Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media

UCI Blog Dos and Donts of Social Media 2 e1647288974350

In today’s world, social media is everywhere, and we are exposed to it every day. Social media can impact many areas of our lives, including what we think about, how we feel, and our behavior. With something as powerful as social media, it’s important to be informed and aware of how it affects you personally.

Posting content with purpose and thought, controlling the content you consume, and creating social media limits for yourself are all great ways to ensure you are using social media responsibly.

Post Content with Purpose and Thought

One of the best pieces of advice for responsible social media usage is to think before you post. Consider how what you’re about to post or say will make other people feel. Ask yourself questions like, is what I’m about to say kind, am I causing harm to someone else by posting this, and can what I’m about to post be perceived in a hurtful or negative way? It’s important to always be kind and respectful to others on social media because you don’t know what someone else may be going through.

One easy test you can do before posting something to social media is to consider if you want your mother or employer to see the post. If it’s something that is too inappropriate that you wouldn’t want your mom to see, you probably should not be posting it. Disrespectful, degrading, and insensitive content can hurt someone on the receiving end.

In addition to thinking about what you post, it’s also important to consider how you’re posting it. For example, don’t post in all caps, as it looks like you are yelling. Always give credit to others when sharing their work or ideas. Never share a post, a quote, a photo, or any other content like it is your own if you are not the one who created it.

If you are posting photos or videos of other people, you may want to ask them for permission before uploading your content. Some people do not want themselves posted online, so respecting their wishes and gaining their consent first is important.

Before you post something, consider how it will affect your personal brand. Everything you share online is a reflection of you, and you can use this to your advantage to build your personal brand, empower other people, and advance your career.

Control the Content You Consume

It’s important to think about the content you are sharing, but it’s equally important to have control of the content you are consuming on social media. Studies have shown that social media usage can have a negative impact on your mental health. According to Medical News Today, social media usage has associations with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

Due to these potential negative impacts, it’s extremely important to consider the type of content and information you consume. The best way to do this is to have as much control as possible over what shows up in your feed. Follow social media pages that are uplifting, encouraging, and inspiring instead of ones that create fear and anxiety.

Don’t allow negativity into your feed, and do whatever you have to do to remove it. If a certain person is constantly sharing negative content, unfollow them. If you don’t want to unfollow them, at least mute them, so their posts and stories do not show up in your feed. Your mental health is too important to allow this type of negative energy into your life.

Once you have weeded out the negativity, make it a point to follow and connect with people and pages who inspire you. By following people who share empowering and encouraging content, social media can actually positively impact your mental health. Imagine getting on social media each day and seeing an uplifting quote or someone telling you how amazing you are. This can actually motivate and inspire you to have a great day and do your best.

Social media can be used to build meaningful relationships with others, connect with your professional network, and stay updated on your family and friends. The reality is that using social media is going to affect you, so it’s your job to make sure it’s affecting you in a positive way.

Create Social Media Limits

Creating limits for your social media usage, it’s also important. If you feel that you’re using social media too much or that it’s negatively impacting your mental health, set screen time limits for yourself so that you are only allowed to use it for a certain amount of time each day. Research has shown that social media affects teens and kids more, so if you are a parent, it may be a good idea to set these same screen time limits for your children.

It’s important to stay informed on what’s going on in the world, but constantly reading the news can be mentally and emotionally overwhelming. To help prevent overwhelm, try only looking at social media and the news at certain times of the day. For example, looking at the news in the morning may cause you to start your day in a stressful mindset, and looking at it right before bed may affect your sleep, so you could try only looking at it midday.

There are certain times when you probably shouldn’t be using your phone or social media, such as when spending time with your family or at dinner. It’s important to be fully present with the people you love instead of being distracted by social media.

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