We are all social beings. The urge to create, share and exchange information, ideas and materials like videos and pictures has made the social media a basic commodity in most people’s lives. You can’t just let go the button. The addiction is what keeps you waiting for the next comment on Facebook or the next tweet on Twitter or even the next selfie on Instagram. It is the unquenchable urge to relate with the world around us that necessitates that we belong to some group on Facebook or a community on Google +, or that we gain some following, because we just want to belong. For some people, they just want to be heard, to see that someone liked their comment on Facebook, or someone just retweeted their tweet. This excitement borne of the fact that someone is seeing what they are posting keeps them going on and on, one tweet after another, one like after another, one comment after the other.
The social media has over the recent past evolved to become more than just a social spot for people to share ideas. Today, the social media is an e-commerce platform that many people use to sell their goods and services online. For others it is a platform for organizing discussions, social forums, and staging campaigns for a political following, or for airing public grievances among many other uses. Well, put this way it sounds as if the social media is entirely good. However, you’d be appalled to find out that the social media has also been misused. The fact that it is a virtual meeting place, it allows people to “hide to kill!” Hiding behind a fake name, and a fake profile, people decide to launch scams and other attacks on fellow users.
Apparently, today people spend more time socializing on the social media than they do meeting and visiting people. Have you ever seen some one smiling to their phone, or maybe I should ask, has anyone ever seen you smiling to your phone? Nowadays, this is not funny anymore. People barely look up; you are fixated on that sexy photo of your ex-girlfriend that’s getting more likes on Facebook than where you are stepping next. So you stubble and fall, but, despite that everyone is there, there is no one to help you rise, and the only guy who saw you fall has updated his status on Instagram with a photo of you, “… the fall… This one’s nasty! LOL!
Too much of everything is poisonous! So they say. Well, not everything! Some things are poisonous even in very low doses; it doesn’t have to be too much. Anything that affects how we think, act, or feel, affects our being. Ang Lee once said that, “you become the movie you are making”. The way we use the social media has an effect on our personality. It may impact the personality of a person positively or negatively. Whichever way it affects you is depended on how you decide to use it. For some people, the social media is their hiding place; that place you hide and get to shout the loudest, people can hear your voice but yet they can’t see you. So you decide to misuse it – we decide to misuse it. It is on the social media that people get to air derogatory remarks, share their contempt for others. Some of the social media habits like cyber bulling are on the rise. Today, you don’t have to tell it to someone’s face but rather hide behind a monitor to spew hurting insults – as it turns out – these social media habits affect you more than they impact your targets. The truth is, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is!” – said the wise book.
The effects of social media habits you must watch out include:
- Addiction (over 63% social media users are addicted to the various platforms) and we all know about the consequences of addiction).
- Self esteem (the flamboyance portrayed by your Facebook unknown friends affects how you value yourself hence lowering your self esteem).
- Distress, stress and depression (either from addiction or self esteem issues or from comments you didn’t receive on your best FB update yet).
- Misplaced priorities (socially degrading acts like over partying, unnecessary sex, alcoholism, etc, become cool leading to FOMO – Fear of Missing Out).
- Narcissism (Instagram is for narcissists – avoid it).
- Unemployment – you failed your last interview most probably due to the unworthy words and pictures present on your Facebook and other social media accounts.
What social media habits lead to the above unwanted personality traits? Simple:
- Long list of unknown friends on Facebook – leads to distress as you won’t understand 90% of what’s going on.
- Posting all manner of nonsense e.g. telling everyone when you wake up, brush your teeth, step out of the house, arrive at the shopping mall – yet none of the unknown friends gives a damn – leads to depression.
- Following so many people on Twitter – makes you unable to keep up with Twitter feed – leads to distress.
- Competing to put up a post with most comments, likes, favorites, RTs – typical of high school kids.
- Visiting your social media accounts every half a minute – leads to lifelessness.
Therefore what we do or say is not only a reflection of who we are, but also a mold that shapes us to become the person we become. What you think, do, say or even write everyday makes and shapes your personality.
How to check your unbecoming social media habits to remain productive until old age
In order to remain relevant and productive on the social media, there are three social media habits you need to practice:
You should carefully choose your friends. The friends you have or the people you follow determine what you read on your Facebook wall or Twitter account. Friends can greatly influence the choices you make. Follow or befriend people who have your interest at heart. Understand what that persons interests are before you click the accept friend button or the follow back button. This will help you to remain productive and to earn as much from your friends. It’s not good enough to maintain a list of unknown friends as friends when they don’t add to your social profile. Friends build each other; they don’t tear each other down.
Avoid posting “just anything” on your wall. Everything you post should be relevant to your Twitter followers or Facebook friends. Make every word count by being as interesting and relevant as possible. You should not post derogatory comments as your status update. There is no use in making others mad to just gain some attention. You should also avoid posting comments distressing to others. You as well don’t have to give such social media users that much attention. Legally, people can sue you for comments or any media aired on social media. You should also know that your friends are no longer interested in which airport you checked in last evening, the dress you wore, or the unnamed person who got into your nerves.
Avoid reading “just anything” on the social media walls. Not everything posted on the social media is worth your attention. Giving traffic to such users, only charges them to keep on posting such unworthy posts. Not all comments are genuine. Some users decide to post spammed messages while others impersonate other people and end up conning people. You can easily block friends who don’t fit your profile or unfollow anyone who doesn’t have your interests at heart. On Twitter specifically, keep your Timeline clean by following as few people as possible to save you from stress – maybe less than a 100 would be a great deal.
What you share reflects on your thoughts, therefore, “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” Watch out, you just might have posted your destiny!