3 Tips to Dining at the Social Media Buffet

Ok, here’s my full confession.  I only read books on paper, I’ve never had an Instagram account and halfway through a long text message I give up and call the person instead.

The adoption of social media has not been fast or natural for me.  As a result, it has forced me to be more deliberate in how I want to engage on these platforms.  Similar with my experience at a buffet, social media presents a lot to take in, overindulgence is probable, and it’s best to have a plan.

My social media strategy so far can be summarized into three principles:

Know what you like to eat

Photo: Canva

It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole scanning posts on Pinterest, Facebook or elsewhere.  There are so many articles and ideas that it can be overwhelming. Your starting and ending point can take you on a winding path.  Once I determined my key areas of personal interest (such as environmental issues and minimalism), I found myself centred around those topics in my engagement with platforms.  It gives me a purpose for the time I spend on social media and I feel like I’m advancing my goals.  It’s harder to be disappointed when you stick to what you like. 

Stick to items that keep you feeling good

Photo: istockphoto, Deagreez

Just like bad food choices can bring down your mood, so can spending time reading tweets, comments, or articles that you find frustrating or negative.  Along with the bad, there is plenty of good – mindfulness platforms, positive quotes, good news stories as well as tips to help us be our best.  I try not to engage in reading comments that are negative or to dwell on subject matter that doesn’t leave me inspired to act or learn more.  My mom always said to hang out with the friends that were good influences – I suppose the same goes for those on social media that you “follow”. 

Know when to say when

Photo: Insung Yoon

Too many times I’ve had the feeling that I should have stopped eating 15 minutes ago.  I’ve had this same feeling scrolling through social media platforms.  Inevitably I’ve ended up going to bed too late and feeling like I’ll never create a great birthday party for my daughter. You know, like the 100 perfect ones I saw on Pinterest (another example of stick to what makes you feel good!). 

This is where setting timers or specific goals for my social media usage helps.  There are many apps for assistance with this too, including Forest where a digital tree grows to show the time you are successfully OFF of your phone. 

These are just a few principles that guide me in my early adoption of social media. I’m interested to hear what works for you, and what recommendations you have for managing your appetite with so many available options.

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5 thoughts on “3 Tips to Dining at the Social Media Buffet

  1. This was wonderful to read. I agree, so much of our time can get wasted being caught up with our devices. I noticed it with my daughter but also myself. I really didn’t need to check my Facebook every hour, I mean, realistically all of my “friends” are at work so what could they post. Once I put my phone down and set a schedule it was amazing how much I accomplished in a day, but I also didn’t have as many headaches. So, together my daughter and I decided that we get an hour at night, where we sit together, each on our phones. We laugh and talk about the messages and posts and sometime we don’t even use the full hour.

  2. Yes, social media and the web in general can really suck you in! I agree that your use of it should be filtered to what you love and that you need to know when to stop! I love your analogy of the “Social Media Buffet”. There are so many similarities and social media offers a wide variety of options and mistakes can be made! Sticking to what you know and love, and knowing when to say when will make sure the experience is positive. Great article!

  3. There’s nothing wrong with being old school! (Coming from the Millennial with paperbacks and paper planner) I loved the well written analogy and it was a wonderful reminder to focus on the positive.
    Keep up the good work!

  4. What a great premise for a post! This comparison is spot on and I think you make some solid points. I definitely agree with you about time management, knowing when to turn off the screen. I’ve spent more than a night or two stuck in an endless scroll binge, the last thing anyone needs is a social media “stomach ache” so to speak!

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