With the pandemic and being quarantined at home, we all find consolation in using our social media to its full potential. We use our phones even more. Many are reaching out digitally more constantly to our friends, colleagues and long-lost childhood peers. Several people would post inspirational quotes to share positivity to our family & friends. A few more would show off our new culinary skills or our latest fitness regimen. Some even started on a new online business.
It wasn’t long ago when social media didn’t even exist in our lives (Hello fellow Xennials!). Now, having a Facebook account is tantamount to an identification or proof that you are still existing. Social Media indeed has its advantages if used in a positive and effective way. We can inspire people, have a greater reach on people, promote our brand, find successful business, find love (ya, that can happen too!) bridge distances and learn from others. However, like most things if used excessively or in a malicious way, it may have its cons and harmful effects.
Social media in general sadly seem to be getting more toxic and dangerous increasingly. Expressing personal sentiments can backlash at you if voice out opinions that is opposed to the ideals of some people. People are getting too sensitive that you rather keep to yourself to avoid adding more chaos to a chaotic world. Then there are dangers in sharing to the public: threats to the safety of my family and my own, manipulative & crazy people that would take advantage of your openness to the public, the opportunistic hackers (yes, my website got hacked and it caused me a lot of money), the recent Facebook cloning scam and the possible accusation that you are an attention-seeker for putting yourself out there.
SOCIAL MEDIA & THE PAST
My first experience with Social Media is with Friendster. Remember Friendster? It was a very cutesy social media platform where you have your friends very similar to Facebook but in a more colourful & slam book-type of template. It has a special corner for your friends to create a touching testimonials of what an amazing person you are. It also has a feature for you to know who is checking out your profile which is a sad news for silent stalking friends, haha. I was later introduced by my cousin in Canada to Facebook which I didn’t particularly like before. I hated the serious blue and white bland template. I hated the whole poking-me, sending like virtual gifts and virtual kiss features. My personal life during those times were also not in its best shape yet and I was dealing major undertakings & transitions in my life that I lost my desire to maintain any social media account. So 2007, I deleted all my social media accounts. I never missed it. But then those times, the world was not revolving around social media as compared as today.
I went back social media via Multiply after my pilgrimage trip in Sydney, Australia as a way to get in touch with the girls I travelled with during the trip. It was also where I started my blogging. Multiply allows a template similar to blogging platform to create articles with pictures. Then after attending my friend’s wedding in California, USA, I was encourage to get back in Facebook so we can share photos of our time in US, play online games together and keep in touch with friends scattered across the globe. I activated my Facebook account again and never looked back. I eventually joined Twitter and Instagram (My sister forced me. I just thought it was a filter app). I also moved my blog from Blogspot to eventually WordPress with my personal URL.
Social Media can be fun and entertaining. It can be addicting. It can be comforting and inspiring. But nowadays, we have became too attached with social media at it has replaced our real lives (IRL) to the gloss & one-sided view of social media.
I have to tell my close friends that not all in Social Media are real. Most of the time it is a filtered curated version of real life “
We have lost touch to what is more real, what is essential and time has been robbed from us as we mindlessly scroll up & up for more content & update on lives of people we barely even talk to in real life. As social media is talking over our lives, our time and unconsciously controlling us rather than the way around, this is a good time to step back and assess how we can use social media effectively and mindfully.
As I reflect on the several social media accounts that I have, I decided how I will use each account for what purpose, who are my friends or ‘audiences’, how I will control my privacy & the content I put and how I can use it effectively without it controlling my life.
Most of my family & friends are in my Facebook friend list. However, like most Facebook friend list these days, there are many very distant relatives (that you have to politely accept), old schoolmates and workmates you barely talked to and some people who added you to take a peek on your private life like a seasoned investigator. Decluttering Facebook friend list can be painstaking task to do and the option to unfriend can be interpreted as a vengeful personal attack to the person being unfriended or blocked. The timeline of Facebook is like smorgasbord of so much information, endless quotes & memes and daily updates of things going on in other people life. Facebook has wonderful option to filter who you prefer to follow and you can unfollow the posts of those that bring negativity to your feed without them knowing & risk of bruising their ego if you unfriend or block them.
My uses for Facebook:
- catch-up with with genuine friends and family
- photo-album for memories, travel and kid’s milestones (I like their memories feature. I love looking back at the old photos of the kids)
I have my separate Little Miss Honey Blog Facebook Page which I post my new blog post links and sometimes, I share some of my Instagram post.
I hardly open my Twitter account these days. I even set it now to private and stopped linking my blog to my twitter. I hardly have any real-life friends in Twitter. I just follow very few people that post funny tweets like Pakalu Papito & Senyora or informative tweets like The Nerdy Derma & Fitz Villafuerte. Twitter is an excellent way to get quick information on any controversial issues or news, though be wary of fake news. It is the best place to vent out and say anything because nobody really cares what you tweet unless you are really famous. It is fun to check the funny threads and go to a hashtag on a silly topic you are currently interested & see hilarious comments. I also found that the customer services in most brands are very receptive at Twitter. I would get answers from bank, BPI when I have issues with my ATM card & they solved it. I also would get fast answer from my website hosting, GoDaddy at Twitter.
My uses for Twitter:
rantingventing and post silly tweets without judgment
- to check on the latest news and current issues
- source of random entertainment
Apart from my Facebook Page for Little Miss Honey, my Instagram account is a subset of my Blog. It is a venue to market my blog under the business account. I would collaborate with other brands and earn from my Instagram. I do have a some friends & families in Instagram but most of them are my virtual friends, blogger friends I met online & in events and followers of my blog/instagram. My Instagram is highly curated which is my venue to create a space of aesthetic inspiration while showcasing some tidbits of content of my blog. You can find me active sometimes on my Instagram stories.
My use for Instagram:
- space to market my blog
- venue to collaborate with like-minded brands, bloggers/influencers, individuals
- source of inspiration of my favourite celebrities & people
I create a Linkedin just in case I will need it eventually. It still needs to be updated. I hardly post anything there or follow a lot of people. I would occasionally peep in Linkedin and find noteworthy articles to read. I would also accepts to those people who wants to connect.
My use for Linkedin
- For job-seeking opportunities
- Portal for career profile
Other Social Media:
I stopped using Snapchat except only if I want to use their filter but I never post there at all. I go to Pinterest for ideas & inspiration. I can be extremely useful for me, though I stopped creating boards. I dont have and will never create an account in TikTok.
I take careful measures to safeguard my privacy in social media even with my public blog. I kept out anything that would risk the safety of my family. I lessen my social media consumption and I avoid the habit of oversharing. Somethings are best kept to one’s self nowadays. I prefer my social media to be devoid of any negativity except in Twitter when I want an occasional outlet for disappointments & frustrations sans cursing, of course.
I even decided to create schedules when I can open my social media accounts to control how I spend time on my phone. I am trying to practice the habit of no cellphone 1 hour before bedtime. I would put my cellphone far from my bed & would switch to airplane mode. This is to lessen the exposure to electromagnetic frequencies emitted from cellular devices as well as to control the mindless scrolling in social media that can disrupt sleep patterns & waste our precious time.
How about you? How do you use your social media? Are you happy with your relationship with social media? Do you find yourself spending more time in social media than being present in your daily activities & with your loved-ones? This time is a great way to reflect on our social media use. It is good to check on how we can utilise social media for our own benefit instead of being controlled by the endless notifications, update and mindless scrolling.