How do you use social media?
People use social and mass media differently, for a variety of reasons, and in a multitude of ways. Some users access media for community connection, to keep in touch with family/friends, share recipes, for entertainment, microblogging, creativity, to post animal videos, use their voice and be an advocate for issues, receive news, be informed, seek information, learn about events, be plugged in or “in the know”, to disrupt or challenge mainstream beliefs and dominant culture, to educate, broaden one’s friend circle, global interests, group participation, promote a business, communication, as a distraction, curiosity, a time-filler, an escape, a retreat, a safe space to interact, and much more. For many across the social media landscape, it’s a place to express yourself without inhibitions, be tapped in to what’s important to you, and be connected.
However you choose to use social media, understanding how and why you use it can help you prevent it from using you. Decide how best to use social media to benefit you. Be proactive and in control of your media usage and consumption. Draw boundaries around how you interact, with who, and for how long. Be mindful of why you’re accessing media and what role the technology plays and offers in your life. How does it improve or enhance your life? How does it make it easier? How does it add value? Or does it?
Consider your time management. Hours upon hours are often wasted on social media. For some, three hours passed in a time warp, you haven’t showered, you can’t remember why you got online in the first place, and dinner burned on the stove. For others, simply passing time is their desired goal. It has become part of the norm, the daily rhythm, and auto-pilot routine to constantly be connected to social media, for business, personal, and casual friendship purposes.
Being clear on why you choose the connectivity to social media and other media outlets may inspire where attention can be redirected or focused in your relationships. Become aware and honest about your role of engagement and the choices you make about your activities online, and within social media forums. Consider the ways you are using social media and how it may be using you.
Make social media networks work for you. If you choose to participate, learn how to direct your usage and leverage your settings. Adjust your privacy settings. Learn how your information and data are used and shared, or sold by the platform provider. Circumvent as many of the content control mechanisms, despite the growing suppression of truth, and the rampant censorship across platforms. Be in control of how you use media. Be mindful of how it may be controlling your mood, brainwashing you, deterring, distracting, or detouring you from your innate truth, dreams, desires, and aspirations.
Don’t succumb to media networks or social media outlets’ desires to monetize your online and offline activities, and every action you take and movement you make. Periodically unplug. Shut the phone off, unplug devices, and turn the computer off. Step away from the screen. Step away from the matrix. Go off the digital grid.
Break the social media constant engagement and tracking cycle. Value and honor your privacy and autonomy. Use discretion when you log your locations. Turn the location services off. Remove your demographic profile from FaceBook’s advertising settings. Disable app and automatic website sign-ins from FaceBook and Google. Lock down your profile and only share your photos, personal info, and content with the friend’s lists and groups you choose.
Regularly back up your files, your photos, and your content. Export and save your social media data before it is deleted for you. The social media networks are actively combing their platforms and deleting accounts, purging pages, groups, boards, and scrubbing away counter culture and dissenting views. Decide if the current controlled direction of traditional social media resonates with you, adds value, or depletes your energy and siphons your time.
How about something better, with integrity, with you, the user in mind? You decide how you want to use a social media technology platform. You’re in control of your content, and how you organize your data, wisdom, resources, and time. You get to leverage its interface and tools to serve you and further your cause, your purpose, and goals. A user driven platform from an empowered approach. An innovative way to use social media, manage data effectively, and in a way that honors your privacy, content, connections, and life. A platform for you to be more efficient, productive, and purposeful online and off.
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~ Melissa A. Curtin