A few weeks ago, nearly every Instagram post in my feed was asking me to turn on notifications, since Insta was shaking up their algorithm and (literally and figuratively) changing the natural order of things.
And, for some people, that was a great solution to the “problem”. For me? Not so much.
My intention for Instagram (and every other social media platform I use) is to connect, to build community, to see and share the beauty of my life in ways big and small—and to see the beauty and the authenticity in the lives of those I follow, too. My intention is not to have my phone buzzing with even more notifications than it already does!
But that’s the thing—that’s just my intention. You get to choose your own . . . for Instagram and any other social media platform you use.
Why are you on it?
What do you hope to get out of it?
And, most importantly, what do you hope to give through it?
By answering those questions in a way that is authentic to you, you’ll know how best to use social media. You’ll know when to check in, what to share, who to connect with, and how best to connect with them.
Ok, that’s it. Good luck!
I know that nothing in life is as easy as setting a few positive intentions and calling it a day.
The problem with a topic like this—using social media with intention—is that I can’t share any “top 5 tips” or ideal recommendations, because it always comes back to you. As with anything, you get to (and should consciously) decide how social media adds to your life—and how it takes away. Do more of the former; let go of the latter.
Remember that social media was built as a tool for you to use; not something that uses you.
And your intentions don’t have to be lofty! They could be as simple as “Need to schedule Facebook updates for upcoming launches” or “Want to send Jill a note to let her know I’m thinking about her”—or even “I need a five-minute distraction from the chaos of life”. It’s all fair game; they simply need to serve a purpose that aligns with your own.
Think about it: If you trained yourself to consider your intention for a specific platform before you logged in, how often would you actually log in? Truly take the time to get clear about why you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and so on—then revisit that “why” before every social media session. Is it intentional? Is it not? Only you know the answer, but if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll find yourself only clicking “login” when you are.
Of course, there are a lot of great tangible and actionable tips for using social media more productively:
- Schedule certain times of day to check in, and set a timer for no more than 30 minutes for each check-in
- Turn off notifications (email and otherwise), so you’re not distracted by every like, comment, and post
- Make social media harder to use unintentionally by logging out every time you’re finished with a session, and deleting apps from your phone
These are all great suggestions, and ones I’ve tried out myself a time or two.
But here’s the thing: You’re a grown up. I cannot (and would not) tell you how to use social media in your own life. Heaven knows I’ve used it as a distraction or comparison tool many times over (and will likely do it many more times, even after I hit “publish” on this post).
But as a grown up, you (and I) get to decide whether or not we want to use these tools intentionally. Whether or not we want to use social media to enhance our lives, rather than take away from them. Whether we want Facebook and Instagram and Twitter (and every other social platform that comes along behind them) to be intentional tools for ours and our communities’ greatest good . . . or not.
The choice is always yours. And mine.
I won’t always be perfect, but I know what I aspire to.
I aspire to share truth.
I aspire to share beauty.
I aspire to foster connection.
And I aspire to use every social media platform I frequent with these intentions in mind.
(Most of the time).
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What about you? Why do you use social media? What do you hope to get out of it? What do you hope to give through it? I’d love to read about your intentions in the comments below!