Millions use social media on a regular basis. During 2020 and the COVID Pandemic, people have used it even more. And the flaws of social media have been showing. Misinformation, accusations of censorship, comment wars and more have made using social media a worse experience than ever before.
Here are 7 things you can do to help make social media better in 2021:
1. Don’t share posts you don’t know are true (even if you hope they are true).
Understand that confirmation bias is real, and we all have it. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Reality is almost never simple, and a meme that matches your wildest dreams is probably not completely true. A picture of someone else’s social media post is not proof or evidence. Do a little bit of research and make sure what you are posting is true.
2. Follow people with different viewpoints.
One of the ways social media encourages echo chambers is it reinforces what you interact with. If you only interact with one perspective, eventually you see less of other perspectives. If no one challenges your viewpoint, it’s easy to adopt false information as true. Break out of the echo chamber.
3. Don’t use social media for purely political purposes.
Be social. Remember when social media was fun? When you were catching up with old friends? Enjoying pics from family? Social media doesn’t have to be about politics. Use these platforms to enhance your relationships, instead of arguing.
4. Don’t read the comments.
Seriously, make a concerted effort to not get involved. Have you ever known of anyone to change their mind about religion or politics because of a comment war? I know, it’s hard. Especially when people are so wrong. But don’t join every comment thread. Make an effort to reduce the amount of arguments you have online. You will be happier.
5. Develop thicker skin.
Not every post is directed at you. There is no need to comment on every post you disagree with. Just scroll past.
6. Blood is thicker than water and friendship is thicker than ideas.
It’s sad that some ideas can come between friends and family. It’s completely possible to hold opposing ideas, and be friends. Just look at the late SCOTUS Justices Scalia and Ginsburg. They were on completely opposite ends of the spectrum, but were good friends. People are more than the sum of their political ideas. We can, and should, care about more than what political party someone is in, or whether they support the same causes we do.
7. Reduce the amount of time you spend on social media.
Doom Scrolling is real. And if you’ve allowed yourself to be entombed in a Social Media echo chamber, the world can seem bleak. Like the world is against you. But that’s not reality. Social Media, by it’s very nature, simplify’s ideas for easier sharing.
Read a book, read a news paper, watch a documentary, watch a news report. Don’t use Social Media as your main window to the world. In addition, call a friend or family member. Text them. Go on a walk. Interact with people and world outside of social media. You will be happier and healthier this year.