There are a lot of good things that come from social media. We can connect with people we have lost touch with. We can unite as a group (runners!!) with a comment interest. We can promote a good cause.
Sadly though, what social media does best is makes us feel bad about ourselves and makes us feel negatively towards others.
This isn't just my opinion, although I can unquestionably support the truth behind this based on my own experience. I have spent way too much time feeling bad about myself as a result of comparing myself to others based on their Instagram or Facebook versions of themselves. And there are several people I have started feeling negatively about or have become completely annoyed with because of their IG and FB posts.
It isn't just me though. There are actual studies that can back me up on the negative impact social media can have. I have read dozens of articles reviewing many different studies that show the overwhelmingly negative (vs. positive) effects of social media.
It is our responsibility to use social media wisely, to use it to our benefit and betterment. Here are a few ways I try to do that:
Be an active, not passive, user. Many of the studies show that people who actively participate in posting and commenting have higher self worth than those who spend time just looking at what other people post. So don't be a stalker.
Focus on your real-life relationships. Don't let spending time on social media be more important than spending time with people face to face. You can't cultivate the depth in a relationship through Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn or Instagram that you can by sitting down with someone, spending real, quality time with them. Also don't let social media affect your mood or attitude negatively so much that you take it out on those around you, those people who really do love and care about you.
Be honest. And real. In all the things you post about yourself. And PLEASE think before you comment. Remember, other people will read your comments. I had a wise friend in high school who told me, "Don't ever write down something you don't want everyone to read." Also remember the things you say begin to mean less to people when you throw sentiments around carelessly. I could write a whole post about the things people put in their comments, but I'll just leave it at that.
I know this post doesn't have much to do with running. In fact, other than an awesomely fun race I ran on Saturday, running isn't my best friend lately. But I just felt like I had to get this out there.
(You can find the studies I read by searching for the effects of social media online, or I would be happy to share links to several of them via email.)
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