Rethinking your social media use

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Anthony Angel Pérez/Senior Staff

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A new year means new opportunities for change. To many, this is often done in the form of New Year’s resolutions. If you’re someone who spends hours aimlessly swiping on TikTok or scrolling through Twitter, a social media cleanse might be the one for you! 

As a former social media editor and a member of Generation Z, I know a thing or two about social media and how easy it can be to overconsume. I’ve gone through periods of complete detox from social media and regularly practice ways to limit my use. With this, I bring you three ways to perform your own social media cleanse!

Turn off your social media notifications

One of the best habits for someone wanting to tune down their social media use is to turn off notifications for all social media platforms. Too often, we mindlessly check social media because we receive a notification saying someone sent us a Snapchat message or commented on our Instagram post. By turning off notifications, you eliminate a big motivation for opening the apps in the first place. 

When I first turned my notifications off a few years ago, it was weird, to say the least. I found myself constantly opening the apps in case I missed something. After some growing pains, I learned to love it. Social media use becomes more intentional, and it is easier to combat feelings of the fear of missing out when you don’t have your phone going off every few minutes urging you to consume. 

Go through your followers

A key influence on how we feel when we’re on social media is a result of the content we see from those we follow and the interactions from those who follow us. This is why going through whom you follow and who follows you can be especially beneficial. 

The great thing about social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook is that they provide you agency over who follows and sees your content. That one influencer who makes you feel guilty for not having it together? Unfollow. Those people you kind of knew in high school? Removed. It is OK to outgrow those who knew a past version of you — and to not have thousands of followers.

Set rules for when you can go on social media

Setting rigid boundaries for when you allow yourself to go on social media can be very freeing. For example, you could only go on social media once you’ve finished your homework for the day, or you could give yourself a daily time limit. The latter can be easier if you’re someone who needs a little more discipline, as smartphones now have a setting allowing you to set a maximum time limit for any given app. 

Maybe instead of setting rules on when you can use your socials, you can try ones on when you can’t. A great way to do the latter is to set a boundary where you can’t use social media when you’re with friends or in class. Ultimately, you know yourself best, and the rules you choose to implement should fit your lifestyle accordingly. 

I hope these tips help you successfully complete your social media cleanse as we continue through this new year. Don’t feel pressured to be perfect — any change is good and should be celebrated.

Contact Amber Soto at [email protected]