We know we're well into 2017 now, but there's a few more things that need to be left behind in 2016....
As the end of 2016 hit, I thought I had covered all my New Year resolutions: go to the gym more, read more, learn how to compartmentalize my stress better, call my grandmother more - the basics. But one fateful night, after my dad forced me to watch a Ted Talk-esque viral video, I came to a horrible conclusion: I’m addicted to social media. Yes I work in social media, which means I’m on it all day, but my relationship with Instagram/Twitter/Facebook doesn’t stop after I leave the office. I catch myself trolling Instagram at red lights, tweeting from the bath tub, and painstakingly rewinding back 10 minutes of whatever I’m watching on Netflix because I got distracted by someone’s lengthy Facebook rant. So here I am world: My name is Chelsea, and I’m addicted to social media. (And I know I’m not the only one!)
So I made a new resolution: get off my phone. I think it’s about time we all reevaluate our relationship with social media. Now let’s not get crazy here and go cold-turkey deleting accounts left and right. But rather, let’s ditch some of our bad social media habits and leave them behind in 2016 - where they belong.
1. The Late night instagram spirals
You have to be to work at 8 am, so you set your alarm for 6:30 am. You’re in bed by 10:30 pm. “Ah good, a full 8 hours of sleep,” you think to yourself. You decide to give Instagram one last scroll through to see what the world is up to before you hit the hay. And then BAM, before you know it the screen glows back at you: 1:30 am. Let’s give it up folks. We all know that the 5 minutes we allot to an Instagram peruse before bed really means a 3 hour Instagram black hole. So don’t fall into the trap. Set your alarm and put the phone down. And if you really need to do something before you fall asleep, how ‘bout you crack open that book on your bedside table. (See what I did there? Just killed two New Year resolutions with one stone ;). )
2. USING your phone to wake up
We all do it. I mean that’s what the clock app is for anyways, right? But the problem is soon after we hit the “stop” or “snooze” button (hey, I don’t judge) we seem to wander over to Instagram or Facebook to do another scroll-through, just in case anything earth-shattering happened in the last 7 hours while we were asleep. But isn’t there something cringe-worthy at the idea that the first thing we do when we wake up is check our social media feeds? That’s when you start feeling like a real addict... So let’s use our phone for it’s real purpose, a communicative device and go buy ourselves a real alarm clock. That way, when we hit the snooze button we can at least have the first 10 minutes of our day social media free.
3. The flower crown & dog filter
We get it, the flower crown and dog filter make your picture infinitely cuter and somehow your selfie just a little bit more attractive. But at this point, I think we can bid adieu to these overplayed Snapchat filters. No more to say here, carry on.
4. Phones & fine dining
Some phone etiquette rules: When you are out to dinner with a friend, spouse, partner, family member, Bumble date, co-worker, etc. do not bring your phone out of your pocket/bag. I repeat, do not bring it out. I actually rate my dates by how many times they’ve checked their phones during the course of our meal. I remember walking away from one date who NEVER checked his phone while we were together.... for a total of 3 hours!!! I was astounded at his will-power and even more so, his manners. So let’s all be more like him world. Let’s actually engage with the people we are physically with, especially when it comes to an act so sacred as eating. Our mothers, who constantly say the words “no phones at the table,” can finally rejoice.
5. Sharing pictures of your meals (#foodgoals)
Your food looks delicious and you’re out at that new restaurant everyone is instagramming but we really don’t need to see it. Everytime someone posts a picture of their meal I think to myself “That looks delicious, but why are you taking a photo of this and not digging right in?” I mean if I had that chocolate cake served in front of me I don’t think there’d be enough time for you to even take a photo, I’d already be halfway through it. So again, let’s not pause for the Instagram and instead jump right in, fork first.
6. hashtag shaming
Why is there such a stigma against using hashtags? It makes you “thirsty for followers” (and for those of you not antiquated with the term ‘thirsty’ let’s try using ‘eager’ instead), “self-absorbed” and “desperate?” It’s 2017 folks, so let’s call a spade a spade. Instagram is a successful tool for marketing. Whether that’s marketing your company, product, or self, it has been proven as a sufficient way to advertise whatever it is you are selling. Hashtags are a GREAT way to expand your reach and target your audience in a very streamlined approach. So let’s abandon whatever stigma is attached to the use of hashtags and shamelessly promote ourselves on Instagram. The jig is up, so let’s just embrace that we’re all after the same thing here.
7. comparison theories
This one’s a biggie. In the last few years, “influencers” have started to dominate the social media game. (What’s an influencer? Anyone on social media with a large following who has created a brand for themselves that is able to influence or make an impact on their audience.) And while we follow these accounts for their cool style, makeup tips, hilarious videos, and recommendations on where to go around our city, there’s also a dark side to how we interact with these influencers. I’ve found myself countless times looking at a model’s instagram only wishing I could dress as well as her or have skin as flawless. Here’s wherein the problem lies. Often times we compare ourselves to those we follow on Instagram: we’re not as pretty, we don’t dress as well, they got the job we always wanted, we’re not travelling all over the world like they are, etc. We love to follow them for inspiration, but sometimes that inspiration can turn into jealousy quite quickly whether we realize it or not. And that same jealousy can then lead to self-loathing or self-deprecation. In 2014, Science Direct conducted an experiment wherein scientists found that Facebook usage can put women in a more negative mood due to making appearance comparisons (source). So it’s about time we take a little advice from Dr. Seuss, “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” We all need to live in the power of ourselves, remind ourselves that our individuality matters, and that at the end of the day the amount of followers you have on Instagram means nothing. So ditch those comparisons and leave them behind in 2016. 2017 is all about embracing the you-iest you there is!
8. Meetings & manners
It’s the middle of the work day and your boss calls you in for a company meeting. You head to the conference room, cell phone in hand. You sit down and place your phone on the table, screen-down of course. It’s totally fine your phone is with you, after all it’s not like you’re on it or checking your notifications. In fact, you can’t! The screen is turned over so that it’s not even distracting. Right? Wrong. (Sorry to burst your bubble here.) Its physical presence in the conference room, even with it’s screen turned upside down, sends a subconscious message to the team that whatever is on your cellphone is more important than the meeting at hand. So next time ditch the phone at your desk or keep it in your pocket if you really have separation anxiety. It will be a brave 10-30 minutes apart from your cellphone, but we believe in you.
9. push notifications (pushing their way to your attention)
For those of you who are reading this and saying “what’s a push notification?” let me help clarify. Push notifications are the notifications you receive from an application when you are not engaging with it. Exhibit A, you know all those notifications your phone racks up while your screen is locked? Those are push notifications! So in the movement to lessen our compulsive need to constantly be checking what’s happening in the world of social media, let’s streamline our push notifications to those that only really matter. I’m challenging you to limit yourself to allowing push notifications for only 3 apps. For me, that’s going to be CNN Breaking News, emails, and iMessages. Anything else can wait until I make the decision to interact with it.
10. texting vs. calling
I’m definitely a culprit of this one. I shy away from making phone calls and resort to texting simply because it takes less effort. But I must admit, it’s the best feeling when a friend calls me to just to ask how my day was. When it comes to using your phone, nothing can compare to the level of communication you have over a phone call. Texting is far too impersonal, and although convenient, it can sometimes lead to miscommunication. Since there is no emotional attachment behind the words written, things can be misconstrued. With a phone call, there is almost never a doubt as to how something is intended to come across. In addition, a phone call these days is so rare that it makes the person you’re calling feel extra loved. So next time you tell Mom you love her or check in with a friend who could use some support, pick up the phone. Sometimes old techniques work best.
All of this really boils down to four words of advice: Your phone can wait. Nothing is more important than real life interactions. Social media is a wonderful tool for self-promotion, marketing, and keeping an open communication with our friends and family, but it shouldn’t distract us from our day-to-day lives. So in a conscious effort to lessen our co-dependency on the technological world, let’s try to collectively adhere to abandoning these 10 social media habits and embrace a less dependent 2017.
Media Design & Marketing (MDM) is an advertising agency focused on providing clients immediate results and long-term branding. We equip companies with the right mix of broadcast and digital solutions.