We’ve reached a point where we all need to know how to make Social Media your friend and not your foe
Gone were the days when keeping in touch with our family and friends from faraway places is done by writing letters or long telephone calls. Old communication processes have been replaced with social media. Even marketing to customers and showing your potentials and skills to find clients can now be done by a few clicks and posts. Although there are many benefits in using different social networking sites, it could sometimes be stressful and can cause more harm than good. That goes for psychological, mental and physical health. If you are careful though, you can use social media to your advantage. How to make social media your friend?
About social media
There was Friendster and Multiply. Now there is Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and a lot more. People use social media to post about what they like, share their photos, memories, and thoughts, communicate with friends when being physically present is not possible, and even to brag about how great their lives are sometimes.
Different groups and advocates use social media as their platform to air their beliefs and raise awareness. Companies big and small reach out to a greater audience by posting ads on social media and introducing their services and products.
Billboards, paper ads, and TV commercials are not enough anymore. People spend more time looking down on their smartphones or glued in their computers. Therefore, there is a higher chance of reaching a targeted audience with internet ads than the old conventional ways.
We use social media in any way we could. Indeed social media has revolutionized the way we communicate, do business, and look at the world in general so to speak.
When social media becomes a foe
A medium for hatred
As social media encourages freedom of speech, it has sadly become a venue for people to vent out, lash out, and spread hostility in the world. People irresponsibly post without thinking about the consequences of their posts. They seem to not spend time to contemplate about the effect of their words.
It’s becoming true that if you want stress in your life, read the comment section. Trolls are everywhere. Brave keyboard warriors using the power of their thoughtless, critical, insulting, and degrading words to destroy anyone expressing their ideas or sharing even an innocent photo or funny video.
It seems there are people who wake up in the morning with the goal of destroying others. They have made it their purpose in life to break another person’s spirit.
The security of being anonymous or being out of reach gives them the courage to misuse and abuse the freedom to express.
Sometimes what they post is totally unrelated to the topic. They just want to say something nasty or condescending. As if there isn’t enough hatred in the world already, they add more to it every day.
Social media is not limited to sharing your personal favorite and whereabouts. It has also become a great source of news. Reading the news about politics, celebrities, travels, business and current events has become easy through social media. Information is readily available to the public.
Unfortunately, fake news has become rampant too. Some individuals are being paid by big companies and public personalities to spread false information and fabricated stories about their competition.
Living in the virtual world
It is ironic sometimes that being social online means we become unsociable in real life. We spend more time chatting and less time actual conversing. We spend more time exploring the world through our fingertips more than going outside and experiencing the world physically.
A lot of relationships are being ruined because of the irresponsible way of using social media.
How to make social media your friend?
You can use social media to reap its benefits instead. They key is to be a responsible user and be mindful of your online presence.
First, determine how many hours you need to spend online and what for. If you are doing research or work, allocate time for this (if you don’t have an agreed time with your client). Then allot time for social media.
Browsing could be entertaining that it makes you forget about the time. So help yourself by being aware of how much time you need to spend just browsing, replying to messages and chatting with friends, and engaging with customers.
If you need to post several times in one day for work, make use of the different capabilities of each social media sites (you can schedule your post on Facebook). Or use apps that will enable you to schedule it at different times and in different social network.
Set an alarm in your PC or phone that will keep you on track and remind you if it’s time to shift to another task, or turn off your gadget for a few minutes.
Balance virtual and real
Disconnect on social media and socialize in the real world. Talk to actual people. Meet up with friends. Go out and walk your dog. Read a book. Clean your room. Prepare a sumptuous meal (or get one from your favourite restaurant), sit down and savour your food. Purposefully eat and enjoy every moment of it.
Being mindful of what you are doing and what you want to do will help you strike the balance between your virtual life and real life.
Ignore the trolls
It could be tempting to answer the negative comments and correct trolls, but it will be useless. As Mark Twain puts it, “Never argue with stupid people. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”
The best way to deal with internet trolls is to ignore them. Giving them the time of the day only gives them more encouragement. Engaging with them only energizes them more as you satisfy their needs. If no one gives them attention, they will eventually stop. Don’t feed the trolls.
Convert to cash
As a social media manager, I use the different social networking sites to reach my and my client’s target audience, engage them, and eventually convert them into buying customers.
Since you are investing your time on social media every day, why not use it as a real investment? Turn it into business. Convert the time you spend online into money.
Not only do I use social media to market my client’s products, I also use it personally to sell what I have. I post photos of my books; both new and pre-loved to let friends know that they don’t only make me happy reading them, they are also for sale to anyone interested. I also help a friend sell her bags and perfumes and she gives me a commission.
You may not always get as many customers as you want but it is a start. At least eventually, the time you spent online is not wasted as you can eventually convert it to cash.
Help make social media become a safe, fun place by spreading positive vibes. Promote what you love and do not bash what you hate. Send kind words to people. If you can’t say anything kind, it’s better to be quiet. Don’t make it your duty to correct every wrong that you see online or criticize.
Promote love and kindness. Spread good news. Do not help propagate fabricated stories.
How to make social media your friend? Be a friend yourself. Don’t do what you don’t want to see online and do more of what you think could contribute to the goodness of social media.
We need social media to connect, to find opportunities, and to stay updated. So make social media your friend and not your foe.