post.
5. Get creative.
For most of us, social media is a hobby, so why not hone your skills and get better at it? Post less selfies and try out your photography skills around your campus or city. You might be surprised by what you find: unique graffiti you never noticed before, a butterfly resting peacefully on a flower or the look of a palm tree when you’re standing underneath it.
All of these invite your followers and friends to view the world and life you are living from new perspectives. You might realize there’s more to share than just #throwbackthursday or #mancrushmonday photos.
We are the first generation to grow up with social media and cultivate what it means. Let’s make it something positive that benefits our wellbeing, rather than something that takes away from it.
Photo via We Heart It