Social Media and How We See Ourselves

Have you ever looked at your phone and compared yourself to someone else? Social media today is very misleading and often presents women with unrealistic standards. Below, I am going to talk about how social media impacts a woman’s body image.

A blog written by Anna Sundquist on the National Eating Disorders Association website states that within 30 minutes of engaging on social media women tend to fixate negatively on their weight and appearance. It is very important to understand what women see on social media is not necessarily true and is often misleading. 

girl looking at phone
Photo by Uriel Mont on Pexels.com

Body Image, What is it?

As stated by Medical New Today, body image is how one sees their body, and how they feel about themselves. Women may have concerns about themselves, how they look, the number on the scale, their hair, skin, or the way a certain body part may look.

For many years, people have been learning about the importance of beauty and how it relates to the human body. However, social media often misinforms us and affects how we see ourselves.

How We Perceive Ourselves

With social media being a hot topic, it is very common for women to scroll through the “perfect” photos online that friends and celebrities post and not help but feel negative towards themselves. The National Eating Disorders Association states that it is normal for women to compare themselves to others and that social media makes it a lot easier for women to compare their body image due to what they see. We now not only face people on a day-to-day basis, but we also face how they present themselves online.

Below, Magnolia Creek Treatment Centre for Eating Disorders states how social media is used for influencing women that they need to look and feel a certain way:

  • Body Objectification: Many photos on social media have been edited. This often shows how one seeks approval by how many likes or comments one gets.
  • Comparison: Social media tends to lead towards comparison. Women often compare themselves to images or highlights that they see to try and find happiness. 

Adolescent Girls

Today, social media plays a big role in how young women see themselves. They go online and see these “perfect” photos and this teaches them at a young age to not accept their body, or that flaws are imperfections and need to be changed.

In my opinion, this is setting young adolescents up to think that they need to change the way they look so that society will approve. The influence of social media can also lead to eating disorders as young women often think they need to look a certain way. This results in them not eating properly in hopes that their bodies will look the same as what they see online. 

teen girl taking a selfie
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Photoshop and Filters

As stated by INSIDER, people use Photoshop and filters to take away their flaws and create an unrealistic image of themselves. The use of filters creates a fictional fantasy and makes society around them perceive that this is the “best” life. When in reality, this is hurting and teaching women that it is not okay to love the skin that they are in.

I personally believe that social media should have to identify when a photo has been manipulated. If this was made mandatory then I think it would teach women to love their body, and that you don’t have to look a certain way to be accepted by society. People should love you the way you are!

Next time you’re scrolling on social media, remember that things are not always as they seem. The photos you see, and the people you interact with can have a big impact on your body image. If you think that social media has affected your self-perception, you may need to re-evaluate how you are using social media.

You are enough quote
Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

Facebook: Have you ever looked on social media and compared yourself to others? Read more about how social media is affecting women today! https://bit.ly/3idrstx

Twitter: Does social media affect your perception, read more: https://bit.ly/3idrstx #WomenSupportingWomen #BeTheChange

Social Media vs. Mental Health

Having good mental health is something we all strive for. It is also something that many people including myself struggle with. When you put struggling mental health paired with negative interactions, in this case on social media, it can have a very bad result.

People love to hide behind their anonymous online faces. No one knows who they are or where they live. In so many instances there’s no consequence for saying something mean online. Due to this nature on social media it becomes difficult to truly hide away from negative interactions.

Health and Social Services Haldimand and Norfolk

For people who struggle with depression, anxiety, and a myriad of other mental illnesses it can be challenging to function on a day to day basis. Some days you will see posts about positivity and happy things and other days you will be faced with cruelty and sadness. It can be overwhelming. How do we easily sort out the bad stuff?

Unfortunately there is no easy way to do this. The only way to truly avoid the bad social media stuff is to avoid the platform itself. It almost becomes a terrible addiction, wanting to see more but it continues to make you feel worse. Luckily as the world changes and evolves there are more outlets for people to use who need help. It’s definitely not perfect but it is a start.

For me I find every so often avoiding social media can be very good for the soul. I used to have a fear of missing out by taking a break but there really isn’t anything that important to miss. Sure I wouldn’t get to see that new post by my favourite content creator right away but it’s not like it disappears. They’ll most likely still be there tomorrow or the next day. At the end of the day you have to help yourself first.

How to Make Self-Care a Competitive Advantage | Ashley Janssen Consulting
Ashley Janssen Consulting

Unfortunately there will always be crabby, unhappy people that have nothing to do but complain but if you take care of yourself and be self-aware when using social media than it can work out in your favour. Do you struggle with negativity on social media?

COM0011 – Blog 2 – Are you prioritizing your mental health?

Social media and the Internet have the potential to do great things in our lives.  It allows us to interact with friends and family or to stay up to date on current world events.  But what is it doing for our mental health?  Specifically, teenagers who see their friends socializing without them can suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and anxiety.   It can be hard to live up to the expectations that you feel society is putting on you.  The rise of anxiety, depression, and eating disorders have risen in teenagers today.  Although this may not be directly related to social media, I believe the correlation is not a coincidence.

Photo Source

How often do we check in with our friends?  Are we involved in their lives, or do we have a social media relationship?  Is it limited to double tapping that picture?  Especially relating to those who already suffer with some sort of anxiety or mental health issues.  We were suddenly thrust into a global pandemic where meeting with our friends was severely frowned upon.  

Photo Source

As you can see in Figure 1, the largest age group with anxiety is ages 18-24.  However, this graph does not include data from teens who would feel the most withdrawn from their regular routine of school, parties, and friends.  

                  Mental health has been an issue for years, but among the pandemic it has come to the forefront.  Bell Canada started #bellletstalk in September of 2010 to promote mental health awareness.  

                  What else can we do to promote mental health awareness through social media?


Jones, G. (2021, February 8). Racism and eating disorder diagnosis and treatment. More. https://more-love.org/2020/06/06/racism-and-eating-disorder-diagnosis-and-treatment/. 

Kamal, R., Panchal, N., & Cox, C. (2021, February 10). The implications of Covid-19 for mental health and substance use. KFF. https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/. 


Facebook: Has your mental health become a priority for you? Or have you let it take the back burner in your life? Take a look at my blog to see how it affects others. https://bitly.co/74oD9k


Twitter: How is social media affecting mental health in teens? Look at my blog. https://bitly.co/74oD9k #mentalhealthawareness #socialmedia

YouTube Adds a New Way For Creators to Monetize Their Content Using Super Thanks

YouTube added another way for content creators to monetize their content using Super Thanks. Super Thanks are like Super Chats and Super Stickers, two other ways that content creators can monetize their content by allowing people to donate directly to them, except this feature is used on videos instead of livestreams and Premieres.

People who donate to a creator using Super Thanks will get a GIF and a comment that stands out in the comment section of that video. Currently you can choose between four price points, starting at $2 and goes up to $50.

The feature is currently in beta but is available to thousands of creators in the YouTube Partner Program and is available in 68 countries.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

There are two downfalls I see to this feature. One is that it does not list Super Thanks comments at the top of the video, meaning if a creator gets hundreds or thousands of comments on their video, they might not see the comment. This defeats the purpose of this feature as it is supposed to show appreciation to the content creator and if the creator doesn’t see it, this feature is not doing its job. The second problem is that it does not allow people who use Super Thanks to donate anonymously and will show the donation amount to everyone even if the person does not want that.

Hopefully the beta will fix these problems, but I think this is a great feature that YouTube added. What are your thoughts on Super Thanks? Do you think you would ever give a Super Thanks to a content creator?


Twitter: You can now give your favourite YouTube creator a #SuperThanks Check out my thoughts out on it: https://bit.ly/2Wqs8Di

Facebook: Super Thanks is now in beta on YouTube. Would you ever give your favourite content creator a Super Thanks? Here are my thoughts on this newest YouTube feature: https://bit.ly/2Wqs8Di

How to Make Money using Social Media

There are many ways to make money on social media and here are the most popular ways. Also, I will tell you the top three in two categories with their approximate earnings. I could do a lot more but we would be here all day. While I was researching this topic, I was amazed at how much people can make. The earnings will be from 2019 to 2020.

YouTube – Monetizing your content

  • Ryan Kaji – Has 41.7 million subscribers, 12.2 billion views and has made an estimated $29.5 million since 2015. He reviews toys and does unboxings.
Jeffree Star
  • Jeffree Star – Has 16.9 million subscribers, 600 million views and has made an estimated $15 million just from YouTube. He is a makeup guru. Also, he has made millions more from launching his own makeup brand.
  • Nastya – Now this little girl hit the jackpot of YouTube. She has 190.6 million subscribers, 39 billion views and earns approximately $18.5 million. She shares this channel with her father. They do experiments and basically vlog their day

TikTok – TikToks Creaters Fund. Must be at least 18 to apply. Now this is to make money straight from TikTok. This does not include endorsement deals or being an influencer. The more followers you have the more companies will want to make deals with you. Here are the three most popular TikTokers.

  • Charli D’Amelio – Charli has 104.7 million followers. She gained popularity from a dance called the Renegade, but she just post whatever content she wants. She makes approximately $4 million.

  • Addison Rae Easterling – Addison has 73.3 million followers. She is known for her dancing. she earned approximately $5 million.
Addison Rae

  • Zach King – Zach has 54.3 Million followers. He was popular on another app called Vine, so most of his followers came from there. He gained his popularity from a clip called “Jedi Kittens”. He makes approximately $5.17 Million per year.

Now the estimated money that each individual makes, is just from their respected channels. This does not include partnerships, endorsements or collaborations. So you can just imagine their actual yearly earnings.

Do you think having a YouTube channel would be hard work or relatively easy work?

Would you be interested in starting your own channel or TikTok?

Refrences

Torre, E. (2021, January 26). Ten most popular TikTokers. Influence 4you.

https://blogen.influence4you.com/the-10-most-popular-tiktokers/

Berg, M & Brown, A. (2020, December 18). The Highest Paid YouTuber Stars Of 2020. Forbes.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maddieberg/2020/12/18/the-highest-paid-youtube-stars-of-2020/?sh=72204ecf6e50

WATCH YOUR WORDS





Watch your words (1) (cdn.pixabay.com http://bitly.ws/fKHW)

 

To clearly communicate your message and avoid the traps of misunderstanding part 2

Let’s face it, communicating clearly to be understood can be a daily challenge, whether it is in a face-to-face situation or email or social media. 

In my last blog Words Matter https://bit.ly/36LJsER it illustrates by a real example on how words can be misread or misconstrued.

Messaging process

Let us try to understand simply just how the brain can process a message. The whole process of ‘encoding’ and ‘decoding’[2] the message ‘sent’, starts with the ‘sender’ with an intention, an idea that is encoded to transform that abstract idea into a communicable message. This message can be transmitted by using words, symbols, pictures and even sounds.

The receiver is the reader of that message. That reader will than decode or interpretate the message obtained.  Simple, right?

Where the challenges arise is in the social context of the ‘encoded’ and ‘decoded’ message. Here is what this could look like:

HOW AN IDEA IS SHAPED, TRANSMITTED AND RECEIVED (2)

What is your intention?

An old Taoist story illustrates the hidden aspects or filters behind the intention. It is called the Old Gnarly Tree.  The story is about a very old twisted and knobby tree in a large forest filled with tall and beautiful trees.  One day a lumberjack arrived and looked around to see what trees would serve his purpose. He wanted the ‘finest’ and straightest trees to chop down to make planks to build houses and boats.

He appeared in front of this old gnarly tree and thought to himself: “What a useless tree. It is so ugly.” As his thought passed, a monk happened to be walking by. The old monk looked at the knotted tree and smiled and sat down beneath it to rest in its shade.

Years later, many people came to rest under that crooked tree to play, picnic, rest and just enjoy the only tree that remained from that once large forest. (The Useless Tree  http://bitly.ws/fLCa )

Did you get the message in the story about intention? What are the ways that you formulate your intention so your message will be clearly transmitted?

Watch your words: they can sting or soothe

Ok. You understand the importance of thought process and how a meaning to your post can be coloured by culture, language, beliefs, attitudes, judgments, fear, and life’s experiences.  That sharing of a message also requires the close attention to the words used. Here is a quote that illustrates that very importance.

Look at a field of wheat. The minute it becomes ripe and heavy, it bends over. Nothing is lost by being humble and giving respect to others. Give respect and you get respect. Respect is like an echo.

If you say, «Hello, my dear bother, » you will get, «Hello, my dear brother, » in return. If you say, «Hey, you stupid fool, » you will get that back instead.

Sri Swami Satchidananda, 1977, Beyond Words, The Integral Yoga Publication, p139

Much research has been undertaken to show how words shape us, such is Masaru Emoto’s on how words could affect the human consciousness. He tested water in a glass and exposed it to different words, amongst other things like music and pictures. This water was then frozen for the designated time of his experiment’s protocol.  The different waters produced various crystalline shapes dependant on the words used – loving, pleasing, and negative intentions and various words. The images below show some of his results.[3]

M. Emoto’s research on water and the impact of words on it (4)

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC

We can interpret from this Satchidananda’s quote and Emoto’s experiment that words can break or make a person – feel bad about themselves or feel good.  Words then can have a negative aspect leading into the risks of social media use and the issues surrounding the user’s mental health.

Next blog will take us into the world of social media and words impact. Stay tuned.

How can we be more conscious about our intention and words used? Tips for success

Here are some tips to ensure that your communication is received by your follower in a clear, conscious manner. (Hopefully…)

1- AUDIENCE COMES FIRST: Be aware that your communication or your post is well-balanced on the “narcissism ratio[4]”, which is a way of accessing how many “I”, “me”, “my”, “we” are in your post to the “you” and “yours”. You want to engage the reader, so make it more about them, than you. This helps to develop real connections and open up your readership and conversations.

2- A SYMBOL CAN BE A THOUSAND WORDS: Use emojis wisely at the right place, at the right time and not a long list of them, where the reader is going to have to try to figure out what you mean. Be clear here too.

3- CLARITY: Write short sentence in 7 to 11 words, otherwise you are running the chance that the reader will not understand what your message is.  Simple language is best but if you know your audience use the terminology that is familiar to them.

4- BE CONCISE – Keep the reader alert and not bored. You do not want them to be trudging a long-winded paragraph to get to the point of your message.

5- FRAME AND REFRAME YOUR IDEA: Repeat your main points in at least three different ways. While trying to get a message across always focus on your potential reader by repeating your many points or highlights in a least three different ways. This is a lesson that I learned teaching, because sometimes meanings are not captured immediately, Reframe the idea in another way, the reader will catch it this time…if not it was not meant to be

6- BE CONCRETE. Offer some details and examples to support your message. Be focused so you can stand behind your words.

7-BE COHERENT. Be logical and organize your ideas in your post where all the points you have presented tie into your main topic.

8- FIT THE AUDIENCE – write for your audience – be sure that the language and level of education fit, have correct grammar, names, titles. Be precise.

9- KNOW YOUR COMMUNICATION STYLE: Ensure that your tone is consistent throughout giving it a readable flow and ultimate engagement on the part of the reader.

10- BE AWARE, APPROPRIATE AND INCLUSIVE: Use neutral, bias-free language. Check out Algonquin College’s Inclusive Terminology Glossary[5]

11- LET GO OF FILLER WORDS: Last for this list, is “to be frank with you” (that phrase is really one of my pet peeves…grrrr.) “You know” avoid the filler words “kind of” “basically”, “you see”.  Does it not give the reader the sense that you are struggling to get your message across or lack expertise? “Frankly” …

RECAP

We value the connections that we create and nurture through social media by making the right choices of words. We have touched upon many elements on how to watch our words from:

  • Correctness of spelling,
  • Using bias-free language,
  • Knowing the audience to keep it alert
  • Clear, concise messaging
  • Your audience is number 1.

What is your favourite way for creating a clear message to engage your readers?

Let me know your thoughts on this.

I appreciate your time in reading my blog. Please stay tuned for the up-coming blog on IMPACT.

Cheers, Meherbani Kaur

Facebook:  Bring clarity to how you communicate online?  Watch your words.  Check out my blog http://bitly.ws/fMMV

Twitter:  Read my tips on Watch your words for the best sharing on social media.  #claritywithwords http://bitly.ws/fMMV

References

EDUCATION EXECUTIVE, The seven Cs of Communication, June 28th 2017 http://bitly.ws/fLGs


[1] (cdn.pixabay.com http://bitly.ws/fKHW)

[2] Wikipedia, Encoding/decoding model of communication

[3] Emoto, Masaru, 2004, The Hidden Messages in Water, Beyond Words Publisher.

[4] Murphy, Mark, If you want to be more charismatic, stop saying this word, April 30, 2021 http://bitly.ws/fMLB

[5] Algonquin College Inclusive Terminology Glossary pdf

Aspiring Prime Minister By Day, TikTok Star By…Day

I had a bit of a chuckle when reading the course content about governments and social media. We’ve come such a long way with technology in a short length of time, and the pandemic has made everything virtual, so there were a few examples that the government is now doing in the present.

We also read about Obama’s election and how social media played a role. It reminds me of a Canadian politician who has a unique approach to social media. Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP party, has a TikTok account where he piggybacks onto social media trends with a spin towards his cause and he and does it well. This is something that is very new in politics and there are many political figures who are thriving on social media – AOC, Obama, and previously Trump are a few examples.

I don’t know if Singh’s social media accounts are enough to win votes, but the spread and appreciation for the content must convert to something positive. It could be awareness, particularly with a younger crowd, which is beneficial for a political party leader.

Post Malone has publicly supported him, though he isn’t even Canadian, but sharing that content with his followers introduces Singh to a huge group of people.

@thejagmeetsingh

Young people are going to make history in the next election!!! #greenscreenvideo

♬ Stromae Alors on Danse – ᴍᴇɢᴜᴍɪ & ᴋʏᴏ 🦋

Do you follow politicians on social media? If so – why do you enjoy following them?

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Personally, I like seeing politicians active on social media. I’d argue it’s a great way to reach a wide range of people, and it’s the perfect place to provide quick updates and comments throughout the day. And Jagmeet Singh has managed to make his content entertaining at the same time.

Following politicians is a small window into who they are – the issues they care about and the language they use will help followers develop an opinion on them.

For the most part, I think social media has provided a unique and beneficial platform for governments to use for a variety of reasons. Trump’s use of Twitter and subsequent ban is a topic for its own blog post, but if the platforms are used wisely they can certainly be worthwhile.

For social media, I would post the following to engage followers:

Facebook: If you’re not following this politician, you should be. Read my latest blog about Jagmeet Singh and how he strategically uses TikTok.

Twitter: How #JagmeetSingh is reaching youth in ways other politicians might learn from. Read about it here.

BLOG2: Have Social Media Posts Hurt Your Employment Opportunities?

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Have you ever stopped to wonder whether what you post on different social media platforms has affected employment opportunities or opportunities for advancement in positions you have held or currently hold? Have employers used your posts to determine whether or not you should be hired? Have employers used posts as a reason to fire employees?  Does your company have a social media policy? So many questions to be answered.

I have informally interviewed many Human Resource professionals, and the answer to all of the questions above has been “yes.” Employers might not admit it openly, but employers will “Google” your name to see what information is available. Posts might be text, graphics, or videos used on many different platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Reddit, Instagram, or Twitter, for example. Have you commented before, either positively or negatively, about the company to which you are applying or currently employed with? Filled out a survey? Posted a review? Gone on a rant? Aired your political or religious views? Discussed sexual orientation? Chosen a side on a controversial topic? Demonstrated poor writing skills? These are questions that employers are not allowed to ask during an interview, but many potential employees make the answers readily available in their social media posts.

Do Human Resource professionals use social media to help make hiring decisions? According to The Harris Poll conducted in early 2020 on behalf of Express Employment Professionals, nearly seventy percent of hiring professionals use social media to aid with hiring decisions. When vetting potential or current employees by viewing their social media posts, Human Resource departments know that the information found might have the potential to be considered discriminatory hiring practices. Hiring decisions could be potentially biased and in violation of the Canadian Human Rights Code, but that does not mean that it does not happen. You may never know the “real” reason you did not get that position, promotion, bonus, or scholarship.

Did you know that many companies use data mining tools such as web scrapers? They can use these tools to find out how people respond to or review a company’s marketing campaign or how they comment about new or existing products. However, these tools can be used in other ways as well. Many companies consider web scraping tools a great aid and cost saver for Human Resource professionals. Again, when these tools are scouring the internet for information, might your personal information be caught in that net?

So will you be more careful with your future posts? Perhaps you will try to “clean up” or remove “questionable content”? Maybe you will make some decisions based on privacy tools available through different social media platforms to lock down your accounts? Perhaps your posts will use an alias instead of your real name? In the end, it is up to you! I will leave you to answer this question: Do you think it is fair that some employers seek out your information online and make hiring decisions based on that information? As always, I look forward to your comments. Cheers!

Check out the video below titled Social Media Clean Up | Tips for Students and Job Seekers (5:06) at The Jam TV Show for clean up hints and tips.

Looking for Greater Detail or Interesting Stories? Check Out The Links Below:

Dobson, Sarah. Angry off-duty tweets challenge employers. (March 16, 2020)

Siu, Emily. Caution to Employers Using Social Media to Vet Potential New Hires. (April 15, 2021)

Facebook and Twitter Promotions

Facebook:  Are you your own worst enemy?  Check out my new blog to find out how your social media posts might be causing you to miss employment opportunities. https://bit.ly/3BHuw8U

Twitter:  Do you want to improve your opportunities for employment?  Read my new blog about how your social media posts might be blocking employment opportunities.  https://bit.ly/3BHuw8U

Sources

14 Canadians who were fired for social media posts. (July 12, 2015)
https://careers.workopolis.com/advice/14-canadians-who-were-fired-for-social-media-posts/

10 Social Media Tips For Employees. (Accessed July 25, 2021) Retrieved from Algonquin College: https://www.algonquincollege.com/ac-social-media/10-social-media-tips-for-employees/

Arthur, Mckenna.  Collecting HR Data With Web Scraping (Why It Matters). (September 15, 2020) https://scrapingrobot.com/blog/hr-data/

Canadian Human Rights Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-6). Retrieved from the Justice Laws website https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/h-6/page-1.html

Express Employment Professionals. Don’t get “Blocked” From a New Job Because of Social Media. (October 14, 2020) https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2020/10/14/2108532/0/en/Don-t-Get-Blocked-From-a-New-Job-Because-of-Social-Media.html

Dobson, Sarah. Angry off-duty tweets challenge employers. (March 16, 2020) https://www.hrreporter.com/employment-law/news/angry-off-duty-tweets-challenge-employers/326985

Siu, Emily. Caution to Employers Using Social Media to Vet Potential New Hires. (April 15, 2021) https://www.canadaemploymenthumanrightslaw.com/2021/04/caution-to-employers-using-social-media-to-vet-potential-new-hires/

Creating Content for the Real World

As content creators, we instinctively create material that that resonates with ourselves and those just like us.  While there is value in writing about what we know, our challenge is to improve our reach by making our content relevant to a wide audience.  One strategy is to tailor our content to a more diverse audience.

Understanding Our Fellow Internet Travelers 

Attractive, young white adults. Photo from canva.com

Let’s begin with an overview of Canadian diversity:

  • Nearly 5% of Canadians self-identify as Aboriginal (Government of Canada, 2021)
  • Over 22% of Canadians self-identify as a visible minority (Government of Canada, 2021)
  • 5% of Canadians identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (Carlson, 2012)
  • 20% of Canadians aged 15 years and over have one or more disabilities that limit their daily activities (Government of Canada, 2018)
  • 22% of Canadians are 65 or older (Government of Canada, 2021)
  • Approximately 25% of Canadians are obese (Government of Canada, 2011)
Group of individuals of diverse ages and ethnicities.
Photo from canva.com

Addressing our content to an audience of young, white, straight, slender, healthy adults no longer serves us well, and is a disservice to our audience.  So how do we improve?

Current literature points us toward the concepts of “diversity and inclusion” which have gained great traction in businesses. 

Diversity is the presence of differences within a given setting. In the workplace that can mean differences in race, ethnicity, gender or any other number of things. Inclusion is the practice of ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging and support from the organization (Built In, n.d.)

Translating the concept to social media is a little tricky, but perhaps the easiest way to do that is to break the strategies down into content solutions and technology solutions.

Content Tips

Woman writing on her computer
Photo from canva.com

These strategies will engage a more diverse audience (Sehl, 2020; Tuke, 2018):

  • Use images that represent the full scope of your desired readership
  • Mark the holidays of religions other than your own
  • Use gender-neutral language (“folks” or “friends” not “ladies” or “guys”)
  • Use inclusive language (avoid words like “crazy” or “insane”)
  • Avoid jargon that may be unfamiliar to new immigrants
  • Partner with diverse content creators, or organizations that represent diversity and inclusion

Technical Tips

The following inclusion strategies assist diverse readers to connect with our content, despite their newness to English, a reading disorder, or physical limitations (Sehl, 2020; Tuke, 2018).   Remember that the visually impaired may be using screen readers.

Man editing on his computer
Photo from canva.com
  • Avoid unusual fonts
  • Use a larger font, in colours that stands out from the background
  • Put hashtags at the end of the post
  • Don’t overuse capital letters or emojis
  • Add photo descriptions
  • Capitalize each word in a hashtag (“Camel Casing”)
  • Caption videos for the hearing impaired
  • Use the “Alt Text” feature to add photo descriptions for screen readers (and help search engines find you.)  Here is an excellent article:  https://symphonyagency.com/alt-text-for-social-media/

Time Well Spent

The benefits of these extra steps should include a larger, more diversified audience.  They also allow our brands to contribute to a more equitable and inclusive society.

Have you ever felt excluded or disadvantaged by social media? What tips would you add to the list?


References

Ashwood, Matt. “The Complete Guide to Adding Alt Text for Social Media Images.” The Symphony Agency, 24 Feb. 2021, symphonyagency.com/alt-text-for-social-media/.

Canada, Public Health Agency of. “Government of Canada.” Canada.ca, / Gouvernement Du Canada, 23 June 2011, http://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/healthy-living/obesity-canada.html.

Carlson, Kathryn Blaze. “The True North LGBT: New Poll Reveals Landscape of Gay Canada.” National Post, 6 July 2012, nationalpost.com/news/canada/the-true-north-lgbt-new-poll-reveals-landscape-of-gay-canada.

Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. “Canadian Survey on Disability, 2017.” Statistics Canada , 28 Nov. 2018, www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/181128/dq181128a-eng.htm.

Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. “Highlight Tables, 2016 Census.” Statistics Canada, 8 Feb. 2021, www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/dp-pd/hlt-fst/index-eng.cfm.

Sehl, Katie. “Inclusive Design for Social Media: Tips for Creating Accessible Channels.” Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard, 15 Oct. 2020, blog.hootsuite.com/inclusive-design-social-media/.

Tuke, Holly. “6 Ways to Make Your Online and Offline Content Accessible for Blind and Visually Impaired People.” Life of a Blind Girl, 6 Apr. 2020, lifeofablindgirl.com/2020/04/06/6-ways-to-make-your-online-and-offline-content-accessible-for-blind-and-visually-impaired-people/.

“What Is The Meaning Of Diversity & Inclusion? A 2021 Workplace Guide: Built In.” What Is The Meaning Of Diversity & Inclusion? A 2021 Workplace Guide | Built In, n.d., builtin.com/diversity-inclusion.


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The Ugly Truth About Social Media and Mental Health

Social media platforms are evolving on a daily basis. Have you ever thought how it affects your mental health?

Below I will discuss the good, and bad impact that social media can have on our mental health.

The Good

Social Media platforms
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Social media has many positive benefits on our mental health. Today, many people rely on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram to connect with people. Connecting with people has proven to help reduce stress and anxiety among our population.

Here are some great points from an article by HelpGuide to show how social media helps our well-being.

  1. Communicate with friends and family around the world
  2. Make new connections
  3. Raise awareness on important issues
  4. Seek guidance or offer emotional support
  5. An outlet for expressing your creativity and identity

Who Uses Social Media?

The chart below published by H. Tankovska on Statista  “shows the number of social network users in Canada from 2017 to 2025. In 2019, there were approximately 25.35 million social network users in Canada, and this figure is projected to grow to 32.07 million users in 2023.” 

Social media users 2017 - 2025
Published by H. Tankovska via Statista

The Bad

With every good, there comes a bad. The negative impact that social media has on our mental wellbeing is becoming unhealthy and affects numerous age groups around the world. Multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts.

Here is a list of negative ways in which social media affects our mental health:

  1. Depression
  2. Anxiety
  3. Low self-esteem
  4. Unhealthy coping mechanism
  5. Negative emotions
  6. Lack of sleep

lady alone in the dark
Photo by Elina Krima on Pexels.com

How to Better Your Mental Health

Here is a list of ways in which minimizing social media can help with your mental health:

  1. Minimize online time – a great way in which I find helps is by leaving my device in another room when I go to sleep.
  2. Change your reasoning – try not to go online when you are bored or see how many people have liked your posts. Take a moment and think to yourself about the reasoning behind why you are logging onto social channels.
  3. Spend more time offline – we all need social interaction with our friends and family, try and set a regular time in which you hang out and interact with each other
  4. Show yourself gratitude – take some time to reflect on the positive things in your life, whether you write down your thoughts in a journal or practice meditation
  5. Increase physical activity – set a time for yourself every day to get up and move your body, hold yourself accountable and get up and move!

For more great tips on how you can better your mental health, check out this great article on HelpGuide.

Now ask yourself,  how do you better your mental health and not let social media take over?


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