After finally achieving a better online/offline balance on social media over the past few months (we’re good chums again) I felt inclined, whilst reading numerous digital detox articles, to talk about its perks. I’m not denying social media has its problems; causing anxiety, attracting pesky trolls and acting as a tool for distraction. But dependent on how you choose to use the platform, I feel its benefits completely outweigh the negative aspects social media can bring.
I use social media daily; personally, as a blogger, and in my permanent work. It’s just not realistic for me to have a digital detox when the majority of my work is being online. Whilst I have had a few blips over the years I’ve finally found my mojo and look at social networking for the opportunities it offers.
If you’re finding it overwhelming but need to use social media daily (at work or as a blogger) I have another post coming up next week with tips on making it work for you and your routine. In the meantime, here’s a reminder why social media can be a positive thing…
1| Inclusive It gives EVERYONE a voice. There is still a disappointingly poor representation of diversity in traditional media. I’m tired of hearing the same stories, seeing the same faces or the occasional token ‘minority’ on TV. Social media doesn’t discriminate against your race, gender, culture or background, (even if some trolls do). Anyone can set up an account and share their story and that’s something to celebrate.
2| Builds Community I don’t see social media as a virtual community, it’s real to me. Each social platform is different but I’ve found real friendship from my Twitter and Instagram followers, and the ones I’ve not met in person are still the reason I open my phone apps daily; to engage, to support and be inspired. Real people live behind those profile pics. Find your community and say hello.
3| Introverts unite Having said all of the above social media is a great way to make like minded friends without actually constructing proper sentences face to face. Now that’s my type of communication. If you’re someone who struggles socially (Miss awkward over here), it’s a great way to dip your toes into the big digital world and share your story at your convenience.
4|Work remotely Social media is a part of my job, which 10 years ago I never thought I’d say whilst tinkering around on MySpace. I often hear people moaning about folk spending too much time on their phones, and I am aware we still have a long way to go until there is better balance online. But honestly, if you find me on my phone 80% of the time I am working. True fact. It’s bloody brilliant that we can work from anywhere in close proximity to a WiFi connection. Having worked in a time where the internet wasn’t a part of my daily routine (showing my glorious age now), I’ll never take this for granted.
5| Free marketing tool. Minus your time, social media is free. FREE. What’s not to love about that? If you have a business and are not utilising this (why?!) then you are missing out. Remember, they are real people behind those social account profiles!
6| Immediacy It’s immediacy means your opinion can be shared at speed and in an efficient manner. Whether that be updating your followers on a new product or you sharing your favourite Lesley Knope GIF (if this is you, let’s be friends). It takes seconds to write a tweet or caption and it’s out there for all to see. Once again, I reiterate, BLOODY BRILLIANT (please share responsibly).
7| Choice of platforms Nowadays you can choose the platform that suits you and your lifestyle, giving you better control. As a blogger and someone who is inspired by photography, Instagram is my favourite social platform. Even with its challenging algorithm it’s still, the best online community I’ve found so far.
Outfit: Culotte Jumpsuit c/o Simply Be | Brogues c/o Simply Be (old) | Bag from M&S (old)| Jacket from Primark (old)
8| Relatable I know a lot of people find themselves comparing their lives with others on social media and therefore it can become a lonely place. But it can also be comforting/life-changing when you find people who you can relate to too. I know it gets a bad reputation for people only sharing the positives/filtered photos in their day, but that’s true in real life too. How often do you bump into an acquaintance and share all your problems? We don’t. Whether that can be blamed on society or not, it’s not just social media to blame. Follow the accounts that inspire you AND that you relate too. If pictures of flatlays aren’t your thing, simply don’t follow!
9| Current Affairs I need to know what is going on in the world. But rather than watching the news, although I do this every morning, I can keep aware of current events (and different versions of them) at my fingertips, when I choose. Politically, social media has been essential in helping young people become more engaged and that is a fantastic thing.
10| Supportive It’s a great place to offer support to strangers, friends, family and local businesses. Whether you retweet someone’s new venture, emphasise with someone who’s having a rough day or like a photograph that inspired you, these are real connections and exchanges. Support someone, and make their day.
What are your opinions on social media in 2017? P.S Look out for my tips on achieving a better balance online next week!