Ananya Panday's character in Kho Gaye Hum Kahan isn't the only one struggling with the all-consuming, potentially obsession-inducing nature of social media. It's safe to say that most of us feel compelled to seek perfection over reality when posting on Instagram. Be it making a party look way more fun than it actually is or using filters when unfiltered images trigger our self-image issues, we often aim for a sugar-coated, shinier version of reality. Once the validation effect kicks in, so does the need for more validation, compelling us to post more often and consume more content throughout the day.
We live in a generation where social media has become a part of our social existence and abstaining from it becomes rather challenging. As we prepare to enter a new year, let's try to navigate the perils of social media by getting rid of toxic patterns that are doing more harm than good. It's all about mindful navigation and organising our online selves. Striking a balance between your online and offline time is pertinent. Consciously regulating your social media habits can help you use the platform efficiently. Apart from these, here are six ways to tame your social media usage.
Stop doom scrolling
Don't reach out for your phone as soon as you wake up in the morning. Instead, allow yourself to kickstart the day with a sense of calm. You can start by tracking your screen time and consciously pick up other activities to keep yourself occupied. For instance, if you tend to doom scroll on your way to work or at night in bed, take up reading instead.
Disable unwanted alerts
Checking each notification every time your phone buzzes is overwhelming and yet, sometimes, it is hard to ignore it. Disabling non-essential alerts can minimise interruptions when you're working on priority tasks and enable you to use your time more efficiently. Instagram’s quiet mode feature lets you automatically pause Instagram alerts every day during the period you choose while the default time is every night from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Be mindful of what you post
Going through a breakup? Don't put it on social media. Posting a pretty picture with a sad quote is quite tempting at this point, but take a moment to ask yourself if in five weeks, when you are in a happier space, will you look back at it with pride for exhibiting your vulnerability or regret it for sharing more than you are generally comfortable with? Reflect and review your intentions before you post anything on social media and set boundaries as per your comfort.
Avoid comparing yourself to others
Take everything that you see with a pinch of salt! Social media is not reality. It is the most curated and air-brushed form of people’s lives. The reality is that hardships don't usually make it onto Instagram grids. Confronting comparison is a conscious effort.
Stop seeking social media validation
Social media apps cater to relationships, success, and popularity, the only aspects that are shown as quantifiable. Sometimes our emotions are sidestepped by a follow or a like and that stems from self-doubt. Be sure you detach your self-esteem from social media likes, comments and shares. Numbers should not be your driving force to create something; instead, share content that aligns with your values and interests.
Make your algorithm a positive one
You decide what you want to see. If watching reels makes you happy or keeps you informed, consume that content. If a certain kind of content makes you feel worthless or uneasy, do not engage. Understand what works best for you and eliminate what no longer serves you. Instagram allows you to mute an account or restrict access to your posts. This can help you tailor your feed to suit your preferences and your lifestyle.