New Year, new social media you!
It’s safe to say that 2018 was the year we all took note of our social media usage. From reports on how it’s affecting our mental health, to influencers standing up to the algorithm, we’ve all become a little more in tune with our habits in a bid to have a healthier relationship with our feeds.
We’re Alyss Bowen and Lotte Williams, and together we host the podcast We Are Offline.
As best friends of 10 years and avid social media users (in fact, it’s actually in both our job titles), six months ago we decided to check in with ourselves and how much we relied on social media. From evenings spent scrolling when we could be engaging in conversation with each other (read: singing Avril Lavigne at the top of our lungs) to falling into comparison cycles with random people we didn’t know - we soon realised we’d both developed some pretty unhealthy social media habits, and decided it was time to do something about it.
Fast forward to the end of 2018, and we can honestly say our social media habits have changed drastically. We no longer send each other Emily Ratajkowski’s pictures with multiple crying emoji faces; instead we send each other thoughtful posts, quotes and podcast guest ideas. Now, when we meet up, we actually spend quality time together, leaving our phones in another room to ensure they don’t ruin our now flowing conversation, and we speak almost daily about something other than social media. As a result, we’re closer than ever, and finally feel like social media doesn’t rule us, we rule it.
We Are Offline isn’t a bid to boycott social media, in fact it’s the exact opposite - each episode we have honest conversations with the people you follow about their social media habits and how we can all start using it a little more responsibly. But how can we do that? And how can we go into 2019 with clear minds not muddled by posting times, likes, or the dreaded comparison cycle?
Here are three easy tips we’ve developed to ensure social media doesn’t dictate your life this year...
1. Make 2019 the year you get offline (a bit more)
We’re not going to call this a New Year’s resolutions because we all know those never work, but spending more time offline is definitely something we should all aim to be doing in 2019. Getting offline will look different for everyone, but some really easy places to start include putting your phone in another room when you sleep, giving yourself a social blackout once a month, or simply using the in-built function on your iPhone to set yourself limits. Do one for a month and see how you feel at the end. It could change your life, trust us.
2. Post for YOU
Who are you posting for? If you honestly feel like you post for you, amazing. But if you’re being honest (and this applies to us too), a lot of the time you’re probably posting for others, for the thrill of the likes, or for that guy/girl you met in a bar last Thursday on the off chance they’re stalking your feed. If that rings true, then it’s time to start thinking about how you post a little differently. It’s your feed, so if you like a photo but don’t think it’ll get likes, go ahead and post it anyway - not getting a ton of likes on every post really isn’t the end of the world. Your instagram/ Facebook/ Twitter is your space to express yourself, so as long as YOU like your posts (and aren’t hurting anyone else in the process), that’s really all that should matter.
3. Don’t be afraid to hit unfollow
Having a healthy relationship with social media begins with you - but that doesn’t mean that other people don’t contribute to how it makes you feel. The simple fact is, if your feed is full of people you compare yourself to then you’re setting yourself up for failure - so as we go into the new year, have a little think about who you follow and why. Yes, inspiration is good, but there’s a difference between feeling inspired by someone and comparing yourself negatively to them. If they make you feel bad about your looks, money situation, living arrangements or anything else, then hit unfollow. Leave them in 2018, you’ll feel so much better for it.
We Are Offline is available to download on iTunes, Spotify and Acast.