The way it is now, we believe it didn’t really happen if you didn’t Facebook, Tweet or Instagram it. This isn’t an exaggeration, it’s what it often feels like. Our lives are becoming less and less separate from the interactions we have on digital platforms. Conversations in person revolve around what so-and-so posted the other day and how many times it got retweeted.
Are we trading in a real existence for a digital one?
The reality is social media is not inherently evil. It can even be really useful, unless it’s relied upon to the extent that people are neglecting offline life in favor of spending their time in the glow of a computer screen.
There is certainly some nourishing value to the endless streams of our news feeds, but there are also numerous ways to irritate your online friends by using social media in unhealthy ways.
Here are three things you should stop posting on social media right now.
Every Single Emotion You Feel
No one really wants to hear the roller coaster of emotion you’ve experienced every day this week. These are details best left private, unless you want the online world to see you as an overly sad or overly hyper person – neither of which a balanced person should be. If you’re struggling under the weight of your emotions seek out a trusted friend, pastor or counselor to talk to and practice dealing with your feelings before going public with them. Perhaps your sentiments may even change and smooth out in the meantime.
Save yourself from wasting time by posting information that is purely self-centered. It’s one thing to be honest about a bad day, but your real friends should know how you’re doing without having to read it on their Facebook news feed.
Using Social Media As Your Default Love Letter
OK, we get it. You have a mountain of affection for your significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend. That doesn’t mean you should select every picture of you two hugging/eating/whatever else as your profile picture.
This isn’t some sort of love contest. You don’t need to prove to the world that you love your significant other more than any other person loves his or her significant other. Our parent’s love was no less sincere just because they didn’t (and couldn’t) flaunt their relationship status online.
It’s acceptable, commendable even, to post the occasional (read: once a month maximum) praise for a fiancé/spouse for something specific and actually noteworthy. Moderation in posting is vital.
The Same Content Over and Over
We know that post or tweet you wrote two years ago got hundreds of likes/retweets, but that was then and this is now. It’s permissible to post a particular link to your favorite music video or website a few times, but then give it a rest.
Nobody is one-dimensional so it’s best to consider new ideas. Update your blog. For the love of everything good and pure, expand your vocabulary, your reading list, your websites to troll. Spend more time reading (and engaging) credible people’s opinions than you do posting your own perspectives.
But also don’t be afraid of your own voice online. After all, you do post to your own profile, don’t you? It should reflect you, not just reposts of one source’s content or a composite of all your friends’ likes. Talk to people offline, develop a worldview, then post your original thoughts online, but concisely and in moderation (because no one wants to hear everything you think online).
Essentially, stop posting your best (and worst) moments on social media. Leave a little mystery. Make people wonder what you’re really like, how you act in person and if you’re as funny as your Twitter bio promises you are. It will leave things to talk about when you see your friends in person, and they may even follow more of your social media accounts in the long run.
Relationships are meant to flourish over shared information, but use discretion in what details you share and where, especially online. Context makes all the difference.