Using Social Media to Improve Your Well-being
By Tanya Jacobs
Social media is one of the most unique inventions to come out of the recent world. An international network that links billions of people on a digital level, it’s completely unprecedented, and in theory it should have been a driving force for positivity and compassion.
But not everything can be perfect, and today’s social media sites have been linked to various types of depression, anxiety low self-esteem, and loneliness. It’s a strange notion that someone that was meant to bring us closer together has instead pushed us further apart.
Studies have observed that social media can wear down a person’s self-image, especially on the sites where imagery is the main form of communication, such as Instagram, and Facebook to a lesser extent. The belief is that many people take select, pre-planned pictures of their lives and upload them to the internet with the intention of showing their friends and followers that their lives good.
But it has a powerful affect on how other see themselves, and it’s a negative cycle that has a far-reaching impact. But social media, for all its misuse, can be utilised to bring positivity into your life.
1. Sharing Stories
Stories have been a part of humankind since the beginning of our existence and have been integral to how we’ve learned about our ancestors and the way they lived.
And today, sharing stories with random people on the Internet has a powerful and profound affect on others, especially if it’s a story of perseverance. Websites like Reddit are well known for the many true stories that users have shared over the years, and some of these stories have gone on to change the lives of certain readers, in some cases becoming books or movies.
2. Promoting Events
Facebook, despite the series of negative news stories that have arisen around it, is still an unchallenged force for spreading information on events and festivals, or even just putting a group together to enjoy some sports betting or fantasy football.
It’s a hub for local markets, music festivals, and much more, allowing people to tell a community about what they’re up to in the local scene. There are few other ways of promoting an event in a world where physical media is on its way out.
3. Career Availability
Social media is starting to become an important tool for employers who want to gain a deeper insight into their potential future employees.
Sites like LinkedIn allow users to upload their work CVs, giving employers the chance to do a more thorough back-check on the sometimes hundreds of applications that they receive for a position. Your social media accounts paint a comprehensive picture of what you’ve done in previous years, and employers value this information highly.
4. Learning Through Video Media
Studies have found that almost all social media websites have a negative impact on our lives. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – they’ve all been proven to contribute to the collective negativity that many newer generations share.
The only exception to this rule is the video-sharing site YouTube. YouTube allows content creators to upload their personal video projects, and with enough searching, many of these can be an extremely powerful force of learning. Researchers have found that YouTube users gain positive feedback from watching YouTube on a fairly frequent basis, especially for those that tend to follow the many science and nature shows on the site.
5. Tolerance and Diversity
Researchers have found that there is a direct link between social and cultural tolerance and the use of social media.
Being able to research other cultures and to talk with people from around the world has had a profound affect on the tolerance of teenagers, with over 60% of teenagers agreeing that their social media accounts have helped them appreciate the many other walks of life that exist alongside their own.
6. A Portal to Creativity
Before the creation of the Internet, countless artists and creators had very little means of displaying their work to a wider audience.
That has changed dramatically with the widespread growth of social media. For the first time in history, artists are able to create something, upload it on to one of their online accounts, and display it to the world. Not only does this often mean plenty of honest and constructive criticism, but also a chance to start commissioning work to those that may be interested.
7. An International Support System
Before the Internet, it was difficult for many people to seek help for whatever reason. Often enough, those that were stuck in smaller towns found that they didn’t have access to the same kind of support system that city dwellers enjoyed.
But that’s changed dramatically thanks to social media. People are now able to reach out to others from around the world, seeking vital support when they can’t find it from those around them.