In 2005, just 5% of American adults used social media, according to Pew Research’s annual study. Their 2021 report found that 72% of American adults used at least one social media platform, and the majority of those polled said they used social media every day.
The advent of social media brought a variety of benefits, making it easier to keep up with friends and family, find online tutorials like foreign language learning videos and DIY hacks, and connect with people who share your interests. But social media can also fuel depression and anxiety and negatively impact users’ self-esteem.
Below are just a few of the ways you can keep your social media use more positive in 2023.
Positive Social Media
Social media use can foster communication, kindness, and empathy and help users raise their voices about issues that are important to them, such as climate change and gender equality. It can also be a great tool for business owners looking to expand their customer base. The following are some other ways social media can have a positive influence:
- It can inspire healthy lifestyle changes. A number of social media channels promote positive health choices, such as clean eating tips, exercise tutorials, and workout tips. Health influencers are prominent across all platforms, which makes accessing information about healthy lifestyles easier than ever.
- It can help strengthen existing relationships. Staying in touch with friends and family members while working full time, raising a family, or taking online classes can be difficult, especially if you live in different time zones. Staying in touch via social media can help maintain and strengthen those relationships.
- You can meet and connect with people from around the globe who share common interests or similar circumstances. Whether you’re interested in travel, cooking, or mountain climbing, there’s a social media group dedicated to the topic. Social media can also help you meet people who are navigating similar circumstances, such as pregnancy, divorce, or the loss of a loved one.
- It can make you smile. Do you need a mood boost or a five-minute break from a long-haul study session? Social media can help. Funny cat, dog, and kid videos are abundant across all social media channels.
Toxic Social Media
Despite the positive impacts of social media, use or overuse of social media channels can also have negative repercussions. Examples include damage to self-esteem, increased anxiety, and the potential to feel as if your life is not as interesting or exciting as those of others.
- It can lead to an increased sense of FOMO. Lots of social media users only post photos of the most interesting and exciting parts of their lives. The 24-hour circulation of images of concerts, travel, parties, and red-carpet events can prompt users to feel as if they’re missing out.
- Comparing yourself to others on social media can reduce your self-esteem. Social media is full of men with rippling muscles and women who have a perfect hourglass shape. Comparing your appearance to that of an exercise professional or makeup artist can harm self-esteem. Social media users often only post about the positive developments they experience, which can make their subscribers feel as if their own day-to-day lives don’t measure up.
- It can harm your sleep. Cellphone use before bed can suppress the production of melatonin, which can interfere with peoples’ sleep patterns, according to the Sleep Foundation. The blue light emitted by computers and handheld devices can also negatively impact the amount of time you spend in REM sleep, which is needed for cognitive functioning.
- It can lessen the quality of in-person interactions and in some cases lead to depression. People who spend a significant amount of time on social media may perceive their in-person interactions as less meaningful, especially if they’re constantly looking down at their phones. Additionally, significant social media use may increase users’ risk of developing depression, according to Medical News Today.
How to Turn Social Media Use into a Positive Rather Than a Negative
If social media use is having a negative impact on your mental health, there are steps you can take to turn it around. Below are a few ways to increase your intake of positive and motivational social media posts.
- Follow channels and people that make you happy. If news, political, and current events channels stress you out, don’t look at them. Instead, focus on channels and people that elicit a positive response.
- Prioritize in-real-life (IRL) interactions. A vast and amazing world extends beyond the screen of your handheld device. Put down your phone, turn off your computer, and make a point to spend quality time outside your home with the people you care about.
- Delete, unfollow, or turn off notifications for people and channels that elicit a negative response. Throughout our lives, many of us learned the hard way why we shouldn’t do certain things. For example, eating half your Halloween candy in one sitting can make you sick, and not paying attention while using a hammer can be painful for your fingers. When actions have negative consequences, we can change course. Use the same mindset when choosing the people and channels you follow on social media.
Motivating Social Media Accounts That Are Worth Following
After you stop following toxic social media channels, take some time to replace them with positive and uplifting ones like these:
- Animals Doing Things (IG / FB / TikTok) — This channel is filled with videos of dogs, cats, bunnies, baby elephants, and more, doing a wide variety of adorable things. This is a fantastic social media channel for individuals who enjoy cute and funny animal videos.
- Power of Positivity (IG / FB) — Power of Positivity’s mission is to uplift the planet, according to its Instagram page. Its content is packed with inspirational quotes and messages.
- Some Good News (FB/ IG / YouTube) — Some Good News was created by actor John Krasinski to share fun, uplifting news stories from around the globe. The channel has since maintained its presence on numerous social media platforms.
- Positively Present (IG) — The Positively Present page features a variety of inspirational words, quotes, and content designed to inspire subscribers to stay positive amid life’s challenges. The page also includes resources for being more present.
- The Dodo (IG) — The Dodo features a variety of funny photos and videos of pets, animals being silly, and uplifting animal rescue stories. The page has numerous videos of goats, cats, bears, pigs, hippos, birds, and more.
Starting 2023 Off Right
Whether positive social media use is on your New Year’s resolutions list, or you’re simply looking for ways to use social media more productively in the coming year, a number of pages and channels can help you accomplish that goal. If you feel that earning or finishing a college degree is among the things you can do to be more positive in 2023, learn more about how Maryville University’s online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degree programs can help you take the next brave step toward a brighter future.
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BetterYou, “How to Use Social Media Positively”
Fenced.ai, 10 Positive Effects of Social Media
LifeHack, “10 Negative Effects of Social Media That Can Harm Your Life”
McLean Hospital, “The Social Dilemma: Social Media and Your Mental Health”
Medical News Today, “Using More Social Media Increases Depression Risk for All Personality Types, Study Says”
Pew Research Center, Social Media Fact Sheet
Pew Research Center, Social Media Use in 2021
Whole Life Challenge, “5 Ways You Can Make Social Media a Positive Force”